We all know that connection with God is paramount to ministry. After all, how can we minister the oracles and transformation of God without the presence and connection with God?
Still, I find times when I have let my devotional life slip. Generally, this occurs when I feel overwhelmed with increased demands. Basically, during the times I need it most. The result is always the same: increased stress, fatigue, and then burnout.
Why the increased stress and fatigue? Because trying to do God’s work without God’s strength and presence will eventually lead to burnout. Relying on my own strength will never work. We simply cannot do it without the infusion from His Holy Spirit and by leaning on His strength. I have needed to relearn this lesson many times!
Maintaining our passion, our energy, and caring for ourselves emotionally includes nurturing our spiritual vitality.
Tending to my own devotional life reduces my stress by:
Reminding me that I am not alone.
Increasing my clarity and perspective. Spending time with God helps me to transcend and temporarily suspend my own worries and cares. Later I notice a sense of renewed perspective on my current situation.
Calming me. Connecting with God brings a sense of automatic calm to me. For me, reading Scriptures, especially Philippians 4 and the Psalms, brings a sense of comfort and peace.
Reminding me why I do what I do. Spending time with God reminds me of my true purpose and calling. I experience an increased awareness of the fact it is about Him and not about me, a fact that helps me detach from stressful situations or less than optimal outcomes.
Helping me ward off spiritual attacks. Jesus included “deliver us from evil” as part of His model prayer!
Even the scientific and health community now recognize the benefits of prayer and meditating on God and scripture. Cited benefits include lowered blood pressure, enhanced concentration and focus, as well as increased calm.
Tending to our own spiritual life infuses us with Gods presence, necessary to engage in the transformative work of ministry. It also strengthens and buffers us from stress. It’s part of leading as an emotionally intelligent pastor!
In what ways does focusing on your own relationship with God and spiritual journey help you manage stress?