Still Hanging in There, Part 2
Last summer, 2012, I posted on this web site my story entitled, “Still Hanging in There,” and I trust it has been an encouragement. I said I would post again after the first of the year and let you know how I am doing. This time last year I did not think I would be in the pastorate much longer. However, since then I have done a great amount of soul searching, praying, and changing my attitudes. I have also confronted some harsh realities. I know staying in the ministry because you do not have another job to go to or you simply aren’t trained to do anything else are not the best reasons for staying put, yet that’s where I was (still am). I am blessed with being in a church where I am well treated, I have a decent salary which includes health insurance, and we are rooted in the community. In addition, I have to be careful about leaping into a new line of work since I have two kids in college. Since I cannot change my situation, I decided I would change me for the better. As long as I am here I have decided to make the best of it. Changing me, my attitudes, and outlook have made a world of difference and given me much needed hope. Let me share how I have done this:
First, I was already committed to a daily time of prayer and meditation on the Scripture. Each day I am up between 5 and 5:30 for prayer and Bible reading. I continue this practice devotedly. If I can do this, so can you.
Secondly, I continue to practice a strict regimen of diet and exercise. These days I exercise more frequently and with greater intensity. I am in my early 50’s and enjoying the best health of my life. Again, if I can do this, so can you.
Thirdly, I made a decision to be a more positive and upbeat person. My situation could be so much worse. I have my health, my family, and a church that while it has its problems, also has much potential. I have made a conscious decision to stop worrying so much and simply leave my problems with God. Have I mastered this? Far from it! However, I am daily learning the value of being a more positive person with a brighter perspective on life.
Reading your stories has made me more aware of how difficult it is to stay in the ministry. Several years ago I was so down and discouraged that I was actually suicidal. But with God’s help and perseverance I was able to rise up and make the changes needed to move forward. I became tired of surviving and decided to live life to the fullest. My brothers, you can rise up in the power of Christ and take back control of your life. It will seem like climbing Mount Everest, but if you will persevere the rewards are overwhelming – a new lease on life!
Before you quit the ministry or do something foolish (an affair, start drinking alcohol, or viewing pornography), seek with God’s help to take back charge of your life. Pray, get back in the Word, hit the gym, lose some weight, and shout at the devil that no longer will you be a dishrag. Get mad if you have to; get angry at the devil for trying to destroy you. Let God reignite your passion for the Word and for preaching the gospel. Resolve to stand and fight! I have done this and by God, I will fight the good fight. No longer will the devil have victory, for victory is mine in JESUS NAME! Claim this victory today, for it is within your grasp.
God bless you all and please do not give up. A brighter day is coming.