It’s 2020, and already we have seen every analogy about vision and clarity we can imagine. I want to take a different approach to the year and decade in front of us. Instead of talking about the possibilities that lie ahead, I want to remind us of a few attitudes that could overtake our vision and cloud our perspective in this new era. Be on the lookout for these and identify them as a threat as soon as they pop into your head.
- I’m Not Happy.
Even the constitution of the United States identifies happiness as something to be pursued. From a human point of view, most people would say they want to be happy and make choices in life based on what will they think will make them happy. Isn’t our happiness a basic human right and a reasonable thing to expect?
Show me that verse in the Bible.
God’s calling on our lives is the pursuit of holiness, not happiness. Before you think that means holiness makes us miserable, remember that joy is a fruit of the Spirit, and joy is something that persists, even when our circumstances are less than ideal. For people in ministry, the emotion of unhappiness should signal for us that we are in pursuit of the wrong thing. The next time you hear yourself saying, “I’m not happy,” recalibrate where you are spiritually and ask your Father to help you desire His holiness first. Joy will come in the morning and in the context of joyous holiness, happiness will abound.
- I Don’t Get the Recognition I Deserve.
Feeling under appreciated is a common occurrence in ministry, especially if you are isolated from other leaders or staff. You begin to tell yourself, “Nobody appreciates me or even cares what I am doing.” First of all, that statement is just not true. You may not happen to know how God is using your service, but rest assured, if you are serving Him, you are blessing others.
Don’t let yourself forget that the only score that matters forever is the one God settles in the end. He sees all and knows all. Keep your focus on serving Him and trust that He will make you aware of what you need to know to remain strong in the work. He knows how much feedback you need and will not withhold encouragement when it is good for you to receive it. And, if you will focus on encouraging and appreciating others for their service, you will find enough gratification in that to keep you going.
- Ministry Would Be Better Somewhere Else.
Everyone has to learn the “grass is not always greener” lesson along the way. In ministry, you will be aware of great things that are happening at other churches that may not be happening at yours. You will be tempted to think that if you were just somewhere else, life would be better. It just doesn’t work that way.
I have found that almost all the of the problems you face in ministry will move with you when you relocate. People are basically the same everywhere. The fastest way to move to a new ministry is to move to a new you – your ministry will change overnight without having to call the moving van or enroll the kids in a new school if you will just re-shape your attitude toward the people you serve!
Love and serve them from a heart of gratitude for the opportunities you have. Trust the Lord and seek His divine presence in your daily activities.
And watch out for attitudes like these that can waste valuable time and energy serving the Lord in the new year!
Mike Harland is the Director of LifeWay Worship. When he’s not directing 30+ employees, you’ll find him leading worship at various churches around the country, writing/arranging worship songs and/or, writing his next book (checkout his latest book: Worship Essentials). In his spare time, he loves playing basketball and spending time with his family (and his two new grand-babies). Visit MikeHarland.com to keep up with all that Mike has going on.