Saturday, October 28, 2006

"Discouragement may be the single most powerful feeling that entices great women and men to exit prematurely from youth ministry." -Doug Fields
The last three weeks have been tiring and challenging. A mixture of scary projects, weighty responsibility, and fear of failure really wore me down.
"Discouragement is a reality in all ministry, not just youth ministry. Where people live, sin exists. Where sin exists, problems abound. Where problems abound, discouragement follows. Count on it! When you say yes to ministry, you also say yes to periods of discouragement. Anyone who doesn't admit to occasional seasons of discouragement owns a timeshare on Fantasy Island." - Doug Fields
I was driving home on Wednesday, full of tears of exhaustion and disappointment that I couldn't contain. It isn't that my life and job are so horrible, but ministry by nature means that you are vulnerable almost all the time. As a camp counselor, I would cry at least once a week. My wishes and hopes, combined with impatience and inconvenient empathy, often overwhelm me. When I was almost home, this song came on.
Give to the wind your fear
Hope and be undismayed
God hears your sighs and counts your tears
God will lift up, God will lift up, lift up your head

-traditional hymn by Paul Gerhardt, translated by John Wesley
This weekend's 5th Quarter with Willet went pretty well. I think there were around 50 people there, and everyone had a good time. They played again at Jacob's Well this morning. Now that the retreat and 5th Quarter are over, I'm feeling as if they went pretty well.
"There is hope, and, because the God of the universe is involved, it's plentiful. Light is out there for you. Don't lose sight of the eternal Light in the midst of temporary darkness. When discouragement hits you, count on God to use that season in your life to increase your ministry effectiveness." - Doug Fields
I'm writing this entry partly for catharsis, and partly because I want to be open about my experience in ministry. Too often, we are afraid to tell people that we are doubtful or discouraged, but those are the times that God helps us to grow.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's a quote I like, and I don't remember the exact wording or who it's by, but basically it says that when you get a lot of problems at the same time, it means life needs to distract you from something important that is trying to be born.

I'm not pretending to know how you feel, but I've had periods of major discouragement and ambivalence about journalism. I can't claim to have cried every week, but it definitely gets emotional, challenging, tense, whatever. Especially since I'm by nature a "quiet" person, it takes a lot of effort for me to do my job most days, and sometimes I definitely feel like I can't do it at all. I've walked away from it, I've gone crazy, etc., but at the end of the day (or the year) I still come back to it.

I guess it comes down to the fact that you're not a failure until you stop trying. You haven't failed because you're discouraged, or feel like you're losing your minid, or whatever. You know that you want/need to be in ministry, that 9 times out of 10 you do like it and you feel that it's worth it. So if you fall down seven times, you have to get up eight. And you're write, if you never talk about "failure," you never really talk about "success"...

"I've missed 3,000 shots. Twenty-six times the game-winning shot has been entrusted to me, and I've missed. I've lost over 300 games. I've failed over and over and over again, and that is why I've succeeded." -- Michael Jordan

12:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awww Megan you are so amazing at what you do. Smile, and remeber that everyone loves you like whoa, and you rock my socks :)
<3 Erin

1:35 PM  
Anonymous John Gimmy said...

Megan, I do not know why you are feeling down but I do know you are doing a fine job. Yes the kids are rude sometimes but you ARE reaching them. It is a small victory every time someone new leads the prayer. Your main role may be just to plant a seed of something that will become beautiful later.

10:23 PM  

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