Before I became a pastor, I heard people in ministry joke about how they wanted to quit almost every Monday. I laughed, but didn’t really understand. I then became a pastor and the light bulb came on. Or should I say the reality set in. We have seen in recent days ministers who have quit or are no longer serving in ministry because of burnout, emotional pain, moral failures and alcoholism, to just name a few. The list could go on. The reality hurts even more.
What do you do when those moments come and you’re ready to throw in the towel? It may sound like the following statements. I know because I’ve been there.
“I’m not cut out for this.”
“I’m exhausted and don’t have anything left to give.”
“No one really understands what I’m going through.”
Here are five reasons to keep going when you want to quit:
1. You are doing better than you think you are.
Your emotions will lie to you. We are meant to doubt our doubts and feed our faith. The enemy will lie to you. He’ll whisper you aren’t making a difference. No one notices. God notices! You were His child before you became His minister. He knows what you are going through.
When King David was discouraged, He found strength in the Lord (1 Samuel 30:6). He stopped looking outward and looked upward. He remembered who he was, but more importantly who God was. Never forget who you are in Him.
2. You are further along than you think you are.
I’ve heard over the years to enjoy the journey because the destination is a mirage. Church planting has made us face that reality time and time again. Though you aren’t where you want to be, thank God you aren’t where you were.
Thank God for what He has carried you through. If you don’t have one already, start a gratitude journal. This has made the single greatest difference in my life the last several months. I make myself write in it every day. Even the days I don’t want to do it! It changes my heart and reminds me of what God has done.
3. God is doing more than you currently see.
Our world loves to glorify finished products. God is in the business of magnifying a work in progress. Don’t let what’s wrong with the circumstances around you keep you from worshiping the God who is alive within you. He is doing more than you can see. His current work in you is His preparation for what He is about to do through you. God is always doing more than you can see!
4. There are people in your community that need what you have.
It’s why you entered ministry in the first place. To reach those who haven’t been reached. To see one more life changed by Christ. When we are hurting or discouraged, we forget this. It’s not that we don’t care. We just tend to get lost in the details.
We will lose our WAY when we lose our WHY. Remind yourself of your first love (Revelation 2:4-5). Remind yourself why you entered ministry in the first place. You are where you are because people around you need what you have.
5. Stop carrying the burden. Share the burden.
It’s not the burden that will crush you. It’s how you carry it that will make all the difference. Jesus said, “My yoke is easy and the burden I give you is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). That doesn’t sound like what I carry most days.
We aren’t meant to carry our burdens, but to share our burdens with others (Galatians 6:2).
As pastors, we must be there for each other. Let a pastor friend know today if you need the encouragement from others who have been there, done that, and have the scars to prove it.
Hebrews 10:35-36 says, “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.”
Don’t give up. Don’t give in. The resistance is often the fiercest right before the breakthrough.