Lessons for the long haul: Dealing with Discouragement

If you have been in ministry of any capacity for more than one day I am sure that you have been through a season of discouragement.

A big reason many people quit kids ministry is due to prolonged periods of discouragement. One of the skills every kids pastor needs is the ability to encourage themselves. If you don’t know how to identify when you are starting to feel discouraged your chances of prolonged discouragement and perhaps even depression are very great.

To deal with discouragement you need to recognize your signs and know what helps you when you are feeling discouraged.

Early warning signs I look for in myself:

1. Irritability
2. Lack of Focus
3. Pessimistic outlook on life
4. Tired
5. Apathetic
6. Frustrated by small things

I look for any of these things starting to creep up in my life if and when I notice them I realize that the clock is ticking and I need to take steps to counter them or it will only get worse.  Here are some of the things I do when I start to see signs of discouragement in my life.

1. Ask God for help
2. Talk to accountability partners and close friends about what I am feeling.
3. Make sure I am reading my bible.
4. I am a big music person – Listening to worship music does wonders for me personally
5. Practice Thankfulness  – Jim Wideman taught me this one (to be honest if this is all I learned from Brother Jim it would be enough. This his helped me more than anything. When I feel discouraged thanking God helps me with my perspective.)
6. Spend time with friends and family – nothing helps discouragement more than surrounding yourself with people who know your good, bad and ugly and  love you any way.

If you are going to make it for the long haul in ministry you need to know how to recognize the signs of discouragement in your own life and be proactive at taking steps to walk out of it.

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