7 Questions to Defeat Discouragement

Discouragement and ministry go hand in hand. I say this after almost 40 years in ministry. Maybe just reading these words discourage you. I hope not because you can defeat discouragement.

The Go Commission Defeat Discouragement

This Classic Content Repost originally appeared on The Pastor’s Mastermind. Photo by whoislimos on Unsplash

So, a while back I was at a large gathering of pastors and church leaders. It was a good day. I learned some things, caught up with some old friends, and left feeling encouraged.

But, I left bothered by one thing.

Two of my friends, within minutes of each other, told me that they were discouraged. I understood because I’ve been there, too. Discouragement comes to all of us. Dan Rockwell wrote, “People who don’t get discouraged aren’t human. That’s probably true. I know that people who don’t get discouraged aren’t pastors.

The good news is that you can defeat discouragement.

Answering these six questions might help you.

Why is this bothering me so much?

Be honest with yourself and get to the root cause. Often it really isn’t what you think at first. But, you are unlikely to defeat your discouragement until you really understand why you are experiencing it.

What is God teaching me?

Discouragement is painful. But, God is at work in your life in spite of the pain. He doesn’t waste it. Speak a simple prayer and wait for His answer. Mine goes something like “God, what are you teaching me about my discouragement?”

Who can I talk to about my discouragement?

You don’t have to be alone. Reach out to a trusted friend or mentor and tell them what you are feeling. Ask them to pray with you. They will help.

Help carry each other’s burdens. – Galatians 6:2 (GW)

Starting now, what will you do that makes a change in your mood?

Change up your routine. Do something fun. Get out of town for a day. It’s amazing what a small shift in our outer environment can give new perspective.

When will I quit stewing over this?

I remember that someone once said to set a time limit hen we are depressed. The same idea can work for discouragement.

I like what Jon Bloom wrote about lingering in discouragement:

“If we linger in discouragement it can be costly. Its sense of defeat and hopelessness saps us of energy and vision. It can consume a lot of time. It can keep us from doing what we need to do because we don’t want to face it. And it can even be contagious, weakening others’ faith.”

What can I say to myself that will shift my thinking?

Self-talk is powerful. Writing and repeating a short mantra can help you redirect your thoughts from discouragement.

Robert H. Schuller was a master at this. Maybe this one can help you overcome your mountain of discouragement.

“When faced with a mountain, I WILL NOT QUIT! I will keep on striving until I climb over, find a pass through, tunnel underneath, or simply stay and turn the mountain into a gold mine with God’s help!”

I hope these six questions help you defeat discouragement. I’m sure you have some good ideas that would help all of us. Would you post a comment here or in The Go Commission Facebook Group?


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Manage Your Calendar So It Doesn’t Manage You

Manage Your Calendar So It Doesn’t Manage You

How Calendar Rules Help You Stay on Track

The skill and discipline to manage your calendar is an essential leadership tool. I don’t know any pastor who feels like they are accomplishing everything they wish they could. Our to-do lists are often endless and they start over every Monday. How often have your felt like your calendar was managing you rather than you maintaining the ability to manage your calendar? Calendar rules will help.

The Go Commission Manage Your Calendar

This article is a repost of  classic content.

My pastor taught me to divide the day into three sections for morning, noon, and night. His philosophy was to work 14 of those sections and take 7 of them off. It’s a rule that ensures that we balance rest and work. But, it doesn’t address all the things we need to work through to be sure our calendar doesn’t manage us.

Al Ells, of Leaders That Last Ministries, introduced me to the idea of calendar rules. Calendar rules are boundary statements that help us manage our calendar. Ells defined calendar rules as “a discipline that guides your time.” After listening to him, I realized that I have some calendar rules. But, I hadn’t called them that or thought them through in the way he presented them.

One of the calendar rules that I have is to get out of town once per quarter. It might be a vacation, an out of town meeting, or a trip to visit family. Keeping this rule helps me release the stress of my day to day responsibilities.

Another rule I follow is to use all my vacation each year. I’ve known too many pastors who work continually and burn themselves out. One retired pastor I know had a rule that he never socialized on Saturday evening. He used the time to relax and prepare his mind for the heavy responsibilities on Sunday.

Ells suggested that calendar rules can be written for during the week, weekends, quarterly, annually, phone calls, email, social media, games, weddings, baptisms, and funerals. You might want to develop rules about sermon preparation, meetings, community service, or study.

You have more to do than you can get done. Calendar rules will help you keep your priorities and your sanity.

Click Here for the Calendar Rules Worksheet

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