Ways to stay sane in ministry

12150109_sIt’s been pretty much 1 year since I started as a PT Pastoral Worker. Despite what I’m going to say below, I’m thankful to God for this role. It may seem surprising, but even in ministry there are good days but there are also bad days. Like any work we do – there are joys and there are frustrations. I’m a tense person who gets stressed quickly – and when I get stressed my body starts telling me (hello cold sores! – then I get more stressed). Here are some ways I try to stay ‘sane’.

1. Do things I enjoy

This is pretty obvious. Personally, Youtube is always good. Dramas are good if I want to risk it (they are too addictive!) TV is good too, an Action flick (Die Hard 5 is comin’ out!), or some kind of CSI show is usually great. Music: I try to listen to calm/chillout music – Yiruma is always good and I have Cafe Del Mar and Asian Chillout to listen to. This music is also good for doing lots of readings! God is so great in providing these things to enjoy (as long as we use them as He intended). I’m always reminded of how creative and smart our God is. That because of common grace, God’s glory can be seen in these things too.

2. Get out of the house

Everything looks better in Sepia haha. Our most recent 'date'.

Everything looks better in Sepia haha. Our most recent ‘date’.

I’m definitely someone who needs to get out of the house (Chris is the opposite). Our house is really great – but when I’m here all day (we work from home), it starts to feel a bit closed in/prison-like. Whether its taking work to a cafe, going out to run an errand. Or moving rooms to do work helps too.

We have generally been good with having days off together. Grabbing a DVD or movie, going out to eat, taking a walk – running out of ideas actually…The problem sometimes is that since we both work from home, we see each other SO much. So it means our date days don’t ‘feel’ any different to the times we are together. I’ve tried to counter this by actually ‘putting in effort’. A nice outfit, a bit more makeup than usual…but then we end up just going to Sunnybank or the usual places we go normally!  If you have any suggestions on what we can do let us know!

3. Adequate Exercise

You will feel better

Look how happy and refreshed she is after working out! Not what I look like.

Ughhh…this feels like a necessary evil. As I’ve said in a previous post, I really don’t like going. But it’s amazing how much better I feel after going to the gym. It’s further away now so I need extra motivation to get myself out to the gym. Dancey-kpop is very good for working out 🙂

4. Spend time with people

Sometimes it feels like I’m doing this by myself but it is a terrible rut to get stuck in. No – ministry is with people, and in our case, lots of willing and great people and they are a great encouragement. Spending time with people also reminds me of what I’m doing this for. Ministry isn’t programs, talks, and studies – in the end, ministry is people; people to grow more like Jesus.

Back in Sydney we complained that each Saturday we had to go out and that we had too many networks.  Now our circle is much much smaller and we reflect on how nice it would have been in Sydney again! Haha. Can’t have it both ways….

5. Remind myself of my sin and other people’s sin – its not meant to be easy!

I suppose one reason why the frustrations seem hard is that for some reason we think that working with Christians should be the best/easiest job. We forget that they are sinners and I too am a sinner and that life is not meant to be smooth. For ministry workers, most of the conflict and frustration does not come from outside the church, but rather internally. Differences in culture, personality, work ethic…these all make it hard.

One of the things I’m finding difficult is that although I’m employed in ministry, the people I work with aren’t. It’s a little bit like working with that FT mom who only comes in on one day. If you forgot to ask them something while they were here, you have no choice but to wait. You love them and value them for what they are doing, at the same time you are waiting for them a lot of the time since you’ve done your bit (after all, you ‘work’ many more days than they do) but they usually aren’t available to discuss things with you or actually do the work. In my IT job, we had ETA’s/SLA’s. Church – well, its unfair to impose those sorts of things on people – they have their own jobs, they do ministry in their free time. So although gentle/firm reminders are given, you wait. I get impatient and frustrated.

6. Remind myself of God’s sovereignty

I’ve been reminded recently (from Ignite conference) to remember God’s timing and agenda. That He is never in a rush. He had many long term projects and people – all the greats, Abraham, Moses, Joseph…things didn’t happen quickly for them.

It’s so comforting to know that in the end, it’s God’s work and not mine. To repent of my frustration and impatience; bringing things back to God where they always were.

The above things are pretty obvious and can probably be applied to many kinds of work. I must say but its amazing how quickly they are ignored when I get busy/stressed. I guess this post serves as a personal checklist/reminder to me. What are some ways that you try to ‘stay sane’?

P.S. I am slowly getting back to my regular posting pattern – planning to post up the next part of ‘Christians in Media’ next week 🙂

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6 thoughts on “Ways to stay sane in ministry

  1. Thank you for sharing – what a blessing! I am just starting to work part time on staff at my church next week, so it is so good to have this perspective ahead of time. I know there will still be surprises in store, but at least I am more aware of some of what you have already experienced. Thank you, and God bless you! Annie 🙂

  2. Suggestion for things to do in Brisbane: GET OUT OF SUNNYBANK! XD
    Contrary to common (Asian) opinion, there is a world to Brisbane outside of Sunnybank haha. Lots of food to eat, places to go to.
    And sometimes it helps to just ignore what you WANT to do and just do it just because it’s different ….maybe ^^” Well, beats feeling like you’re doing the same old thing over and over again I say 😛

    • Ok, maybe more practically helpful to list some things I find interesting 😛
      – Mt Cootha has an abundance of interesting tracks. In fact, if you go to Simpson Falls Picnic Area, there is a glade there that is absolutely divine and perfect for taking a nap XD
      – Wynnum pier is awesome
      – Redcliffe
      – Have you tried walking every single man-made lake in Brisbane yet? XD
      – Go mountain biking with Josh Meggs 😛
      – If you haven’t gone to Tangalooma yet, you MUST go. But it’s a boat-ride away so at least need a day or two.
      – Rocks Riverside Park in Seventeen Mile Rocks (Centenary Suburbs area) is awesome.

      Hope it helps 🙂
      Let me know if you need more ideas 😉

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