Tiffany Cooper | People’s Church | Oklahoma City, OK
Issues. We all have them, the things that create problems in our lives. Whether they’re self-induced or uninvited, we must acknowledge them in order to eliminate them. I have an issue with sweets. They sometimes call my name. But it would be crazy for me to blame the sweets for going to my hips. After all, they didn’t force their way into my mouth. If I really want to do better, I need to look at the root cause: my lack of self-discipline. The same is true in all areas of our lives. We often look past the root cause, and instead place the blame on something or someone else. As women, we should be careful not to make ministry a scapegoat for our own personal issues.
My marriage is struggling. Money is tight. I’m completely overworked. Nobody appreciates me. My employer is too controlling. I deserve more. My life would be so much better if I wasn’t in the ministry!
Would it? Would your life really be better if you weren’t in the ministry?
Chances are that your issues would simply follow you to your new place of ministry and/or employment because often times, our ministry challenges are personal issues more than positional issues.
Are there legitimate challenges in ministry? Absolutely! However, not every issue is isolated to your position and/or place of ministry. If we’re not careful, ministry can become a convenient scapegoat for every difficulty in our life.
Scapegoat Issue: Because of the ministry, my spouse and I never have enough time for each other.
Truth: Work is not an option. Responsible adults work to provide for themselves and their family. That said, we make time for the things we love. For some individuals, a “people pleasing addiction,” workaholic tendencies, a love for self and so many other issues instead rule the time that could be invested in their spouse. Often times the church is blamed for our inability to set boundaries, for our lack of investment in our relationships, and for our overall unhealthy habits. Each one of us should examine our hearts and pray for the Lord to expose the deeply rooted issues that sabotage our relationships.
Scapegoat Issue: Money is tight. We should get paid more for what we do at the church.
Truth: The Lord is our source. He is our faithful provider. It is our responsibility to be good stewards of what he has given to us. If we focus on the goodness of God and follow Biblical principles in the area of our finances we will never be in need. But the moment we begin to focus on what others have, the issue of “I want more” rules our hearts and no amount of money will satisfy that monster. There is a big difference between what we need and what we want. It’s a choice between contentment and peace versus dissatisfaction and strife. That is a personal issue, not a positional issue.
Friends, we briefly unpacked two common issues but there are countless personal issues that sabotage our positions in ministry. Until we allow God to do a deep healing in our areas of brokenness, we will continue to blame ministry and others for our own mess. I encourage you to examine your hearts, stop shifting the blame and start your journey of freedom in truth. Your future self will thank you. Trust me, I know; I made this discovery in my own life years ago.
Psalm 34:19 – “The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.”