Getting Past That Day
(This post goes along with Leadership Level 1, Personal Success.)
You may not need this post right now. Just in case, maybe you should print it for later. At any rate, when you started out in your current role, you were given a title, possibly a salary, respect in the community. In every way this may have felt like God's promotion, his blessing and favor being spread abroad in your life. But now a few seasons have passed, and the dust has settled. As some might say, the honeymoon is over. For some leaders, things simply continue on and there are few bumps in the road. But for others things turn out differently. That Day goes something like this: you head in for your job, volunteer position, or whatever situation you've been in charge of leading. Your body is going through the same motions as it has for the last few weeks or months. On the outside, no one sees anything different or changed. But on the inside, you know something isn't quite right. “Is this just fatigue? Am I just tired?” you ask yourself. Maybe all this came about because something negative has happened, and it served as something of a wake-up call. Or maybe you just allowed yourself to get drained, and now you're feeling burned out. However it was you arrived here, we need to take it seriously. Because how you handle things in the next few days or weeks will have a huge, lasting impact on your leadership, your personal life, and possibly your family.
This isn't something to take lightly. No, the enemy would love to push you out of the game at this point, and permanently. If I may, let me try to sum things up here. The early excitement of your position of leadership has possibly waned, and now you feel more and more the weight of responsibility of what you agreed to do. It's easy to blame others at this point. Was I lied to? Was this job pitched to me in a way that made it look easier than what I'm having to put up with? As I said, this is a pivotal point in your life, if this is where you find yourself. Ministry leaders around the globe reach this place every day, and some walk away, putting it all behind them. Some leave the church, their leadership positions, and their calling. Some even leave spouses and families over this. And it all starts on That Day.
Some decide to take evasive, immediate action, and walk away before lunch time. Others simply internalize their decision, choosing to allow time and distractions to offer a convenient excuse to step down and out. In fact, I have a theory that many moral failures in ministry have less to do with that extramarital affair or illicit substance abuse, and more to do with not properly handling That Day and the hurt it can bring.
What I'm talking about here is disillusionment. It could have to do with your leadership position, the church, the leaders above you, the people who follow you, or even with God himself. Please understand that you're not the first person to feel tired or hurt or disillusioned, and you won't be the last. While there are some wonderful aspects of serving others in ministry, there are also some very real downsides, and those who survive That Day are the ones who take the right course of action, and as soon as possible. I don’t pretend to understand everything that you might later encounter or might be going through right now. But I can offer this: Before you allow That Day to become That Regret, I encourage you to reach out for help and compassion. You may have to go above and beyond, finding help outside the place where you serve, but it will be worth it. No leadership position or disappointment is worth giving up on the main relationships in your life. I’m one of many who are praying for your wise choices in the days ahead.
Christ gives me the strength to face anything.
–Philippians 4:13 (CEV)