Article by Dr Barbara Louw
It is nearly Spring in Pretoria. Not too cold and not too warm and my garden is filled with promises of renewed beauty as the season changes.
I realize that seasons also change in ministry. We started with great zeal and passion. Academic studying, training people and practical ministry to make a difference in people's lives became part of everyday life. All the wins, losses, successes, and disappointments are moments that add up to who I am as a counsellor.
Over time, I went through many changes in my ministry life, family life and who I became. These changes are not signs of failure, but they are opportunities to heal, grow and thrive. Being open to change allows me to get rid of toxic relationships and futile habits. That being said, there are endless possibilities to living your God-given calling.
When we became comfortable in the rut of life, we cannot enjoy a healthy, loving relationship with our Heavenly Father. We become lethargic because the voice of the Holy Spirit becomes too faint. After all, we are too busy. Stagnation is our enemy because it brings frustration, boredom, and apathy. These things don't just have to come out of our heads because it is time to change.
If you're happy doing whatever you do, that's great! However, maybe you're tired of what you've been doing and don't feel deep joy and the creative spark from being in the presence of God anymore. It may be time for a change. Doing something different can be intimidating because it's not comfortable. Everything in us rebel against change but you know when God is calling you to a better place.
The next question is "How?" – Simple. Stop doing what you are doing. Take stock of what is going on in your life and your ministry. Look at things differently.
- Change your attitude.You are not in a perfect place and what you are doing is smothering the life out of you. Is stagnation the will of God for any of His children? I don’t believe that God wants His children to be in a hurting place filled with obligations and burdens that have nothing to do with Him or the vision He gave us. Have courage and become willing to make a change of some kind.
- Change your viewpoint.As you stop being so busy it is a good place to look at the story of your unique relationship with God. How did you become aware of Him in your life? How did He lead and guide you over the years? Are there things in your life that are not from Him? It is time to throw out things that don’t add value or make sense.
- Reach out to someone.Reaching out goes two ways. Look for someone who can help you to heal and grow. Make a solid commitment to be gentle enough to take the step to make the changes you need to and firm enough to stick to your commitment. The second reaching out needs to be to someone who needs encouragement and kindness from you. The change of reaching out must be a cycle of giving and taking.
- Change your set ways.Most often we need to go back to basics and add what we have learnt through studying and experience. Sometimes the most liberating thing you can do is to try something new. Listen to new kinds of music (see Psalms 96); read something new like poetry or master a new hobby. You are a creative person and making something is a new way of sharing your inner message.
- Enjoy renewing your mind.Go back to spending time in God’s presence without a preset agenda. Read His Word and talk to Him like He is your Friend, your Mentor and your Holy Father. You can only break free from the bondage of boredom and stagnation when you allow His Spirit to renew you (Romans 12:2). This will be challenging at first because it is human nature to oppose change.
It takes time to try different things, to see what kindles the fire in you. Embrace the challenge to be renewed so that you can heal, grow and thrive. Together we can become well through the wholeness that God gives.