Have you ever felt like a ‘Crabby Pastor,’ hustling to keep up with ministry duties, only to realize you’re burnt out and your self-care has taken a back seat?
It’s time to pump the brakes and take a detour away from pastoral burnout and tune in to this little Advent devotional about the crucial role self-love plays in sustainable ministry. Wait, what??
I’m here to remind you that love is an action passionately displayed by Jesus in His ultimate act of self-sacrifice. The fast-paced world may challenge this, but let’s explore how a different, more intentional pace in ministry and worship services can help you create space to hear God’s voice.
We’re not just talking about self-love in a bubble. The commandment of loving your neighbor as yourself reminds us that our ability to love others is rooted in our capacity for self-love. But what happens when that self-love is inadequate? Support the show
This is a GUILT-FREE zone! So here’s your friendly nudge about self-care and its importance for the sake of your family, friends, and those you serve in ministry.
I love scouring around to find great content to share, and am always interested in feedback, OR if you are or know of someone willing to share their Back from Burnout story so we can all learn together, then CLICK HERE to email me.
And, if this is a reminder you wish to opt out of, that’s fine too.
Blessings on your journey!
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Hey there, Margie Bryce, here bringing you the Crabby Pastor podcast, and I don’t think you’re going to be too surprised to know that it’s too easy today to become the Crabby Pastor. Our time together will give you food for thought to help you be the ministry leader, fully surrendered to God’s purposes and living into whatever it takes to get you there and keep you there.
So we’re talking about sustainability in ministry. Well, we’re all in the Christmas frenzy, it’s that time of year again and I’m here just to offer you a brief devotional and just always, a bit of a challenge. I like to offer a challenge as well, but we’ve talked about hope and peace in the previous two episodes, and so this time we’re going to talk about love. The interesting part about love these days is “rude” seems to be at an all-time high. You don’t have to spend much time on social media to see that it’s easier to be rude on social media. I think because there is, you know, you’re not face to face with somebody. Not that people haven’t been rude to people’s faces, they have. And sometimes I wonder whether Christians really have dug into the love is patient, love is kind. Love is not rude, love does not demand its own way. Hmm, I don’t know. I guess if you don’t agree with somebody, then you are allowed to not be quite so loving.
This is indeed a challenge for this era that we live in. I was reminded then and I went to Mark 12 for this Love the Lord, your God, with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. And this is after Jesus was asked what are the greatest commandments. Right? So these are Jesus words. So we all like that passage a lot.
You know we want to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, right? I mean especially as called into ministry leaders. That’s, that’s part of our M.O. The second part really caught me, though, this time and hit me in a different way. And again, these are Jesus’s words in response to one of the greatest commandments. And he says the second is this love your neighbor as yourself.
And so, okay, we focus on loving your neighbor. I mean, that is what it says. It says love your neighbor. It’s that last part that really hit me: as yourself, and I just wanted to ask you today, “How well do you love yourself?”
Because it’s out of that that it seems that you are going to love your neighbor and as ministry leaders, we are on the Advent hamster wheel. You know, I’d like to say you got to get off that hamster wheel and make sure that you are.
As someone who tries to advocate for healthy self-care, my goal is to chronically bang that drum because I believe, as disciples of Jesus, we need to be going the distance with God. We need to be living into that work that God has planned in advance for us to do right. We need to be getting off the hamster wheel from time to time and we know and we see that Jesus in Scripture stepped back, stepped back from the crowd, stepped back from the demands to go regroup, whether it was by prayer or who knows, I mean, maybe it was just regrouping in isolation and just stepping back and stepping away from all the demands for a moment.
So how well do you love yourself? And I’m going to put this out here as, in part, a challenge, not just for the Advent season, but maybe for 2024. I guess I’m going to start here by pushing this idea of loving yourself well, and you can take that as well as in good, or loving yourself well as in becoming well and caring about your wellbeing so that you can love your neighbor right. So love your neighbor as yourself. How well do you love yourself?
Do you step off of the hamster wheel? Do you take care of your physical body? Do you take care of your emotional state? Do you know the baggage from your just general living, not just so much trauma, but how you have interpreted and carry that trauma, because the same trauma can happen to two people and they’re going to carry it differently. So are you attending to that?
Are you going for walks? Are you eating well? Are you doing the things that are going to enable you to hear God? Well, because I firmly, firmly believe that the church, big C, is in a time of transition and God may be asking us to do some new things. And if God is asking us to do those new things, we need to slow down, because we won’t hear the new things that God is asking for us to do if we’re running like a crazy person on the hamster wheel. We need to slow down so that we can hear what God is saying to us. Especially if you have an entrepreneurial bent, that group of ministry leaders for sure needs to slow down, just slow down.
We run at such a fast pace today and we carry a heavy load and you’re not going to be able to do that for very long before you will crash and burn and burn out, as they say. So how well do you love yourself so that you can live into love your neighbor as yourself? You know, love is indeed an action. Right? Jesus didn’t stay up in heaven and just look down at us and go, oh, my goodness, are those just not the coolest people down there? I mean, aren’t they just amazing? Aren’t they just incredible? And then that’s it. No love required in action, and there was a self-sacrifice that Jesus did on our behalf, which means that it’s done.
The self-sacrifice to death unto death is done. Jesus already died on the cross, so we don’t have to. So this is why our ministries do need to look different. We need to look slower and run at a different pace than we do in the general public. That is why, even in worship service, we need to run at a different pace.
That is why I often chose, during sermons, I would use a visual on the screen and occasionally I would run video, but more often than not I just used a still picture to coordinate with a point I was making and that was so that I was going intentionally at a very different pace than what our little TikTok social media runs at by design because we need to slow down and not be a slave to the demands of the culture. Even Jesus stepped back from the demands of the culture, even just for a brief moment.
So I hope you are finding moments where you can step back, give yourself a little love, and come up for air a little bit so that you can love your neighbor in the same way as you love yourself. Because I’m going to say that I think a lot of us get hooked into the demands, hooked into what we’re supposed to be doing. We get hooked into expectations, and some of them are legit, some of them, some of them actually may not be legit. So how well do you love yourself?
The good news is that Jesus loved us, did an action, and paid the price for us with his life so that we don’t have to. And the other good news is that God sees, God knows and God cares. And this is why I believe that I’m called to bang the drum about self-care so that you can go the distance with God into whatever thing that God has called you. So I want to ask you today again and I realize I have asked you several times, but I want to ask you how well do you love yourself so that you can love others in that same way. And I think if you spend some time with that, if you journaled on that if you just sat in silence with that, it could be very revealing. It’s revealing to me because that’s why it hit me that way. I thought, gee, gee, does this also mean that if I’m not loving myself, there’s a good chance that I’m not pouring out the kind of love that would be pleasing to God for me to be doling out, so to speak?
So we already know that God loves us immensely, regardless, and that God can’t love you any less, or God can’t love you anymore. But as a ministry leader, as someone called by God to care for others, we need to live into love your neighbor as yourself, into a new way. And again, this is Jesus and this is a commandment that Jesus put high up there. And it’s just fascinating how sometimes you can read Scripture and it hits you in a brand new way. So I’m going to leave you once again with this question how well do you love yourself so that you can love your neighbor as yourself?
Hey friends, the Crabby Pastor podcast is sponsored by Bryce Art Glass and you can find that on Facebook. I make stained glass, that’s part of my self-care, and also by Bryce coaching, where I coach ministry leaders and business leaders, and so the funds that I generate from coaching and from making stained glass is what is supporting this podcast and I will have opportunities for you to be a part of sponsoring me and, as always, you can do the buy me a cup of coffee thing in the show notes. But I will have some other ways that you can be a part of getting the word out about the importance of healthy self-care for ministry leaders. Hey, thanks for listening. It is my deep desire and passion to champion issues of sustainability in ministry and for your life, so I’m here to help. I stepped back from pastoral ministry and I feel called to help ministry leaders create and cultivate sustainability in their lives so that they can go the distance with God and whatever plans that God has for you. I would love to help. I would consider it an honor and, in all things, make sure you connect to these sustainability practices you know so that you don’t become the Crabby pastor.