When You Feel Insignificant

billboard_DiscouragedFeeling insignificant?

I am writing this to you.

You may be a preacher or a minister in some role in a remote area. Or, you may be in an urban area but you feel alone and isolated. There are days when you ache with loneliness. To make matters worse, some of your minister friends talk about getting together regularly with others with a kindred spirit. You are certain they have no idea what this kind of isolation is like.

Perhaps you are an elder. You had hopes and dreams of making a impact. You thought you might have the opportunity to address matters that might make such a kingdom difference. However, the group continues to gravitate toward the trivial. You come home from meetings tired and worn out. You didn’t agree to endless discussions of things that are small and inconsequential.

I don’t have an answer for everyone. There is no “one size fits all” solution. I do know that either we will use such times to help shape us into the image of Jesus or we might do something destructive.

Some of those destructive options include:

  1. Escaping to pornography, drugs, or alcohol.
  1. Finding a relationship with someone other than your spouse that will offer an escape.
  1. Becoming absorbed in yourself. Consequently, you are so focused on you and how you feel that you are not really yielding yourself to God to use this discomfort to shape and form you.

This painful loneliness can actually be a furnace that will shape you into the image of Jesus. Yes, the furnace is hot and uncomfortable. However, God can use these moments to refine us into someone He can use for His kingdom purposes.

Does any of this sound familiar? Am I allowing God to use my pain and loneliness to stretch and grow me?

 

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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6 thoughts on “When You Feel Insignificant

  1. If Ministers and elders feel insignificant they need to talk to people between ages 20 and 40 who are missing from most churches because they were not only made to feel insignificant but unwanted. Look, in the secular world, everyone wants to work on the sexy project that has high visibility. However, the mundane tasks keep the business/office running on a daily basis. Not everyday is Christmas. Folks, it is a long time between Easter and advent. Use it wisely, yet use it. Don’t squander it.

    Who locked you ministers and elders into that type of routine with bad meetings? Change things up. Delegate church management to committees. Then start working on projects like trying to figure out why you lost the 20-40 year olds. Also, what you do may have significance but you just don’t get to see the fruits of your labor. What some of you want are secular performance metrics. You can rarely get a picture of changed hearts, increased acceptance of previously unloved/unwanted people, and people who care more about others than themselves. Too many churches have forgotten that most of what works in the secular world won’t often apply to the religious world. Think about how you come across and what kind of image you project in your sermons and tv shows and YouTube videos. If it is a dry man in front of a curtain then everyone think your denomination looks like that.

    • Thanks for your comment Mark. You make some good points and have some good observations. Of course, many of us who have served as ministers and elders are all too aware of so many areas where we have failed. I realize that not all people in these roles share that spirit. However, I had in mind when I wrote this of the former who are simply trying to serve Jesus and make a kingdom difference.

      • How many people fail because they don’t accept advice? People like ministers and elders don’t have to fail. There are people who will help them if only they were asked.

  2. Jim, this is an extremely important subject but you offer nothing practical for ministers who are, in their own experience, living lives of loneliness, insignificance and emotional pain. I’m a former minister who crashed and burned so I have a lot of experience in this area. My advice would be: DON’T continue to float along in your life thinking that God will eventually make your life come together in a positive way. Believe me that doesn’t work. DO something significant to change your situation. Remember if nothing changes nothing changes. Start psychotherapy or see a psychiatrist or start coming to terms in a realistic way with a hidden mental illness or sexual orientation or go to a different church that can nurture you as you nurture them or find a wise friend or potential mentor to pour out your heart and share the struggles you’ve never shared before. And then don’t think that doing any one thing is enough. Determine in your heart to do whatever it takes to get to a good place in your life no matter what the cost. Unresolved problems and struggles don’t get easier with age. They get harder if we simply suppress or ignore them. Like tires in a landfill they work their way to the surface of your life and can blow up in your face hurting you and a lot of people you love. Prayer is not enough. We have to be proactive about the elephants in the room of our lives. Otherwise they can rob us of not only joy but even the will to go on living.