Early struggles in my ministry

I wonder, sometimes, about the discouragement and exhaustion I feel. Is it because I’m new to ministry? Is it because I have a family history of depression? Is it because I’m pregnant and moody/tired? Is it because the election really did stink that much? Hearing other people–wiser, more experienced pastors particularly–react to the election for example, reminds me that it is definitely a combination of all of those factors, and I’m not a failure of some kind for feeling a bit discouraged and down.

I have a new challenge for myself. I can come up with endless lists of things about my job that are not satisfying or are annoying or are downright awful, but not the opposite; I can’t think of things I love about it. It’s not that I hate my job. It’s just that I can’t particularly think of anything I like about it. I thought I’d love it. It’s what I’m supposed to do, right? It’s what God *told* me to do, right? So why don’t I come home refreshed and fulfilled and jubilant that I’m finally a pastor?

So my assignment is to come up with five things each week that made me happy to be a pastor. I have to share the list with my husband on Sunday. Here’s this week’s list:

1. After a recent church activity, I asked the congregation to personally thank/congratulate the woman who successfully organized it. She was not present on the Sunday in question, but this week she was, and I saw people go up to her and thank her for all her work. They remembered and did what I asked, and made another person feel special.
2. I had a good meeting with the Trustees, who not only had good ideas, but at my insistence, made plans to put ideas into action. I felt like I successfully kept them focused and accountable.
3. The Choir sang a really nice closing song.
4. A lay person did children’s time, which is nice because a. I don’t like doing it all the time, and b. I really want to get more lay people involved in parts of worship and this was a step in the right direction.
5. I’ve been preaching on tithing and stewardship lately (because it’s that time of year), and on Sunday there was an item of my desk with a note. One of the Sunday School kids, unable to give any money for an offering, had tithed what she had–halloween candy–and left me a lollipop.

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