How I Get Up When I'm Feeling Down
I couldn't count the times I've wanted to resign in the past 21 years
at Saddleback church. It has not been easy. Can you imagine setting up and
taking down an enormous church every week for 16 years? That's what we did
until we finally built our own building 5 years ago. It was quite tiring -
emotionally and physically.
Nowadays, discouragement usually hits me on Mondays. Even though we have a
building now, preaching 5 weekend services still drains the life out of
But I know I'm not alone. In speaking to the Southern Baptist Convention,
Jimmy Draper once commented, "We are a denomination of discouraged
leaders." I think that's true of all denominations. After listening to the
feedback of the 172,000 pastors who've attended a Purpose Driven Church
seminar, I've concluded that most pastors struggle with chronic
But there is an antidote! I discovered it in the fourth chapter of
Nehemiah years ago. It has been a lifesaver for me to remember 4 simple
FIRST, I REST MY BODY:
The fact is - you're a human and human beings need to do human things -
like rest and play and relax and have hobbies. Psalm 127:2 says, "It's
vain for you to sit up late and rise up early." Sometimes the most
spiritual thing I can do is to just go to sleep!
SECOND, I REORGANIZE MY WORK:
Nehemiah did this when they were rebuilding the wall. When his people got
discouraged half way through the project, he reorganized them by families,
making specific assignments along the wall. This is an important truth to
remember. Sometimes, when you're discouraged, it's not that you're doing
the wrong thing; but rather that you're doing it in the wrong way. You
don't need to quit the ministry. You just need to reorganize how you are
going about it and learn some new skills. Try a fresh approach. Attack it
from a different angle. Learn. Grow. Reorganize!
THIRD, I REMEMBER THE LORD!
Discouragement is an attitude and attitudes are always a choice. I get
discouraged when I choose to think discouraging thoughts. But no one is
forcing those thoughts on me. I can choose to focus on something else,
(like God) if I want to.
FOURTH, I RESIST THE DEVIL:
The great pastor R.G. Lee once said, "If you don't get up in the morning
and meet the devil, you're just headed the wrong way." We are in a
spiritual battle, and the devil doesn't want the kingdom of God to
advance. As a pastor, you're on the front line, so you're going to get
hit. The devil will attack you with every kind of thing he can think of to
discourage you. He is the accuser of the brethren and he would love to
neutralize you with discouragement. James 4:7 says, "Resist the devil!"
Don't give in without a fight!
You can't control the cantankerous or carnal people in your church. But
you can choose how you respond to them. And you can choose whether you're
going to let it discourage you or not. There's an old phrase: "Tough times
never last, but tough people do." It's true. So don't give up! God is not
finished with you! Rest your body. Reorganize your work. Remember the
Lord. And resist the Devil.
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest,
Calif., one of America's largest and best known churches. In addition,
Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life
and The Purpose Driven Church, which was named one of the 100 Christian
books that changed the 20th Century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a
global Internet community for ministers. ęCopyright 2004 Pastors.com, Inc.
Used with permission. All rights reserved.