I’m Okay With Being Discontent

The last two weeks have been very hard for me at work.  With our Children’s Minister on maternity leave, I’m stepping in to make sure that things go smoothly while she’s out.  They have been, but I find myself reaching out of my comfort zone, addressing issues that I would rather not deal with because they take me away from what I want to do and what I need to do.  But I’m okay with that, because I know I’m working out of my zone, out of my realm and out of my purpose.  Anytime you work out of your purpose you are going to feel incomplete, maybe a little anxious.  If I wasn’t overseeing the Children’s Ministry and I was feeling this way, I might be more concerned, because often times our being discontent is really burnout.  What’s the difference?

Being Discontent means not being satisfied with where you are.  Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to leave ministry, what it means is it’s time to refocus.  When we are feeling discontent there are several questions we should ask ourselves, such as:

  • Am I doing something that I shouldn’t be doing?
  • Is my vision clear and am I focused on it?
  • What’s on my plate and needs to be eliminated?

Discontentment is simply a realignment of the purpose God has given us.

Being Burnt Out means totally out of fuel.  It’s a total mental or physical collapse.  To recover from that takes more than a realignment, it takes intervention.  I’m sure many of us have played with that in youth ministry, and unfortunately, too many of us have never recovered.  Discontent can turn into burnout, but so does lack of spiritual growth and pride.

Whether it’s being discontent or feeling burnout it’s important to:

  • Surround ourselves with family, coworkers and peers that will support you, cheer you on and speak truth to you.  
  • Surround ourselves with an environment of learning.  Reading books for spiritual fuel, attending conferences or watching them online and listening to the men and women who have gone before us will give us the insight and experience we need.  
  • Pray.  We need to make sure our relationship with God is our most important relationship.

I’m okay with being discontent because all it means is that it’s time to reexamine priorities and vision.  I’m scared of burnout, because it’s not always clear or it’s something deeper that’s causing the negative feelings.  While it’s important to surround ourselves with the right people, seek God for wisdom and take the time to reenergize, it would be good to get insight from others.

How do you address being discontent in ministry?
How do you avoid burnout?