5 Spiritual Disciplines to Overcome the Drought of Worry

Monty Hale

Monty Hale is the director of the Bivocational and Guidestone office of Pastoral Ministries at the South Carolina Baptist Convention. His duties include assisting pastors and churches in transition, developing projects and initiatives to promote healthy leaders, and assisting churches with effective conflict resolution. Prior to joining the SCBC staff in April 2005, Hale served as Leadership Development Specialist for the Missouri Baptist Convention, and as a pastor for various Baptist churches.

All of us have experienced a drought sometime in our lives. There are those times when everything dries up. The heat is relentless and life-giving rain is nowhere in sight. First the grass turns yellow then the trees. It seems that our entire world is headed toward destruction.

Worry is much like a drought. It sucks the life out of everything that lives in your life. It also leads to other ailments and problems in the life of the pastor. The biggest worry among pastors these days is the fear of being terminated. The problem with this worry is that it causes a drought that might well lead to a forced resignation or termination. I will share later on how to keep yourself vibrant and full of life in ministry, but suffice it to say that worry will dry you up.

Winston Churchill said, “When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.” His words ring true in today’s pastorate. One pastor wrote, “Most of our problems are huge, and they don’t exist.”

I wish I could say that I have learned to overcome worry. I have not. I have, however, found some spiritual disciplines to assist me when I worry. Let me share them with you.

Grace

Both God’s grace and my grace. I have found that when I worry I have a need for God’s grace. That comes from a life lived in brokenness. Restoration comes to the worried heart when God’s grace comes in with its warming love and reconciliation. I too need to express grace to myself. Most of my worries are about my pride. It’s amazing how I can make a situation that is totally not about me into something that totally is. It’s almost as if I gather worry toward myself and hold on to it. How sick is that? That’s when I need to give myself the grace to realize it’s not about me.

Rest

I worry most when I’m tired. Worry becomes emotional for me and therefore it exhausts me. That emotional tiredness wreaks havoc on my well being. Instead of waiting until you fall in the ditch, schedule times of rest. What do you do to recharge your batteries? Do it regularly.

Praise

Not necessarily singing. Praising the Lord and recounting how He has provided for you will conquer worry. Instead of focusing on the problem, focus on the provision. I am astonished how people have overcome the most devastating losses with the attitude of what’s been given instead of what’s been taken away.

Stillness

Those of you with ADD will not like this one. Somewhere we have learned that if we go harder and faster we won’t have time to worry. We want to run from this drought instead of allowing the Lord to bring His life-giving rain in the stillness of our hearts. So we fill our lives with activities. We get up in the morning and we run until we fall exhausted in our beds at night. It may be raining, but we’re going so fast we don’t really notice or, even worse, we think it’s a nuisance. Two words—slow down!

Silence

Not quietness, silence. Say nothing. Turn off everything and listen. In the silence you will hear Him and your worries will melt as he says, “I am.”

These five disciplines have assisted me in enduring and overcoming the drought of worry. Hopefully you have some things that assist you to be as vibrant as you can possibly be. If not, start with these and see if your worries will give way to life giving rain.

1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”

 

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