Stress is “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.” Pastors understand the concept of stress very well, though often in a different light than those not of the clergy. Pastoral stress is a unique situation and is best understood by others in your field.
As pastors, what makes our stresses so varied from any other job? Perhaps it’s the sheer number of skills (public speaking, finances, counseling, officiating) that pastors are expected to excel in. Or it is the call to lead your flock into a spiritual battle with the demand of victory in spiritual warfare where the enemy has no rules of engagement.
Pastors can best understand pastoral stress. NuWell Christian Counseling is on a mission from pastor to pastor to help the helpers. In what ways can we, as pastors, combat the stresses of our position?
Spiritual battle demands a mind for spiritual strategy. Our tendency to lean onto our own understanding can often undermine the spiritual understanding we receive from God. God has equipped us with the power of prayer and the grace of His Word to be our sword and shield through the trenches of spiritual warfare and stress.
Being the shepherd of a congregation makes it easy to neglect our own spiritual needs. Our minds and hearts must be open to using the means God has provided to us to combat spiritual stress. When you’re facing times of darkness, take your own advice! Don the armor of God!
Receiving help is a subject of taboo for many in the pastoral community. We’re great at shouldering the burdens of others, but we’re often scared to death of our own. Pastors are often wrestling with the reality of being flawed leaders. We’re looked to as being the pillars of our church and communities, but should we not pull out the thorn in our own eye before pulling a thorn from someone else’s?
Walk with family and friends in the ministry. Your moments of venting and complaining allow them to know your heart and know how to pray for your relief. Don’t let your struggles force you to walk alone, and don’t let their prayers fall on deaf ears.
Walking with God is probably the most obvious way to help yourself, but is it really? Going back to what was said about spiritual warfare, we often become so distracted by all of our other burdens that taking private time to walk with God can seem like a distant memory.
Taking a few moments out of our day to walk with God can be a great moment to escape from our pastoral responsibilities and have a moment of introspection. Where are we in our spiritual journey? How did we get here? What is a way we can approach conflict or decisions in a way that is reflective of Christ?
NuWell Christian Counseling is ready and able to help the helpers like you. Confidential counseling that’s faithful and true can help you in your walk with God and your journey of faith, learning more about yourself and God along the way!