He had a reputation of being disciplined and sold out. She was considered to be the quintessential model of a Christian woman. Now they make money, spend money, go places but there doesn’t seem to be any visible impact for God. Where they once invested in and influenced hundreds of young people, they now only invest in their life. What happened?

He stopped studying his Bible, stopped praying and started getting critical of everyone else. It seemed that if he admitted that anyone else was right that he would then have to admit that he was wrong. His stability and discipline faltered. He backed out of leadership because he couldn’t follow a new leader and welcome a new method.

She, claiming submission to him, began to disconnect from leading, serving, and fellowshipping with the ladies. She began to say things like “We no longer felt like we fit in” or, “We aren’t needed anymore” or, “I woke up this morning and realized that I don’t even know if we are supposed to be here anymore.” What happened?

Peter walking on water is perhaps the greatest answer. When His eyes were on Jesus, he stood on top of the circumstance. When he took his eyes off of Jesus, he sank into his circumstance and so did they.

Spiritual leadership is difficult and comes with its own emotional, physical, and mental tolls. It is tiring to lead people when they are hurt. It is tiresome to make the sausage (and it isn’t very pretty either!)  Spiritual Leadership is unique and comes with its own unique war. Our common enemy knows that the simplest way to discourage people from following God is to discourage, disable, and destroy the leaders.

He will whisper discouragement, capitalize on the “have to” mentality, tempt, attack, and do everything he can to tire out leaders.

So how do we fight this exhaustion, this disillusionment, this disconnection that leads us away from productivity to retirement? Here are a few ideas:

  1. Rest in God. That means physical rest but, more importantly, spiritual rest in times of meditation, prayer, and reading.
  2. Don’t always talk about ministry! By gosh, get a hobby. Redirect those dinner discussions to some topic other than ministry.
  3. Stay connected with Bible Study, fellowship, and people. Have fun. Grow. Love.
  4. Remember the people. Yes, those wonderful people that are the real purpose of ministry.
  5. Remember that God is powerful, mighty, and provides strength, rest, and power to those that seek Him.
  6. Be aware of the warfare.

When you begin to feel worn, it’s time to do something about it. You can retire from leadership. You can even get cranky and leave. However, the rest you find elsewhere you can find right where you are. It is when we learn to keep our eyes on Jesus, on the call, that we stand on top of our circumstances and can see things for what they really are.

The enemy wants to kill your productivity and discourage your people as they watch you quit before you’re time. Wouldn’t it be more fun to win? How have you fought the battle? Have you ever felt like the enemy had a target on your back?