She Said I Was Filled with Pride; How Ministry Shattered My Heart
“You’re prideful and I can’t see your heart and others can’t see your heart as well.” Those were the words I read on the screen. In a nutshell, her email conveyed she thought I was doing a poor job in ministry.
Well, I would have to concur with her. I am prideful and I wish that weren’t so and although I try to show and share my heart as much as possible, I’m sure I don’t do a good job at it. Oh, and me doing a great job in ministry…well, that’s just a laughable notion. It just won’t and can’t happen because I know my fleshly tendencies.
Yet, when I saw her words on the screen that is not how I felt. I was devastated. I had no words to say, just tears to cry. I poured my heart out for that ministry and what she said left me spiritually paralyzed. I was curled up into the fetal position sobbing for three days. Spiritually, I was in a dark place, it was like I was in a black pit and I felt like I literally couldn’t climb out of it. The Enemy was thrilled to death this had just taken place; the timing was perfect for him.
At that time, I was in the midst of being swept by the currents of the raging sea and unable to reach shore. I was gasping for breath as I was starting to spiritually drown. We had recently lost our home to foreclosure (or so we thought), then we moved into a rental home for a few months but had to move out because we had no money to pay for rent, we were struggling to have money for our basic necessities, we had theft to my car which left it inoperable, my name had been smeared on Facebook from a family member, and our neighbors hurled insults towards me and my family. So her words, words from a friend, set me over the edge and into an abyss.
Honestly, I almost didn’t recovery spiritually from this incident. It was like the straw that broke the camel’s back. I knew in my heart if I couldn’t get out of that pit, my spiritual walk would end right there.
“You’re prideful.” It was a constant message that I played over and over, and not just for a few hours or days, but weeks and months. My mind was consumed with what she said.
However, God was calling me to Him, telling me to get up out of the pit, but I felt like I didn’t know how. My husband would pray for me and tell me the Truth, yet all I could hear is her words…“You’re prideful and no one can see your heart.”
Because of what she said, I felt like a worthless Christian. I also adopted the viewpoint of being a poor wife, a horrible mother, a bad friend, and of course one who should never go into ministry ever again.
To top it all off, at the time of the email the Lord was sending me into a new mission field.
A mission field that was bigger than the one I was already serving in.
A mission field where people didn’t know me personally, and so most certainly they wouldn’t be able to see my heart. (If they couldn’t see it in real life, how on earth were they going to see it on-line?)
A mission field where I was ill-equipped and scared to death to enter. Good grief, I was terrified to go where He was sending me when I barely felt good about myself, let alone now when someone who knew me personally thought I was lacking in Christian character.
I can’t go where you’re sending me Lord. I’m not good enough to do your will. See, Lord. Don’t you hear what this woman is saying about me? It proves that I’m incapable of doing what you’re asking me to do. This was my constant monologue with the Lord.
Yet, even though I was numb inside, I sought out the Truth as best as I could, and He brought this scripture to my mind:
Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23,24
So I gave Him complete access to my heart and He searched it. In essence, I was letting God decide if my heart was pure and right.
Sometimes serving in outside ministry is just plain tough. From learning what our spiritual gifts are to facing burnout and then adding in the possibility of getting hurt while serving the King of Kings can just make one shy away from the whole thing. But because we love Jesus so much, we just can’t help ourselves from pouring our lives out for Him, now can we?
So if you’ve been knocked down in ministry here’s some ways you can get back up and minister again.
Seek to Glorify God
We will never be enough when we’re serving God because we will always lack in our character. Plus, we will always be fighting off our sin-filled nature. So in essence, we will, in one way or another, just do a poor job ministry. However, if your heart is to please the Lord and others can’t see that, don’t worry about it. Don’t let your shortcomings or failures deter you from serving the Most High God regardless of what others say about you. We were meant to worship and serve Him regardless of how good, bad or ugly we are in ministry.
Bring all who claim me as their God, for I have made them for my glory. It was I who created them.'” Isaiah 43:7
Serving in ministry can challenge our flesh to the core and cause sorrow to our raw hearts. However, I encourage to you to press on in spite of the anguish and heartache that you have felt because the Lord has need of you!
“But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. Acts 20:24
Our purpose here on earth….is to lift Him up for all to see. (John 12:32)
How about you, friend? What do you do when you feel discouraged in ministry?