Lutheran Church Extension Fund

When you're hurting, be sure to say, "Ouch!"

Monthly theme: Resilience

Reading time: two minutes

Movie Trivia: Who said, “‘Tis but a scratch!”?

(Hint: He said it after King Arthur lopped off one of his arms in a swordfight.)

He also said, “I’ve had worse,” and shouted after losing both arms and legs, “I’M INVINCIBLE!” You got it; it was John Cleese as The Black Knight in Monty Python’s Search for the Holy Grail.

It’s a silly scene from a movie, but sadly, a scene reenacted all too often by many hurting pastors and church workers.

If you’re hurting, it’s okay to say, “OUCH!”

The ministry lifestyle can be physically exhausting, emotionally distressing, relationally taxing, and spiritually depleting. Anyone serving in ministry for more than a few years has experienced the hurts and wounds of unwarranted criticism, family sacrifice, and frustration from lack of support.

Self-awareness is essential for resilience in the face of the trials of ministry. Black Knight denial can leave us spiritually, relationally, emotionally, and vocationally empty.

Self-care for vitality and joy in ministry begins with self-awareness, admitting how the challenges and frustrations of ministry affect us.

The Black Knight failed to see that pain is our friend, a gift from God. Hansen’s Disease, commonly called leprosy, is a deterioration of the capacity to feel pain. Without pain, the disease’s victims don’t recognize that they’ve been burned, bitten, or wounded, and their inattention to their hurts leads to horribly disfiguring consequences.

Resilience is the capacity to bounce back from hurt and frustration,

but it’s hard to bounce back if you don’t even realize you’ve been knocked down.

Self-awareness begins as an attitude in the heart. It’s acceptance that we, like every human being, are vulnerable creatures. Sticks and stones hurt, and so do words. A wellness mindset means being committed to dealing with our hurts before they accumulate and compound their impact on our vitality.

An essential skill for self-awareness is the daily inventory of asking yourself, “How am I doing?” It’s a regular morning practice of reflecting on yesterday’s adventures, on sacrifices made, on hurtful words heard, on discouraging circumstances faced, and then getting real about how they have affected you and your family.

It’s also not a bad idea to find a quiet few minutes at the end of the day to ask yourself again, “What have I faced today that has depleted me?”

Resilience in ministry is then renewed when you become a Psalmist.

Pour out your hurts to the Father who loves you and knows your pains and sorrows even before you do.

Find hope and strength in His promises of grace, and peace and the healing, renewing power of the gospel. The healing ministry of our Lord Jesus continues today. He turns our wounds to scars.

And with scars you can keep going. More on that next week.

May our loving Lord grant you healing and strength to continue on the path of faithful service that He has laid out before you.

Thanks for reading.