It is a LOT at times!
I will be honest as a leader; it is a lot at times and can be very draining. If I am fully transparent, it is easy to fall into moments of discouragement as you lead people. Why is that? Simply put, because people are messy. It can be even more disheartening as a Pastor, Church leader, or a spiritual mentor in someone’s life as we have those we lead seek us for spiritual health, marital health, financial health, and parenting health. All while helping them meet friends, keep them entertained, fed, and not taking up too much of their time. I feel a little overwhelmed, just writing that. Now I know that Jesus is the only answer to the health in our lives, and as leaders, our job is solely to help bring wisdom and direction in matters relevant to where people are and point them to Jesus.
However, the draining and burnout do not occur in those moments because I love to see people progress into who they are supposed to be. The moments I feel drained are found when I pour so much into someone just to have them walk away. I have found as a Pastor that many times when someone’s life is spinning out of control, they are desperate for me to speak into them and desperately want to be faithful with their spiritual disciplines. Yet when life settles back down, the leader is not needed, and attending Church is no longer a priority.
Let me be clear this is not a pity party post for leaders because we are about to get to the real reason for our frustration. The real issue behind my frustration is that I have unrealistic expectations for people. Why would I expect people to treat me differently than how we as people treat God? Honestly, think about this. Don’t we desperately pray to God and passionately pursue God when we need a miracle? Isn’t in the moments when we are desperate for a change that we are always beating on the door of heaven? Yet when life is coasting okay, are we not quick to put God on our lives’ back burner? Am I only one that notices that?
Now with that in our thought process, how does God respond toward us when we ignore Him? He longingly desires us to come back home! He does not grow in frustration and bitterness towards us, but His heart grieves for us to step back into His presence. Luke really paints the picture of Jesus’ heart here in Luke 19:41, “But as he came closer to Jerusalem and saw the city ahead, he began to weep.” I want you to picture this Jesus was weeping over the people in Jerusalem who did not follow Him as a disciple and He is weeping over the very people who would shortly crucify Him! He is not weeping over the faithful, but the unfaithful, the unrepentant, those that are from perfect. Oh God, I pray that I have a heart like you, and I pray that I see people the way you do!
I was just telling our staff that we must remember the true responsibility of a disciple. Our mission is to disciple people so they can grow into who God created them to be, and if that is the truth, which we know it is, then that means we are mentoring people that still need to grow spiritually. This means they will make mistakes, be undisciplined at times, and disappoint us, but our response is so crucial for their future. No, we are not pushovers. However, we can’t be people who quickly get angry, frustrated, and dismissive, but we must take on the nature of Jesus, who had compassion!
‘When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”’ Matthew 9:36-38
It is easy to only disciple people who are easy and then dismiss everyone else, but that is like a Doctor saying I only want to see healthy patients. We are called to lead people to health, and sometimes that gets messy, and I feel like God is praying for workers that are willing to get messy!
The harvest is great, but the disciples with compassion are few.
Thanks for reading!
Let me know your thoughts on what causes you to feel drained in the comments below. I would love to hear from you!