Inward Look

Maintaining BalanceDo you ever feel overwhelmed by the demands of ministry, family, and financial responsibilities? Craig Golden, state representative for the Empire State Fellowship of Regular Baptist Churches, shares from other pastors in the Empire State Fellowship this compilation of wise counsel on handling stressful times.

  • Pray: “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). Pray and commit your cares to the Lord; trust and leave them there.
  • Think on Scripture: “Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass” (Psalm 37:5). Read Scripture and books related to stress.
  • Take a vacation: “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while” (Mark 6:31). Take a day off each week and an extended vacation each year. Go camping; participate in mission trips. Rest—and don’t feel guilty about it.
  • Enjoy your family: “Live joyfully with the wife whom you love” (Ecclesiastes 9:9). Go out to dinner with your wife. If you have children, attend a retreat as a family.
  • Exercise: “Bodily exercise profits a little” (1 Timothy 4:8). Try your hand at gardening, golfing, weight lifting, walking, working on the house, or hobbies; learn to play a new instrument.
  • Build relationships: “We have been comforted in your comfort. And we rejoiced exceedingly more for the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all” (2 Corinthians 7:13).Talk with other pastors; go to conferences; connect with a friend who will listen.
  • Keep perspective: “By the grace of God I am what I am” (1 Corinthians 15:10). Accept yourself; do your best and leave it there. Accept God’s sovereignty; understand God’s will for your life.
  • Laugh: “A merry heart does good, like medicine” (Proverbs 17:22). Don’t be too serious or take yourself too seriously. See the lighter side of things; take time to enjoy a joke or a good story.
  • Monitor your health: “Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1; cf. 1 Timothy 5:23). We are responsible for how we care for our bodies. As Paul advised Timothy in 1 Timothy 5 to take care of his health needs, take care of yours. Have checkups; take medications when needed to control blood pressure and other chronic health conditions.
  • Plan: “You ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that'” (James 4:15). Learn to say no; delegate; become more efficient; use time wisely; avoid perfectionism; establish priorities; build margins into your schedule; keep long-range goals in mind.