Some women make ministry look glorious and easy.
Their outfits are adorable. They look confident in how they carry themselves. They seem to have perfect lives. Their understanding of scripture is mind-blowing. And we wonder if God is more pleased with them than He is with… us.
And deep down, we may even envy their notoriety. Don’t we all have a desire to be seen and known.
I’ll be honest… this kind of mindset makes me want to scream. I can’t stand it when I let myself go down this road of thinking. Because I know everyone struggles as they navigate life. No one has it all together…
… regardless of who they are.
Here is the hard, cold truth: No matter how it may look, ministry is hard.
It’s a call to be vulnerable and open with your life—your story. It’s choosing to sit down at your computer or stand in front of an audience and pick the scab off your deepest wounds. It’s a radical act of obedience when we feel lacking and even unqualified. And sometimes it feels like you’re setting yourself up for a big heart thump.
Last year was one of those times.
Within about 3 months…
… I lost a good ministry-minded friend,
… an opportunity to work with an amazing group of Jesus-girls exploded,
… and I was betrayed at the deepest level by someone in ministry.
That trifecta knocked me down. Hard. And I lost my joy for ministry.
It made me question the calling on my life, wondering if maybe I heard God wrong. I was on the verge of quitting, frustrated because I felt He had abandoned me. It just felt like too much heartache to handle.
But then God. Those three words are so powerful.
But then God nudged women to send affirming emails at just the right time.
But then God crossed my path with the paths of encouragers at the right moment.
But then God spoke the right words into my heart.
And my hopelessness began to lift… my perspective began to shift… and joy began to trickle back in.
Honestly, I am still low on the joy-meter. It’s a process, right? But I know the only One who can restore it is God.
And we’re working on it together.
Friend, where is joy draining from your life?
Where are you struggling to hold on to it?
Maybe it’s in a marriage that feels fragile or because a child is making bad choices. It could be because of your failing health or because your finances are unstable. Are you losing joy because of a strained friendship, a moral failure or a career that seems stuck?
What if we looked at our circumstances a little differently?
Mother Teresa once said, “The best way to show my gratitude to God is to accept everything, even my problems, with joy.” This is meaty. It’s trust on steroids. And it is faith to the core.
But even better…
1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us… “Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live” (MSG).
God is asking us to engage in uncommon gratitude when life is draining our joy.
That means we thank God no matter what happens. It means we don’t focus on what’s lost, but instead focus on what’s left… and to be grateful for it.
It means we praise Him in the storm.
We don’t have to thank God for allowing cancer or death or pain in our life. I’m not sure we could ever genuinely find gratitude in that. Instead, we show gratitude because we know God is bigger than what we are facing, and that He is intricately involved in the details.
And that choice—choosing praise over hopelessness—is what takes us from common to uncommon.
Friends, praise will always usher in joy when we’re struggling to find it. It’s a negativity-buster and gratitude-generator at the same time. And it will keep us tethered to hope… no matter what comes our way.
Let’s be joy-carriers and show the next generation how it’s done so they can harness its power in their own lives.
I know you can do this.
Because of Jesus, you have everything it takes to #beUncommon. Now choose it.
Oh, how I love this post! Thank you for being so vulnerable to share your story. It is so true that we all want to be known and seen, and that truth doesn’t need to condemn us! Especially when we can revel in the fact that our Father sees us and knows us like no other and He still loves us!! I too have found gratitude and praise to make such a difference. I’m learning when I pray to enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Too often, I start praying and realize my prayers are all wrapped up in what’s wrong with my life or what’s wrong with me, and the longer I pray, the worse it gets. But when I remember to start with thanks, no matter how small, and start praising Him for all He’s done and all He is, my heart is lifted and those “issues” seem much more manageable. I love your phrase – choosing praise over hopelessness. Yes, that’s the key. I think joy comes when we make that choice. Thanks!
Carey Scott says
So glad you stopped by!!
Stephanie Bankhead says
Carey, every time I stop by your blog you’ve written something that speaks straight to my heart. And the best part is that you bring God’s word of hope to the area of struggle. THANK YOU! Your ministry is vital and God is using you in big ways to help women. Be encouraged to keep on keeping on. What you have to say is needed in this crazy world we live in. Thank you for being obedient. I just ordered your new book and am excited to read it. Blessings to you, my sister!
Carey Scott says
That means a lot… thank you!
Thank you again for sharing so vulnerably…I love it…it’s soooo encouraging. To keep praising in the storm is so hard, but you are right about it providing hope though. Thanks for the reminder at such a needed time ???
Carey Scott says
Thank you, friend!!!
Focus on what’s LEFT vs what’s LOST…a perspective shift that will knock my bad attitude on its booty! Thanks for your vulnerability and willingness to speak truth even when it’s not going to get big cheers, Miss Carey…
Proverbs 31 Wannabe says
Comparing our lives in ministry to what others are doing is discouraging and yet we do it all the time. We forget that God called each of us differently and equips us for the task He wants us to do. Several months ago I was weary and anxious. The verse that kept coming to mind was “The joy of the Lord is my strength.” I was reminded that my strength, my joy, my everything comes from Him. When I try to live in my own strength, my own joy, I can get depleted. But then God… God steps in with joy that is never ending, joy that surpasses anything I’ve got and that joy strengthens me and sustains me and gives me everything I need.
Patricia Sabanal says
Thank you for sharing this truth of not losing hope when we are in the valleys of life. I’m recovering from a near fatal from from a ladder while I was picking apricots on July 4th. I have a fractured wrist and clavicle along with 3 cracked ribs. The pain has been unbearable. However I have experienced God’s living presence in the midst of the pain. I’m so very thankful that I didn’t die. I could’ve broken my neck or snapped my spine. It could’ve been so much more worse. I find myself crying more over the fact that I’m thankful than the excrutiating pain in my ribs. I know God is working. I can’t care for my husband at this time as he had a massive stroke in Oct. 2016, and is still recovering. But God is using my injury to push him to become stronger. And its working! I don’t have to do everything. God is in control!! His miracles are everywhere!!
Carey Scott says
Praying for you and your husband right now, Patricia. Thanks for sharing part of your story with me.