Seriously, ministry can be exhilarating one moment and devastating the next; it is filled with high highs and low lows. The highs may have a few pitfalls, but they are fairly easy to manage, but the lows can wipe us out and send us packing if we are not careful.
That is why I so appreciate the wise advice an old pastor gave me when I first entered vocational ministry. He told me to start an encouragement file. Every kind note or thoughtful letter, or basically anything encouraging goes in this file. And then every time you get a highly critical email, whenever you preach a lousy sermon, when people leave your church, when things seem stuck or you just feel discouraged, it is time to open the encouragement file.
It is amazing what those notes can do and the perspective they can add when you’re down in the ministry dumps. I now have an electronic encouragement folder where I keep emails from people that inspire/encourage me as well as a physical folder.
And I can tell you, when I have felt totally defeated and deflated, God has used the contents in these folders to help me keep pressing on even when I don’t feel like it.
So my encouragement to you – start your own encouragement folder(s) today!