But to be honest, working in full-time ministry is not always a bed of roses. There are days I want to quit; days that are so disappointing and discouraging that I have shut the door to my office to have some quiet time to wipe away tears and pour out my heart to the Lord.
I had that kind of day yesterday. One of the things I’ve learned from working in full-time ministry is that I can’t please everyone. I may make someone happy by a decision I make, but someone else is not happy about it. Criticism is part of the job.
There’s a part of me that wants very much to please people. But I also know that when I get into bed at night and reflect on my decisions that day, there’s really only One person I need to please – the Lord Jesus Christ. Obeying His leading and pleasing Him is what really matters.
I can’t please everyone. And neither can any of us in our respective roles – parent, spouse, boss, co-worker, teacher, ministry worker…
My initial response to criticism is discouragement, and at times, defensiveness. But I have to go to the Lord and ask Him if their criticism is warranted. Did I please Him?
All this to say: if you’re in full-time ministry, those days of discouragement and criticism will come. It’s the nature of working with people (in any job). We need to ask in those times, Lord, did I please You?
I share Paul’s passion in 2 Corinthians 5:9: “Therefore, also we have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.”
What has helped you handle those times of discouragement and criticism when people aren’t pleased with something you’ve done or a decision you’ve made?