Truth be told, many of us experience the holidays feeling more like The Grinch Who Stole Christmas than Elf or It's A Wonderful Life. One North American survey reported that 45% of those polled said they actually "dreaded the holiday season." Hospitals and medical professionals back this up by saying that Christmas is the season with the highest rate of significant depression in North America.
As a youth pastor, I can almost guarantee that you will have the opportunity to use these principles sooner than you wish. But in truth, some of those painful, isolating times of loneliness will help make you someone in the ministry who has something inside to give to others.
I remember when I first dared to ask my mother, "Mom, you live such a lonely life. Don't you ever want to divorce Dad?"
She paused for a minute, obviously taken off guard by the bluntness of her young daughter's question. But then she responded very deliberately and lovingly, "Sure, Jeanne, I have for a long time. But I won't."
Lately, if you checked out the books I keep in my favorite reading spot on the back porch, you would see the 4:8 Principle by Tommy Newberry. This book is so good, I've probably read through it seven times.
"You God keep track of all my sorrows You’ve collected all my tears and put them in a bottle." Psalm 56:8
Have you ever gone through "Desert Times" in your life? You know...the dry times when God feels a billion miles away and any sense of "feeling" in your walk with the Lord is long gone. It's when the voices of failure, discouragement and inferiority get real loud in your head. We are forever giving out in youth ministry and it can become incredibly depleting.