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maintaining emotional health

There is a blessing and curse associated with every personality type. I’m an artist/thinker type of a person. The blessing of this personality is that I am usually bristling with ideas and my mind is running on overdrive most of the time. When I am “on” there is a flood of passion associated with what I do. I love it. People tend to respond positively to it.

The downside to my personality is that I have a very low capacity to handle letting people down or having people be less-than-enthusiastic about what I do. Simply put, I don’t have really thick skin. Several years ago I sat through a mega-church conference where we were taught about a concept called “emotional intelligence.” This is the ability to interpret and appropriately navigate other people’s emotional responses to you. I discovered that I often lack in “EQ.”

Yesterday I experienced one of those less-than-stellar days of ministry. I received some criticism, fielded some tough questions, and felt like I missed, yet again, in connecting to the high school students. After a 13-hour day of ministry that is not-so-great, I am spent.

Through the process of meditating on  this week’s scripture reading, and searching through literature, God graciously led me to the following article by Mark DeVries that I found helpful. (read the full article) this is the excerpt that poured some soothing salve on the burned parts of my spirit.

Encourage emotional health. Work to stay emotionally healthy yourself and help others who work with you in the youth ministry to do the same. Don’t make your decisions on the basis of your feelings, which depend on changing circumstances and are unreliable. Base your decisions on biblical principles that remain the same no matter what your current circumstances. Instead of running from pain, find God at work in the middle of the pain and see what you can learn from it. Take responsibility for your own problems rather than blaming other people. Ask yourself these key questions: “Do I have a life outside ministry?”, “Do I have an emotionally healthy schedule?”, “How much do I know about what I don’t know?”, “Do I rule my tongue, or does it rule me?”, “Whom do I take more seriously – God or myself”, “What am I fighting about?”, “What do I do after I fail?”, “Can I say ‘no’ to people?”, and “Am I burning out?”