I’ve felt tired of growing, have you? In leadership, there are consistent messages about how we need to get better. In our spiritual lives, there is a right expectation that we will continue to grow in our faith, and many ministry leaders feel personal pressure here as well as pressure to continue growing for the sake of the ministry. Once you add in family, there’s another layer of growth that we need to experience.
Personal and leadership growth are even a common theme through our work at Lifeway Students as we seek to encourage and challenge you through this blog and elsewhere as you lead in ministry. At times, for me, the personal growth process has felt more like a burden than a joyous journey of becoming a better me. If you’ve ever felt this way—or perhaps you are in that place right now—I hope that you’ll keep reading and find encouragement from some things that have helped me along the way.
1. Recognize and admit that you’re tired of growing
This is a huge first step because it reveals the truth that growing isn’t easy. Growing is meant to be a painful process at times because parts of our old self have to fall away, be chipped away, or torn off in order for us to get better. Ignoring this and continuing to carry the burden of growth in blissful ignorance will only lead us deeper into unhealthiness.
2. Call in reinforcements
Too many times we think that experiencing personal growth is a solo activity. Certainly, there are elements of that, but our tendency to shoulder our own burdens of growth keep us from experiencing the true power of relationships in our lives. We are meant to grow together, and when we’re experiencing growth fatigue it is a sign that we need to spend some time with those who are closest to us and who know us best.
3. Take a break from the development “noise”
Put down the leadership books, podcasts, articles, and growth voices for a season. Sometimes your mind just needs a break, and there’s nothing wrong with that as long as you have a plan for reengagement.
Hear me carefully here: I am not advocating a departure from spiritual disciplines in addition to the leadership growth stuff, but rather a different approach to them. Instead of focusing on your own growth as a believer, try focusing on God. Choose passages that speak specifically to who He is and approach your spiritual journey from a place of wanting to know God rather than gleaning everything you can for your own personal growth. I’ve found that when that is the approach, the spiritual growth takes care of itself as we seek to know God more.
It is true that we are meant to grow, and it’s true that we need to take on responsibility for that growth, but in the midst of those truths we can’t ignore that there’s a difficulty to it. This difficulty can be a heavy weight that we carry as leaders. My final word of encouragement to you in this is that in your path of personal growth, don’t forget to take care of yourself.
This post was written by Ben Trueblood, Director of Lifeway Students. Ben is passionate about investing in student ministry leaders like you. You can find more encouragement from Ben on his YouTube Channel, Student Ministry That Matters.