June 3, 2013

Big Questions for Medium-Sized Problems

Small problems are frequent and easily solved. You said something hurtful to her, or he acted in an insensitive way toward you. Someone apologized, or somebody covered the sin with love. The problem is worked out quickly. On the other hand, big problems, with their longer duration and more devastating consequences, are harder. Thankfully, these bad situations, such as a church or marriage split, are more rare.
Most of us struggle with difficulties in the middle. For example, we feel unengaged by that ministry task that used to give us joy, or we think we are not appreciated by those we pour our lives into. Medium-sized problems need to be addressed before they get too big. As a starting point, here are some practical things to ask yourself.
Origins of the Problem How long have you felt this way? Did the problem present itself when you started ministry/became a pastor's wife? Is it a long-standing feeling that seems to have increased lately? Do you see a trigger for this, either an event like having a baby or a reoccurring experience like criticism from a certain church member? It helps to think objectively about what is happening.
Physical Health When was your last physical checkup? Did you discuss your conflicts and negative feelings with your doctor? Are you able to get about 8 hours of sleep a night? Do you exercise? Eat nutritiously? Are you so distracted taking care of family members or the church that you neglect your own health? Poor physical health can affect all areas of our lives.
Spiritual Disciplines Are you reading God's Word? Do you listen to the Bible being taught by others? Is your personal prayer life a regular habit? Can you cast your cares on Jesus? Do you have fellowship with other Christian believers who encourage you to apply scripture to your walk with God? J. I. Packer reminds us that the Bible is God preaching to us. We all need good preaching.
Good listeners Is there a wise counselor, like a Christian psychologist or trusted pastor's wife, who can help you sort out your problem? Can you ask an objective family member for advice? If you are married, will your husband work toward a solution with you? God graciously puts people in our lives to provide insight, encouragement and the ability to lovingly point out where we need correction.
Adjusting Circumstances Can you cut back on ministry involvement temporarily to concentrate on other pressing matters? How can your husband facilitate your spiritual growth in practical ways? For example, will he watch the children so you can have uninterrupted devotional times and Christian fellowship? Can you quit some ministry where you have no ability or interest? Sometimes we lose sight of our goals, priorities and spiritual gifts without realizing it.
We all struggle with medium-sized problems, but there is hope for the future. Start with a few questions and God's help.


  1. "Are you reading God's Word?" Satan likes nothing better than to balloon our problems by turning us away from the source of true help. Thanks for the reminder!


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