Just recently I have been feeling really overwhelmed by the demands of ministry, and of life in general if I am honest, sometimes it feels that there isn't enough of me to go around, and while I am getting quite good at saying no to the demand that does not stop the demand coming. Add to this the fact that for various reasons I have been struggling with depression lately, the kind of depression that tells me I cannot do it, the kind that erodes my confidence and makes me want to hide under the duvet for the day, and , well you get the picture, it has felt like everything is just too much...
Too much that is until I remember that I am not responsible for everyone's woes and spiritual lives, yes I am a leader and a guide, but as the saying goes you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him drink! Too much until those I minister to bless me in ways that challenge me to reassess my own life and remember to turn to and lean on the God who has called me.
That happened to me this evening at the Comfort Zone, a project that serves the homeless and needy community in Blackpool. The Comfort Zone is a community, although we technically have volunteers and clients there are many ways in which we support one another. Lilly was playing the piano, "Because he lives, I can face tomorrow" , a song of resurrection hope filled the church as people queued to collect food parcels and sleeping bags.
"Because he lives I CAN FACE TOMORROW", those words are still echoing in my head, added to by the very real gratefulness of so many for the little that we do. One man shared with me his hunger for God and his desire for Bible Study, another wanted to pray, not for things for himself but a prayer of thanksgiving, people were lighting candles, chatting and generally enjoying being together. In this community I found a place to stop, a place to be grateful and a place where I received as much as I gave, more in fact. Real faith is expressed by many in our community, real faith that relys upon God because there is nothing and nobody else to be relied upon, real faith that knows;
4 “You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.
5 “You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought."
Matthew 5: 3-5 The Message
On my way out this evening I was stopped by another of our community who gave me a huge bear hug because I looked like I needed it, she was right, I did. I am still tired, and still overwhelmed, I am still struggling with depression, but this I know, I am not alone, and "because he lives I CAN face tomorrow.