Sooner or later, everyone suffers a period where they lack encouragement or motivation. It doesn’t matter what you do for a living, there will be times when you feel under-appreciated or depressed. But this is especially true in children’s ministry.
These down times could be related to your performance, your relationships with those around you, or just to the crummy weather outside your office window! No matter what the cause, it is difficult to deal with unless you have prepared ahead of time. When I face these tough times in ministry, I turn to Scripture and prayer so that I can be reminded of God’s promises. But that’s not all I do. I also turn to what I call my “happy file.”
When I started in ministry 12 years ago, a received great advice from my first boss. He instructed me to create a “happy file” to hold notes, cards, emails, or gifts that were encouraging to me in my ministry efforts. The tendency is to read these items, fill up on the encouragement, and then toss them away.
After creating a “happy file”, I realized that encouragement is a non-perishable item.
When I face a discouraging moment or a rough season in ministry, I will always go to my “happy file” to be reminded of the things I’ve seen God do in and through me. It may not immediately or completely remedy the funk, but it ALWAYS helps.
Here are some examples of things to put in your “happy file”:
- Encouraging cards from others
- Pictures, cards or gifts from your kids or other children
- Copies of encouraging emails from your co-workers or boss
- Pictures of people who have influenced you or made a difference in your career
- Pictures of people who have been encouraged or influenced by your work
- Quotations, Scripture verses, or lyrics that have spoken to you in other times of need
What will be the first thing you put in your happy file?