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Encouragement for Spiritual Leaders

A friend recently said to me, “Cary, in the role of leader or pastor, the highs are higher… but the lows are lower.”

I called my friend this week—same one. And asked, “Hey, do you ever hit an indescribable low that almost feels like an oppression?” He said, “Yes… regularly.” I said, “Me too! I feel like a woman!” We laughed. (No insult intended ladies—I’m just not usually as emotionally wired as my wife.)

We all have seasons. We all have moments. But since entering a new role of leadership there’s a new dynamic at play against my heart. I can sense it. Here’s how I described it to my friend:

It’s like some mornings a spiritual enemy sits on my shoulder and screams into my head as many negative lies as he possibly can. Here’s what he says:

  • “You can’t do this.”
  • “It’s not going to work.”
  • “Who do you think you are fooling?”
  • “You can’t preach.”
  • “You can’t teach.”
  • “People don’t want to hear truth.”
  • “People aren’t going to show up.”
  • “Nobody is going to get saved, give, grow, or go forward.”
  • “You are in this alone.”
  • “You are going to fail.”
  • “This is all going to fall apart.”
  • “New Englanders aren’t open!”
  • “This battle isn’t worth fighting.”
  • “You’re in over your head.”
  • “You are a loser!”

Do you remember that panic feeling of really being “in over your head” when you were a kid!? Adrenalin rush. Gasp. Grope. Hope to feel the bottom quickly while your nose is still able to breathe dry air! That’s the feeling—only spiritually!

I just share this to say, it happens to spiritual leaders and pastors (and every Christian at times!) If you are one—you aren’t alone in that feeling. If you follow one—be nice to him because Satan isn’t!

It’s spiritual opposition. And it’s all lies. Lies is all Satan has to work with. And if we believe him, that’s all he needs. The beautiful thing about lies—they lose their power completely when we REFUSE them. They truly are POWERLESS. In the face of faith, lies fall apart.

Recently, just an hour after hearing all these lies, I stepped into a ministry meeting with five men eager to serve God together. Then an hour later, 20 men showed up at a Saturday morning prayer meeting to encourage one another. Then 25 people showed up to go out in freezing weather to invite people to Easter Sunday.

Then, my outreach partner began to share with me all that God is doing in his life. He said, “Pastor, I’ve grown more since you’ve been here than at any other time in my Christian life!” He continued to share with me his heart for giving, for growing, for seeing God at work in our church.

You are not alone if you think you are sometimes psychotic. There’s an enemy trying to get into your head. If you believe him, you’ve let him in. Push him back—resist him with faith and obedience.

Don’t give power to his lies. “Greater is He that is in you!” It’s not up to us! It’s all in His hands and we are too!

Jesus still rules. The gospel still changes lives. People are hurting in sin and brokenness. Lost hearts are looking for hope.

So when you’re laying in bed and the enemy is screaming into your head. Get up, get with God, and get busy serving others. Resist the Devil and He will flee. Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you.

It’s just lies.


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  • Bro. Schmidt,

    It’s helpful to know other pastors face these types of highs and lows, even pastors with larger churches. Sometimes I blame the thoughts on the fact that our church is still smaller. I came across a quote the other day that really blessed me in this area.

    “Look within and be depressed. Look without and be distressed. Look at Jesus and be at rest.” Corrie Ten Boom

    Thanks for sharing.

    Pastor Tim Benefield
    Golden Valley Baptist Church
    Patterson, CA

  • I really needed that Pastor Schmidt. I sometimes am comforted by the verse that says “this kind can come forth by nothing but prayer and fasting” it’s spiritual opposition and we need spiritual weapons!

    Praying for you and for your church


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