My husband is an amazing Student Pastor. He seeks after God in prayer, delivers timely messages, connects with the students in our group on a personal level, and is a hard worker in everything that he does. But, like many others in the trenches of student ministry, he battles insecurity, doubt, and discouragement, almost on a daily basis. Please don’t take my words and assume that he is lacking spiritually or believe that I am speaking down about him. Instead, I think if we are all honest with ourselves, we know that these feelings are a reality of life. If we take an honest look at human nature, along with a clear understanding of the territory that comes with being in student ministry, it’s easy to conclude that most student pastors have at one point or another battled the mind games I have mentioned above. My husband is human, and the enemy of his soul wants nothing more than to attack him in his mind as it relates to life and ministry.
If there’s one thing I have learned in our three years of full-time student ministry, it is that I hate what the enemy does with ministerial mind games. But, what I have also learned is that, as a StuMinWife, God has given me powerful tools to build up my husband and stand with him when the enemy attacks. I would like to share with you some key ways to stand with your husband when he is fighting insecurity, doubt, and discouragement in ministry.
- Pray for your husband. I know, it sounds cheesy that this would be number one. But God has called us as wives to be people of prayer. He has given us the ability to communicate with Him about the things that matter most in our lives. I continuously pray for my husband to not be victim to the mind games that the enemy tries to get him to play in his head. I pray that God will show me when my husband is most susceptible to these thoughts and to give me clear guidance on what I can do in those moments to stand with him.
- Speak life into your husband. The Bible is very clear about the power that our words hold. It is easy to tear someone down with just a few simple sentences. When my husband is experiencing times of discouragement and doubt, it’s important that my words speak life and positivity into him. This may mean that I have to bite my tongue at times, but it’s always worth it to build him up instead of getting in that “I told you so” moment.
- Encourage, encourage, encourage. Be your husband’s biggest cheerleader. Send him positive text messages throughout the day. Let him know that you are praying for him and believe in him. Encourage him in his strengths and in the things he is doing well. Do for him some of the things that you wish others would do for you when you are tired, stressed out, and having a bad day. If you know when he is most likely going to be struggling, make sure you go the extra mile during those times to do these things and show him just how proud you are to be his wife.
- Be a learner and a reader. Make sure that you are getting in the Word and reading and learning continuously. You have to continuously be filling yourself with God and encouraging your husband to be in the Word as well. The closer we get ourselves to God’s heart, the easier it will be to continue to see what He says about us. Nothing thwarts what the enemy is trying to do like the power of our victorious God. It’s important that we take the time to hear and learn from Him.
- Be a source of remembrance. Write down in a journal the times that are good and the moments that make ministry worth it. When your husband feels discouraged, it’s important to be able to remind him of the “wins” the ministry is experiencing. God had the Israelites build altars as places of remembrance. Help your husband by showing him that God is working through him, even when he doesn’t see it for himself.
Always remember that God has equipped us to find our strength and power in Him. Communicate with your husband about the mind games. When you can find the source of those thoughts, you are better equipped to stop the mind games before they start. Know that you are not alone as a wife in the battle. Seek friendships to lift you up in prayer and encourage you in the journey. Keep your eyes and your focus on God, and remind yourself often of the moments that make ministry worth it. Doubt, discouragement, and insecurity are real feelings, but they don’t have to leave us paralyzed in feelings of failure and inadequacy.
Does your husband often experience these mind games in ministry? What are some other ways you have found to stand with him in these moments?