I am going to write a few blogs on the lens I see through...it is changing...but what it can look like to look through the lens of feeling insignificant. The journey to leave that behind and move on is my journey...leading while feeling like you have nothing of value to share or that your voice will never be heard is next to impossible. I could teach others how much God loved them and how He wanted to set them free but was a struggle to find it for me...
This is an over the top illustration I think and yet this scene demonstrates what I am talking about in a physical picture...she sees a need and runs to it...she is not a fire person...a medical person...she is not thinking she will be in the way...there are people in need. It is kind of over the top but when you are pretty sure you have nothing to offer you think more about yourself than others...or maybe the overwhelming feeling you just don’t have what it takes paralyzes you.
I also have discovered thinking you really do not matter or have anything to offer can impose itself when you want or need to show compassion or sympathy to others. Recently a a leader close by went through a hard, emotional time as they suffered loss. As I wrestle with how or even more real, do I reach out, I can be struck by how little I have to offer...more important people will step in...why would they need or want to hear from me. The low self esteem stops even the most simple of efforts just to say I am sorry to hear about their pain. Maybe they don’t need to hear from me...maybe they do...or maybe I need to go beyond my self preservation and show kindness. Again this is a pretty dramatic scene but imagine when you feel this way how you respond to other invitations or opportunities. Invited to go on mission trips I wonder why...what is the point...it is just me...I really don’t do much...or have much to share. I guess you have to wonder how I even came to be a Pastor...me too...the only thing I truly know is God looks for someone to say yes to Him. I think that is how...I said yes.
But the shift...ahhh the shift...shift happens. (sorry I could not pass that by) I am pretty convinced in our ministry journey we begin with much of ourselves being involved, mixed with God, knowing all things are possible with God. I think where we end up is...we know without God we go no where. It is all Him...Maturity is, in my eyes, this journey from being independent to being dependent...on Him... for all things. So lately I see God bringing people...young and older, probably none older than me, but older, and He is bringing them towards us...me...and I am finding I feel like I have stuff to offer them...it is the strangest feeling I have ever had. How do you transition from feeling totally useless to being useful...in your own eyes...you see, this is where it has to finally settle in. God knows who you are...others see it way before you do...but you have to see it. You have to own it. I could tell others about it for themselves...affirm them...encourage them...but not for myself. I think if I did begin to go there, I was convinced I was then becoming prideful...and I did not want that. Wow! I sure am complicated aren’t I? See I am drifting back right now...
So I see these people coming my way and my first thought is to....run! They will find out I am a fake...I will discover I was right all along...I have nothing to offer. But instead I want to lean into this new discovery...this new sense of belonging...this sense that I can make a difference. The good thing is when you come from way over on the other side of that, you know you have to give it away...it is not mine to control...to profit off of...you let it leak out...pour out...because it is not yours anyway. Then in God’s kingdom, others will draw it out of you, pull it out when you aren’t looking...their hunger...their faith draws it out. In conversations...just hanging out...doing life. I am talking with young leaders who are so much more gifted than I and it is such an honor...and they just want to hang out. They are hungry and they pull the best stuff out of you...and then I meet with senior leaders who, by the way we measure things in church culture, are so much more successful than I, but we talk...about God...what I might know about Him.
Such a paradigm shift for me...strange...humbling. I really don’t know when the shift began in earnest...I sense it began as I sought to be healed by the One who knows me the best...healed of deep stuff. It began as others believed in me before I did...saw things I could not see...challenged me to be a pastor...a leader. Recently we were in a setting where others in our circle were asked to speak words of affirmation to us...not just made us stuff but what they saw...in us...in me. Right towards the end one of the leaders asked me if I had heard all the things spoken to me and I nodded that I had but not in a very convincing manner I suppose. He looked at me and said, “This is what we see...not what we made up...what we see. You need to hear it!” Now that shook my world a bit...it was not make believe...it was real...for them...for me. Shift happens...the Spirit takes one who will say yes and heals and moves them along the path of life.