This morning I was woken up at 1:30am by our 6 month old daughter, Katelyn. After I went in to check on her, change her diaper and rock her back to sleep; I got back into bed, however I couldn’t go back to sleep.  My mind began to dwell on all sorts of work related things.  Now, I know that this scenario is nothing unique to just me, many people have sleepless night due to the pressures of work. But the strange thing about it is, it’s a Sunday morning, the day after Christmas and we canceled church services for the morning cause of snowy and icy road conditions.  So in a sense, I have the morning off from work.

I was perplexed and frustrated as to why my mind would be consumed with work on a night when I didn’t have to go to work the next morning. But I figured if there was any chance of getting back to sleep I needed to write down all the things I was thinking about as a way to get them off my mind.  Then, as I was writing I had an unexpected “ah ha” moment.

All of the things that I was writing down were things that I desire to see take place with in the context of church with in the first part of this next year. Things with our youth ministry, small groups, new members, staff, etc… Some where between tossing and turning in bed and writing all of these thoughts down, it became clear to me that the reason I couldn’t sleep was because all of these things brought to the surface feelings of inadequacy, the job was to big for me to handle.

But then the “ah ha” moment, my greatest lesson from 2010 set in.

One of my mentors, this past year, taught me that as a follower of Christ, God takes on a journey of discovery and re-discovery. He takes us through difficult situations that have the potential to overwhelm us in order to discover our inadequacy, so that we can re-discover that our true source of power and  identity (our adequacy) comes from Christ and not ourselves.  If your anything like me, I often try to manage my life in such a way to prove to myself and those around me that I am competent and able to handle anything that comes my way.  The reality is I am not.  And trying to pretend that I am leads to restlessness, sleepless nights and fear.

My greatest lesson from this past year has been that in these moments what I need most is to be reminded of what the apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 3v5-6, “Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”  There will always comes moments of feeling incompetent and inadequate, but we find rest and assurance when we realize that our identity isn’t found in our performance or ability, but it’s found in Christ.

My hope is that as we move into the new year we would come to believe more deeply that the adequacy we have in Christ is enough. My hope is that we would learn to live and lead out of that identity and not one we try to manufacture on our own.


2 Responses to “Midnight Musings: my greatest lesson from 2010”

  1. Sarah

    Great post Bryan. I experienced something similar this Christmas season with all of the family interactions I had. Throughout the majority of the year, the interactions I have with my family are carefully planned and they have a definite start and end point. This Christmas season we spent 12 days on-and-off with family members and it revived some of the old frustrations (and joys, of course) of when I was growing up and we all lived together. I laid awake one night so anxious about what I had said that day, how my family had responded, and what the next day would be like. At first I blamed my anxiety on just the Christmas season and seeing too much of everyone, and then I realized that it was I who was too uptight. I was trying too hard to be a particular person for our families – someone who can handle all of the details of Christmas and be perfectly calm and congenial the whole time. Also, someone who is different than the girl that they may think of me as from my childhood and adolescence.

    Anyhow, I was attempting to do what you described here – to remember that I am inadequate because I am not in charge of everything and everyone in my life. I got through the discovery part on my own, and I am working on the re-discovery now. 🙂 So thank you for your thoughts.

  2. Becky Terry

    AMEN, Bryan. I agree and receive your charge.

    We always seem to have to remind ourselves not to…. “do it ourselves” and then ask for God’s help, but to let Him work through us….for ALL things are POSSIBLE with God, and He has the power and faithfulness to do as He promised.

    Like I told my children growing up….and even now to myself…..”mind your own little red wagon.” (Keep your head down, stay out of business that isn’t yours, and leave the rest to God).


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