As a pastor, the two things I wrestle with the most are fear and insecurity.
Ever since I was young I always wanted to be a “somebody.” I wanted to “make it” and “hit it big.” In a day and age where pastors of large churches are held up as Christian celebrities, it’s easy for a guy like me to get sucked into the church version of the American Dream hoping for significance in being known.
Not only do I want to be known, but I, also, want to be liked. A while back I wrote about being an approval junkie. I desire affirmation and for people to follow my lead. But anyone who has led anything for five minutes knows you can’t please everyone. The reality is when leading, you will always disappoint someone.
In moments when I am mastered by the desire to be known and to be liked, my heart is over run with fear and insecurity with the possibility that neither will come to fruition.
In my last post I discussed the nature of God speaking to us through his Spirit and how he actually tells us to do simple things like visit our neighbors and make soup for them when they’re sick. If we listen, Christ’s Spirit actually gives us instruction throughout our day. In these situations God’s desired response is our obedience. He’s not making suggestions, but rather like a parent with a child, he’s graciously teaching us how to obey.
God not only speaks to us about things we should do, he also speaks to us about who we are, our identity. In turn, He also speaks to us about who He is, revelation. But oddly enough, over the last year God has been speaking to me about what I have.
I realize that my desires to be known and liked are rooted in my pride. And over the last few years God has been calling me to submit these desires to him so that he might reshape them. Part of His process of reshaping them has been speaking into them.
About my desire to have a platform that would enable me to “be known,” God has said to me, “Everything you want, you already have.” The three things I believe I’m most called to are teaching and preaching, discipling people and writing. As a pastor I get to do all those things. In this season of my life, God is reshaping my desire of being known, into that of making Him known.
About my desire to be liked, God has said to me, “Everything you need, I’ve already given you.” The reason I feel insecure in leading people is because I also feel inadequate. I don’t always believe I’m cut out to do it. Insecurity and inadequacy lead me down the road of pleasing people rather than leading people. But God is showing me I don’t lead alone. The “everything” He has given me to lead is Himself. His presence. His power. His provision.
In conjunction with these two things, the Lord also brought to mind:
So then, no more boasting about human leaders! All things are yours. (1 Cor. 3:21)
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature. (2 Peter 1:3-4)
And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matt. 28:20)
By learning to discern God’s voice through both His Spirit and the Scriptures, when I find myself getting over run by fear and insecurity I take comfort in the words he has spoken to me and find rest for my soul.
1. What has the Lord said to you about who you are?
2. What has He told you about who He is?
3. What has He told you about what you have?
Next week I’ll discuss a little bit of the process I went through in discerning these two things from the Lord.