Because most of you reading this are young and cool, I wanted to start by saying something relevant and hip, like “lit” or “fam” but for some reason, relevant and hip just doesn’t describe me. It’s not really who I am. Maybe the fact that I am 46 has something to do with that, or maybe it’s the constant reminder by my teenage son that I am “lame”. Either way, it just didn’t sound right. And that’s too bad because it really was going to be lit. (See what I did there?)
Too often in ministry we get caught up in trying to be something we are not. Or we tend to get discouraged observing others who seem to have it all.
“If I could only play the guitar as well as them.”
“If I could only speak as well as them.”
“If I only had a more outgoing personality.”
“If only I had more volunteers, a bigger budget, nicer facilities.”
“If only I looked good in a flat bill hat” (Sorry, I hate those hats…but I digress)
And the list goes on.
Don’t even try to pretend you don’t look at others Face Book or Instagram or website and compare. We all do it. We all feel like, at times, that it’s a competition. And we all feel like we are losing at some point.
I had MAJOR anxiety trying to decide whether or not to share a video of myself with a group of people I KNOW love and support me. Why? They are all better than I am. I hate to admit this, and if any of you read this I am sorry, but I stalked them. Like serious, should probably-be-reported-to-the-authorities level of stalking. Like call-the-mental hospital-and-check-me-in level of stalking. I was obsessed to the point that I really started to worry about my sanity. I would watch their videos and take mental notes of why it was better than mine and by the time I watched them all, I wanted to hide away and burn my guitar and never sing again (ok burning the guitar might be a slight exaggeration). Or at least sit down with a gallon of ice cream and cry and binge my troubles away. It was not my best moment. My insecurities had overtaken me. And I said to myself… “If I could only…” then I would share my video
Those thoughts, those comparisons, I can’t help but think, is some of what Paul was referring to when he told us to “Take every thought captive” in 2 Corinthians. It’s those thoughts that get us, that beat us down, that cause us to doubt and compare, and that tells us that we aren’t good enough.
I struggle with those thoughts. So much of who I am, drives me to be a perfectionist. And while that can be positive, it is also very dangerous to my ministry. If I am constantly looking and gauging myself based on the “If I could only’s” I miss out on who God wants me to become, where he has called me to, and ultimately who I am in him. I spend my time trying to be something and someone I am not, instead of letting God perfect me as he chooses. My ministry becomes devoid of power as I focus on who I wish I were instead of who I am. In Him, I am perfect, I am complete, I am spotless and blameless, and I am His child. A child of the King.
Stop today and acknowledge who you are. Take those thoughts of comparison captive, they come from the enemy, and we all know he comes to kill, steal and destroy. Don’t allow him to do that to you, to your ministry, to your church. Function and work in the gifts the Spirit has given you and be faithful in your call, right where you are, just as you are. Don’t play the game. It is time consuming and you can’t win, and you might end up doing something you regret like burning your guitar or eating a gallon of ice cream.
Love you guys! Thanks for your work in the Kingdom!