About 5 or 6 times I wanted to close my tablet and walk off the stage. I felt as if I were just reading words off a page, emotionally discouraged and wanting to quit.
“God, how can this be real? I know you’ve called me to preach...”
This isn’t a recollection from years ago... I’ve just described what happened a couple of months ago.
The first service went really well, and I was able to preach with an open and clear heart. We had “amens” from the congregation and people walked up to me to share that God had spoken through the passage. What a blessing from God.
But the next service was the opposite. I bounced around in my notes and had a hard time knowing what I was supposed to say next. I lost my place and skipped a page. My countenance had “fallen,” and I was ready to just go home. A lady even came up to me after the second service to say she was worried, and that I seemed off.
I’m not sharing this for pity, or to scare you, or to turn preaching into a man-centered task for attention. I’m sharing this to be open and honest. I love you all and want to share my life with you... not just a fake presentation of what I wish were true.
Preaching is my heart’s desire, my calling, and my vocation. I know you have callings and vocations that are important to you, and that’s our connection.
Have you ever been discouraged from how life was going, upset at your failure or bad performance?
That is a weakness in my flesh. I find myself tempted to find value in what I do and how good or bad I do it. And, even though I don’t want to voice it, my greatest insecurities surround my abilities to preach and make disciples. (Could a lead pastor have a more inconvenient weakness?!)
Yet, God is so close to me in those moments. After I went home that afternoon and went to Him in prayer, He graciously reminded me of the truth: “It’s not about you; it’s not about you; it’s not about you. Your identity is not found in your performance or perception.”
He used my recent reading in Colossians to affirm these truths. My identity is in Christ... not my abilities or failures. What I do matters; but it doesn’t determine my relationship with Him.
He’s the Father I always needed. The Lord I could never deserve. The Friend who comforts and empowers me to believe and pursue the truth.
He speaks to me through His Word, and He speaks to my heart without words (Romans 8:26). He’s even humorous sometimes... I think it’s because He knows how much I enjoy laughter.
This Sunday we will continue our study in 1 Corinthians 12. God designed us to work together, and I pray that He fills our hearts with joy as we receive His Word.
I love you, Grace.