My friend drove to Waco the other day from a city located several hours from here. He has been living and working in this city for a number of years. Now he is about to move. He will be living in a new city, a new state, and will be working in a new role in ministry. For several hours, we discussed some of the practical aspects of that role.
He asked me some wonderful questions. I tried to be very honest. At one point, he asked me a question to which I gave this answer: "I haven’t done that very well. I wish I had done better."
There was a time when I probably would not have been that candid. I probably would have minimized any weakness. Yet, the other day, I didn’t feel threatened by my answer. Maybe it is because I am at a point in life where I am less concerned with how I might appear or be perceived than whether or not I am being an authentic person in Christ.
I am also learning to embrace my humanness. Staring face to face at my weakness, incompleteness, inadequacy, and mistakes is a reminder that only in Christ am I complete. Hopefully, that signals a shift toward wrestling with internal issues instead of being focused on external appearances.
Jim Herrington, R. Robert Creech, and Trish Taylor write in their excellent book, The Leader’s Journey, the following:
None of us took on the sacrificial demands of leadership expecting to be buried in endless meetings and administrative details. We wanted meaningful ministry, supported by a rich and purposeful life, full of significance. Instead, we sometimes find ourselves busier than ever but going through the motions, with an emptiness clinging to our best efforts…. We may not be aware that what we crave is a supernatural transformation.
In his book Soulshaping, Douglas Rumford captures the essence of our dilemma: "Our search for something more out of life usually begins with externals…. We’ve confused activity with effectiveness, holding certain positions or titles with personal prestige, accumulating money with security, and sexual encounter with genuine intimacy. We’ve been so caught up in these pursuits that we haven’t really considered what goals we were chasing — and what will happen when we actually catch them!"
(Jim Herrington, R. Robert Creech, and Trisha Taylor, The Leader’s Journey, p. 130)