It’s almost been six months since we launched Life Mission Church. It has been the most exciting and amazing thing that I have ever experienced and been a part of. It has been the most rewarding and challenging thing I have ever been a part of. And it has been the most faith building thing I have ever been a part of. I could go on forever just about those things, but as our Six Month Anniversary approaches (July 6), I want to share with you a few things that I have learned as I reflect upon the last six months of this adventure.
I’ve always known a lot of things about myself: I’m an introvert, I’m sentimental and nostalgic, I’m a perfectionist, I’m a thinker, I like looking down the road and figuring out how to get there, I like to build things (projects, songs, sermons, people, theology, etc.), and the list goes on. In the last 6 months I’ve seen how important all of those are, and the way they have been invaluable strengths for me in following this call to lead, and yet I’ve also seen some of the ways they bring challenges for me.
Though I’m very much still trying to get in a good, healthy and efficient rhythm (in other words, Stella is still trying to get her groove back), I’ve also simultaneously never felt so perfectly fit for the role in which God has placed me in. I’m shockingly …”comfortable” isn’t the right word, because there isn’t much comfortable about this role, but for lack of a better word, I’ll say that I’m shockingly comfortable with the idea that God has called me into this. I’ve never felt so perfectly fit for a particular role. Though I have a lot more need and room for tremendous growth in all areas, I’ve never felt so properly placed.
Though, like I said, I’m still trying to find a good footing, pacing, and trying to hone in my leadership style based on my values, convictions, personality, and vision, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how God has used so many things in my life that I thought would be hindrances, but would actually be strengths. It has been so true that “in my weakness, I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12.10) I am amazed; it’s so easy to believe all the doubt and fear, whether it comes from our own self or from others, but it never ceases to amaze me when you plant yourself on God’s truth and wisdom in His decisions, will, and planning.
For instance, I thought that being an introvert would prove to be a major challenge in this role. Granted, it has its challenges, but the challenges are different than you might think, and the strengths far outweigh them. I love being an introvert, I’m thankful for it, and I wouldn’t change it for the world (though I have not always felt that way). I’m encouraged, even, to read of some of my favorite pastors, leaders, and teachers, both in the church and outside of the church, that speak of their love (and their challenges) of being an introvert (for you Meyers-Briggs fans, I sit on a razor’s edge between INTJ and INFJ), and how it has been a tremendous blessing to the church. From John Piper and Sam Storms, C.S. Lewis and C.H. Spurgeon, Matt Chandler and Mark Driscoll, JFK, U.S. Grant, and Willy Wonka, I get to share a commonality with these and many others that give me absolutely no reason to not grow into more effective and fruitful leadership, and as a matter of fact, it gives me every reason to not make excuses and do so.
I love challenges, I love figuring things out, and I can be stubborn/persevering (depending on the attitude of my heart!), and so I look forward to figuring out more and more how to use the strengths God has given me, as well as how to work on the corresponding weaknesses. I’m thankful for gracious people in my life who lovingly point out my weaknesses, come alongside me, and pick up where I am weak (you know who you are!).
I’ve learned to love knowing both my strengths and my weaknesses. Notice, however, that I didn’t say I love my weaknesses, but I love knowing them. It helps me and helps others know what to expect, which only makes the pursuit of vision and goals become that much more attainable. That’s what I get excited about, because, as a pastor, a friend, a husband, a dad, and a believer, I have a lot of goals, and I have a very big and specific vision for myself and all the people I love, and I am thankful to be ever-increasingly aware of what will limit us from reaching that intended preferred future. And by God’s grace, His power will continue to be made known through my weakness as He uses the foolish things to confound the wise (2 Corinthians 12.9, 1 Corinthians 1.27) .
Do you know your strengths, weaknesses and limitations?
Do you have people in your life who pick up where you are weak?
Do you have people in your life who have the “right” to speak into your life?
Do they know, and believe, that they have that right?
Let them know afresh, as soon as you can, that they have that right. Don’t assume they know it.
Do you make it a priority and plan to enable yourself to do the things you are strong at?