I’m often asked how I’ve managed to last in the ministry? My cursory answer is something like, “Fortunate and very blessed I guess.” But really there’s more to it and that’s what I want to share about in this series of posts
Keeping It Real
I don’t have anything brilliant or novel to offer, just some basic main and plain things I’ve stuck to. The reason I think many people in the ministry become casualties is because they never learned how to live everyday life. Like the old saying, they become so heavenly minded they’re no earthly good. But this can be avoided. No one did more earthly good than the man from heaven, Jesus. As heavenly as he was, he was comfortable in his own human skin and at home living life in the real world around him. This has become very important to me as well.
One of the ways I’ve gone about this is by trying to always keep it real. I’ve been able to be myself which is not as easy as it may seem in a profession where people heap their expectations of what a pastor-person is supposed to act like, look like, talk like on you. They mean well. We pastors buy it because we aim to please! But not being yourself can wear you out and make you miserable.
Remember the story of young David going out to fight Goliath in Saul’s armor? What worked for Saul didn’t work for David. It didn’t fit him! It wasn’t him. David was a sling shot sort of guy. Big heavy broad swords and clunky body armor weren’t his style. It might have worked for Saul but not for David. Fortunately David was able to be honest, speak up, be himself and do it his way.
I was never the polished, strongman-type leader. I just don’t fit the mold. There has been plenty of pressure to try to be. I was told I had to if I ever wanted to be taken seriously. So I tried hard. I put on Saul’s armor but it didn’t fit. It wasn’t me. The more I tried the unhappier I became. I was much better at a “what you see is what you get” style that inspires trust and followership by being honest and open and real.
I’m not saying one style is better than the other. My point is that its important to stay true to yourself and the way God made you because it’s healthier and more God honoring than pretending to be someone you’re not.
John Wimber once told a group of us leaders to “find out who you are and you’ll know what you’re supposed to do and how to do it.” When I finally admitted that Saul’s armor didn’t fit me, it freed me to discover the leader I really was. By keeping it real I became healthier, happier and more helpful over the long haul.