I think most of us hope and believe at the end of all things we will hear “well done My good and faithful servant.”
But what if we’re in for is hearing the words “You’re done.”
In other words, you ran a race, you crossed the line, but there’s not much else to say.
We flatter ourselves – wait, let me reframe this: I flatter myself that the words Paul hoped to hear could possibly also be applied to me. I’m done with flattery.
I’m in a dark place. It feels like I’m done. A lot has been removed or taken away. College ministry – gone. The Core – gone. Teaching on Sunday – gone. My career – gone (see last post). I try to discern what God is doing.
What if what he’s doing is just taking things away because my faithfulness wasn’t enough? My efforts weren’t enough? My gifting wasn’t enough? I am not enough?
My time may be running out. What I’ve “accomplished” in my life may already be written down. This is it. And it wasn’t all that impressive. More fear than boldness. More dithering than duty. More safety-nets than faith.
I don’t know. And I don’t know why these dark thoughts are overtaking me. Maybe it’s because it’s what I would banish myself to if I were God.
It’s a good thing I’m not God.
In the meantime, I’m going to be stewing on this for awhile. Sitting in the ashes of my own inadequacy. Knowing I’ve never been enough, never will be enough, and am barely able to support the dreams that my family has, at this point. It’s like I’ve run out of usefulness but I don’t have the resources to be actually done yet. I have to keep motoring on, on three wheels.
Hoping the Lord either knocks some sense and grace into my head or helps me face up to this and take some better steps in the short time I have left to actually do anything useful.
I’m a mess.
There is no “morning bus ride” because of the pandemic, but I can still post (it has been awhile).
It was a hard week. Hard because I had a revelation this week and I’m still digesting it. On the bright side, I survived another round of layoffs at work. The thought of even complaining or lamenting at all during this time when I am relatively healthy and employed is almost obscene. There is so much bright side.
But on the perhaps also bright but right now it looks dark side, I also had a revelation. It was spurred by the fact that, while surviving the layoff, I was also removed from a leadership position at work. I was made an “individual contributor”. When I asked why, the response was terse and to the point. As a leader I have difficulty bringing things to completion.
So, my career is over. I am starting a new career at the same company as an individual contributor. I’ve always been a good individual contributor so there is reason for hope. I love doing the technical, individual work. I will not miss the management side of things. I’ll be keeping my head down, trying to add value, and trying to put myself in a position to survive the next round of layoffs. But the old career is over, and I was unsuccessful.
Now, for the revelation. I think this is from God. I believe God has been shouting this at me for several decades now.
I am not a leader.
I am a teacher. I am even a shepherd. But I am not a leader. I am never going to lead anyone to success. I am never going to “grow a ministry”. I am never going to be highly respect-able.
I am not a leader.
So, what now? A few things I hope to start doing.
- Quit bellyaching
- Be a teacher (albeit, I can’t really even do that right now in the pandemic, but those days will come again).
- Be a shepherd if ever given the opportunity to do that again.
- Quit fretting about respect. I am deeply loved. That should be enough. There has always been that elusive desire to be loved *and* respected. That desire needs to die. Everything isn’t about me.
- Be a very good follower, be a very good contributor, and hopefully (God willing) I’ll get a chance to show I can do those things for an extended period of time.
- If I can’t, and I don’t survive the next round of layoffs, or I lose my job for another reason, God is still there. God loves me. He knows my family needs provision. Keep the faith.
- Side note: regarding seminary – I have been on a break for the past few 8 week modules. I need to determine when to start up again. But I also need to determine *why* to start up again. I don’t think I will ever be a pastor, and I believe that I probably shouldn’t be a pastor (since pastors are leaders and I’m not a leader). Need to begin earnestly praying through this.
- Learn what it means to serve.
I may start posting more here again. Just writing this out helped. Today is a new day. Very thankful to still be employed.