Someone recently told me I was not what they were looking for in a Pastor.
If I had heard that when I was 30 years old, I would have crawled onto a couch and cried myself to sleep. In those days, being a spiritual orphan was as natural as drinking water. Thank goodness, I am about to turn 42 and those days are far in my rear view mirror.
I've never met anyone who does not care what others think about them. Let's be honest, we all care to some degree what people say behind our backs and how we are perceived. As we grow and mature, we may not be obsessed with what others think, but on some level I do think we care. However, the longer I walk with Jesus, the more and more I am beginning to care much less.
Over the past year, God's theme for me has been this: Die well, give all of myself to Him, and get low. When you hear the word "death" it is rarely in a fond light. I've always thought that way until now. As the lord has spoken "death" over me this past year, it has not been in a sadistic way at all. It's simply been a reminder that nothing is about me, everything is about Him, and the call of my life is to die to myself well.
As I am learning to die to myself well, I am starting to notice a dramatic difference in my heart towards people who are not for me or who may not even like me at all. My response is beginning to look very different than it used to. Instead of being hurt and offended, compassion is rising up in my heart for those people I am not pleasing to.
Jesus had one goal in life and that was to make a bee line to the cross. Jesus tells us to pick up our crosses and die to ourselves daily. As disciples, there is no other way. A person who is triggered or offended easily has not died yet. I hate to be so black and white but it is just the truth. It's not about me. It's not about you. Instead of this idea holding me in bondage it is actually setting me free.
As a leader, I let people down on a daily basis it seems. People tend to look at leaders as people who have the answer to many problems. The truth is that leaders are just as much in process as everyone else. For me, the key is realizing that I am not Jesus. I am Chad. A broken and wounded child of God who is doing the best I can to help with grace and dignity what He has called me to do.
Sometimes it just feels good to admit that although we love Jesus with all of our hearts, we are not Him. I am not called to carry burdens that only He can carry. The next time someone leaves what I am leading, i want to say from a pure heart, "Be blessed and may you fall deeply in love with the God of the Universe." To be in a place where it is impossible to be offended is perhaps one of the highest levels of spiritual maturity we can get to. Take me there, Lord Jesus.
May this be a reality in your own life as well.