Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Self-Imposed Pink Slip

(I wrote this blog originally for my friend's Pastor Ben and Jessica Miller from Redemption World Outreach Center in Asheville, NC)

Yep. Every pastor and leader goes through it.....You deliver yourself the PINK SLIP.

Something happens on Sunday. There is anticipation and anxiety on delivering a great Sunday Worship Experience in which people are transformed. We pray all week. We prepare messages, worship sets and ministries for this impact. Somehow, no matter how good Sundays are you still have this “hangover.” I believe it is a combination of the anointing and adrenaline. It also is when expectation marries reality.
I quit every Monday. Really. I go through the “holy hangover.”

You may or may not be a pastor, but you have these hangovers too. Whenever expectation and reality collide, you will have a hangover emotionally. This may be true of your marriage, job or perhaps ministry. You probably had or still have lofty expectations of all of the above. The problem comes when we allow discouragement to linger and learning to have “right” expectations. I have lofty expectations. That is my downfall. I am too hard on myself and expect too much of myself. This causes my crash most times.

Here are my daily reminders about Discouragement:
1. Discouragement is a matter of perspective.
Get advice from people who have a better perspective. Have people who are “God in skin.” Allow mentors and trusted friends to speak into your life. The greatest perspective is God’s perspective. As you are reading His Word, take time to listen and journal what you feel God saying.

2. Discouraging times are part of natural seasons of life. There is no one who ever avoided discouragement. However, you cannot let discouragement debilitate you. I had a mentor who told me you can go through discouragement, but don’t be discouraged. One is a passing season while the other is a state of mind/being. Prepare mentally for discouraging situations. This may sound weird, but you cannot be blindsided. That is the test of maturity. Don’t be na├»ve and think you are the exception. This form of arrogance allows discouragement to feed.

3. Discouragement is deadly when combined with exhaustion. I love the Snickers commercial that says, “You are not you when you are hungry.” I believe the same can be compared to discouragement. You are not yourself when you are exhausted. I remember this young, arrogant guy at college that told me, “Day off? Dude, we are so busy doing Kingdom work that we can’t take a day off.” I responded, “Wow, you guys are doing it much different than Jesus and God Himself. They both took days off. I am glad you are not on my staff. You would take a day off or turn in resignations.” Needless to say, we are not Facebook friends. And that church does not exist today. Pastor Tracy Reynolds often says, “Come apart (and rest) or you will come apart.”

Don’t let unreal expectations come in and cause discouragement. This has been the biggest lesson in church planting I have learned. I am called to be faithful and prepare the best worship experience I can. God brings people. I cannot control people. And…. people are people. The one key I use to fight discouragement is to look upon the providence and sovereignty of God. Remember, God is ultimately in charge of all the results. You can gain encouragement when you thank Him for the results He has produced. You can gain encouragement when you pause and say, “Our Father who is in the heavens….” He is your loving Father and He is in the heavens. He is seated on the throne. As Ron Carpenter jr., has said before, “Has it ever occurred to you that nothing occurs to God?”
Yep. I quit every Monday. I just have to start back every Tuesday.