Forget About What You Deserve

Have you ever felt you should be in a different place? I’m not talking country or even an emotional state. What I am speaking about is accomplishments.

You have dreams. You have skills. You were told you were going to be the best—a champ—and take the world by storm. Yet, here you are, what seems like miles away from where you thought you should be.

I wonder if you think we are all going to rise from obscurity because of the day and age we live in. It’s a world where Microsoft and Apple, companies started in garages, revolutionize the world. It’s an age of reality-show fame, where ordinary folks like Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood can become big stars. It’s a world where Justin Beiber is discovered on Youtube, and a 6-year-old starts a media empire by reviewing toys.

This world has set us up to think that we all can be “more.”

Are they wrong? Well, maybe yes and maybe no. Sure, everyone deserves the opportunity to become great, whatever that means. Yes, you were created with purpose and intention. But no, there is nothing that promises you notoriety or fame. That’s what it means. We want someone to see us. For this, we need to define ourselves by who Christ says we are. For that topic, I’ll point you to my book.

The one thing you deserve, no matter who you are, is to work hard.

Not everyone is going to see your potential, and that’s okay. Everyone isn’t going to be your fan, which you better come to grips with pretty quickly.

Think of Albert Einstein for a moment. This man achieved great success in his field. He won the Noble prize for his law of photo electric effect and came up with arguably the most recognizable equation in theoretical physics, E=MC2. However, It is hindsight. Though he was a good student, he was the only one from his section of the graduating class not offered a job. He could have given up, but instead, he got a job with the Swiss patent office and continued to work hard.

Think of Moses. The man was raised to achieve greatness, yet it was squandered in a fit of righteous indignation. I wonder if while tending his Midianite flock if he was ever down on himself. I’m sure we wouldn’t look at a murdering shepherd and think, “Wow, there’s a revolutionary leader.”

Think also of Jesus’ disciple Peter? This is a man with chronic foot-in-mouth, who’s only moments of bravery was exercised when he was in a crowd, and who appeared to follow the crowd. We certainly wouldn’t have pegged him as the Christian revolutionary that he was.

More important than whether others see your potential or not is that you are the type of person who once that potential is seen, is worthy of the praise.

We need to become people of humility and love. We need to be ones who are quick to praise and slow to criticize. We need to be willing to see and lift up the potential of others and not be scared of being overshadowed.

Whether you achieve your goals, become successful, or miss the mark on it all, it is not the real prize. The real prize is the adventure you get to take while working hard and trying your best. It is the experiences you get to have along the way. It is about the people and the God you get to grow in a relationship with as you struggle and stretch alone this life.

You only have one. Don’t waste it in a sea of misery thinking you should be somewhere else than you are. Take a lesson from Einstein, work hard where you’re at. Take a lesson from Moses; be willing to go when you are called. Take a lesson from Peter and seize your opportunities when they are given.

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Tears for my people

Wednesday morning I read the news that Jarrid Wilson, Pastor and advocate, took his own life. He is one in a recent string of Pastor’s being overwhelmed and ending it all.

As I read I wept.

I wept for his church and friends. I wept for his parents, wife, and kids.

But mostly I wept for all the other Pastors out there that feel like Jarrid.

Jeremiah 9 reads

“I wish my head were a well of water
and my eyes fountain of tears
So I could weep day and night
for casualties among my dear, dear people.”

Pastors are my people. As Pastor Greg Laurie, Senior Pastor of Jarrid’s church soberly points out,

“At the end of the day, pastors are just people who need to reach out to God for His help and strength, each and every day,”

I weep for them because I know what it is like. In fact, I have never spoken about it publically or privately, with the exception of my wife. For nearly two years, with increasing regularity, waves of seemingly insurmountable hopelessness overwhelm me. It takes everything within not to stay there. There are moments I fear I will.

More and more I’m finding my peers, whether only in waves or as a life long struggle, feel much the same.

We suffer in silence.

After all, it’s a nice sentiment that we should be able to be open. What if we were though? Would others still allow us to carry their burdens with them, as pastors do, or would they decide not to contribute to the weight and bear it on their own?

Would it compromise the receptivity to our message that Jesus has come to bring us the fullness of life, hope, and love that surpasses all the anguish?

How does someone like me, an author of a book all about finding our identity in Christ, admit this type of feeling without the vital message I believe God has given me losing credibility?

However, we must.

We must talk about it. Despite the consequences (which I believe should only be good) we must talk about it.

We can pontificate the reasons why this feeling is so prevalent, and while important, in the long term we must yield to something greater. Pastors and all people of faith need to band together and hold each other up.

Just because we know hopes name, it does mean it’s always on our lips. There are times when the worries of life push it away.

Health, family, the past, our vices, work. I’ve been there, and I know how easy it is to let it push hope aside.

This is exactly why we must stick together. We must hold each other up. It is imperative that we speak our pain and help each other carry it. We must know we are not alone and that we are not wrong.

This world does leave us wanting, hollow, and barren. It is only Christ who gives life, hope, and liberty, but that doesn’t mean we will not be overcome. After all, many of the Bibles most prominent characters felt this way.

Moses, David, and Jonah are three of the many who asked God to take their life. Not to mention Samson who did take his life. Yet every single is listed in Hebrews 11 in what we call the Hall of faith. They are men of which it is said, “…whose weakness was turned to strength…” (Heb 11:34).

As we stand together helping each other stand with God, we can have faith that our weakness will be turned to strength. How? When? That’s the mystery, but that doesn’t negate the truth. What it means is that we must stand with each other because if the Scriptures tell us anything, it is that those who struggle are not abandoned by God, but are primed for God to use.

Brothers and sisters who are fighting for the kingdom of love–the kingdom of God–who are also fighting for their lives, you are not alone.

When we weep, let us weep together.