15 May 2010
I felt compelled to be a little transparent with my ongoing story in this entry, as I’m hoping God will use it to encourage someone to lean into Jesus Christ with authenticity and lay hold of him to find their stability.
I’m 33 and entering another phase of life. I’ve had a few realizations this last week about how radical of a transition I’m in, not just because I’m in the process of planting a church for the first time but more because of the quiet deeper work God is doing in me. When I was 15 I remember the daily struggle and internal wrestling of trying to figure out who I was amidst the sea of teens fighting for their identity in school; jocks, druggies, players, churchy-types, goths, and loners. I remember the constant wonderment “where do I fit, am I any of those things?” Insecurity and identity has been a lifelong theme and a point of spiritual work in my life. I remember buckling under the pressure once as the quarterback in high school during a key game. The overwhelming eyes and expectations to be a star, to lead the team, to wow everybody caused me to fold and even look like I forgot how to throw the football. I’ve been a youth pastor for 14 years now, traveled throughout NY/PA as a speaker and counseled many marriages and families into health. You’d think I’d find my confidence by now. I’ve read great books “Abba’s Child” by Brennan Manning, Henri Nouwen on identity in Christ, went through great counseling, received spiritual warfare but that disposition of self-assurance still seems to allude me. It surprises people that I wrestle with this but I still feel like that adolescent sometimes. I’ve actually had a passing thought over the years that this insecurity is a curse or a thorn in my flesh given to me by God, I’m not really sure that’s my reality but either way I thought it.
As I’m planting this church, knowing full well God has downloaded this vision into my being, I still wobble a little with fear that I will buckle under the expectations. My internal ongoing discipline is to wash my mind over with the truth that “I don’t have to fit in or live up to others expectations but instead I’m God’s beloved, his workmanship and I’m secure in him.” As I look at the ministry and dynamic kingdom work I’ve enjoyed I can’t help but see that the wind of God’s spirit has been at my back pushing me along and giving me progressive victory with what I’ve put my hands to.
I’ve always been a bit of an odd lad choosing to make my own way, pick up a little of this and little of that and then diving in to carve out a new path with excitement but trailing 2 steps behind me has always been Mr. Insecurity. I think this is why I’ve always found 1 and 2 Timothy so appropriate for me. Timothy is a young leader, struggling with confidence in the face of great challenges, older men and a new work. I’d like to think I’m more rooted in Christ than I’ve ever been, Colossians says “hidden in Christ”. I know one thing is true: it’s the only hope for this recovering 15 year old.