When I doubt

After dropping my son Joshua off at school this morning, per my normal routine, I headed to the gym to lift some weights and get in 60 minutes of cardio. It felt great to work up a sweat and to get oxogen pumping into my muscles after three consecutive nights of leading Mosaic Community Groups. I LOVE getting to worship, pray, and open scripture with people Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday night, but I’m often pretty emotionally spent by Friday, when I typically do a couple one-on-one discipleship meetings.

So heading to the gym before doing those discipleship appointments is essential for me to get into a good place mentally, physically, and spiritually. While I’m at the gym, I like to either listen to an audio book or another pastor’s sermon while I’m doing cardio, so I can exercise my mind and soul as I work my body. (You’d probably be surprised what I listen to when lifting weights :-))

This morning after listening to a few chapters of an audio book about pastoral work, I decided to watch the online service of one of the largest churches in the Midwest. It was a great service! Inspiring music, creative video work, and a vision-casting talk about taking the news of Jesus to the ends of the World.

As I listened to their lead pastor talk about all the great things their church is doing and all the amazing things they are going to do in the next couple of years, this thought hit me like punch to the gut: “Look how successful and amazing they are. What you are doing is NOTHING in comparison. What is even the point of a small church?”

It took me a while to realize that thought didn’t originate from me. I needed to rebuke that thought and do what the Apostle Paul tells us to do in 2 Corinthians 10:5– take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. I had to remind myself of  Zechariah 4:10– “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.”

You know what? That gigantic empire of a church is doing good work. They might be a little too similar to the Roman or Babylonian empire for my taste, but they ARE spreading the good news of Jesus. I have to remind myself that I haven’t been called to the way of Empire. I have been called to the way of Jesus and a life of service. A life of washing feet and sharing meals and making disciples.

This song by Pat Barrett has been wrecking me lately (in a good way):

When I doubt it, Lord, remind me

I’m wonderfully made

You’re an artist and a potter

I’m the canvas and the clay

And I know nothing has been wasted

No failure or mistake

You’re an artist and a potter

I’m the canvas and the clay

Pat Barrett, the Canvas and the Clay 

(Check it out! This song has been on repeat for me all week long).


My prayer this morning went something like this:

When I doubt myself, when I doubt my calling, when I doubt my ability to lead and pastor and shepherd, Jesus please remind me I’m wonderfully made. I’m the canvas and the clay and you are the artist. When I feel like I’m just “too much” for some people, remind me I’m wonderfully made. When people leave our church to go sit under a different pastor and I feel inadequate and insecure, remind me I’m wonderfully made. When I get discouraged and start to doubt that people want anything more than just a great Sunday “product”, please remind me that “You make all things work together for Your glory and for Your name” and that “you’re not finished with me yet.”


And I know nothing has been wasted

No failure or mistake

You’re an artist and a potter

I’m the canvas and the clay

I don’t know what doubts and discouragement you might be facing this morning, but ultimately I know that God knows ALL that you are going through. And in those doubts and discouragement, I want to encourage you to take those to Jesus. And ask him to remind you that nothing has been wasted, no failure or mistake. He’s the artist and he’s making something beautiful in us, among us, and through us.

Grace and Peace my friends,
Erik

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