The Skywalker Letters #4

So…Young Jedi-Knight,

Here.  Let me say it to you, just in case you have any lingering delusional thoughts.  YOU’RE NOT PERFECT. Not even close. And even though you are comfortably nodding with agreement, there is a near-fatal flaw in your character.  

And trust me. I would know this.

You want to be perfect.  You expect to be perfect.  You will beat yourself up over the mistakes you will make.  You will be your own worst enemy. You will stay up nights obsessing over decisions you wish you hadn’t made.  You will second guess your words, your actions, your motives, and your effort.

You will come up short.  You will fail miserably. Your reputation will take hits. Your character will be called into question. But you will still think you should be perfect.  You will make choices that put you at odds with people you care deeply about. You will make promises you break.  There will be times you forget…appointments, commitments, texts, emails, requests, and conversations. You will be constantly reminded you’re not perfect.

Your sermons will fall on deaf ears.  Your counsel will be ignored. Your hard work will often go unnoticed.  You will wonder what people are saying behind your back. (Your fears are probably true, btw…)  

Kids will walk away from God.  People will leave the church. Programs will fail.  Other pastors will knock you…sometimes right to your face.  For real.

Sometimes you will say things that wound people you love, even though that was never your intent.  Your teaching will be misunderstood and possibly rub people the wrong way. You will try to make it right, but only dig the hole deeper.  Your imperfections will be magnified…even in your own eyes.

You will be judged and maligned.  And all along, your worst critic will be you.

And because all of this is true about you…and you still care and you still want to give your best and you pick yourself up after you fall and you don’t give up, but continue to believe it is still worth it even when you make messes of things…

…in my book, this is where your calling to a life of serving is confirmed.

I’ve always been amazed by people who weather criticism well.  I’ve even admired people (a little) who simply shake off their mistakes or the unfair judgment of others like water off a duck’s back.  I’m not that guy. And in my opinion, most pastors worth their salt as shepherds aren’t those guys, either.

I care.  So shoot me.

So here’s a hard life-lesson for today, one much easier said than done:  Since the voices of your world will be loud and sometimes painful…yours included…make sure you are filling yourself with the words God says about you.

There will be no adequate substitute for His voice of reason and majestic declarations of value given to your life. 

The only way to counter statements of defeat, failure, loss, judgment, and criticism is with words of love, grace, hope, compassion, forgiveness and worth.  And the only consistent source of that kind of good is from the only One whose image we truly bear.

March on.

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