Last Sunday was a mixed ministry bag for me. I have some moments I loved and some that left me scratching my head wondering if this is working at all. I've been in this place before, but it doesn't make this mental/emotional/spiritual trip here any more palpable this go around. The consequence of all that was that I had a grip of things on my brain today. So, while I did this random painting project for my kid's school, I spend some time pondering life and ministry.
In the process, I was reminded that the voice in my head is not the most accurate gauge of reality. Sometimes I'm content with stuff that is not good. Sometimes I'm in a funk about stuff that's really not that funky. Sometimes I see clearly. Sometimes I see fuzzy. There's enough variation inside me to confirm that I can't really trust the mirror to be an objective source of evaluation. I can try and convince myself I see thing unbiased and neutral, but it's not true... especially when the subject is me.
So as I thought about it, I was reminded of a couple of verses:
(Proverbs 26:5) "Do you see people who are wise in their own eyes? There is more hope for fools than for them.”
(Isaiah 5:21) “Destruction is certain for those who think they are wise and consider themselves to be clever.”Reading those verses again today in this season of ministry was a great reminder for me of the need for multiple voices and the power of community to help me sort out my sense of God's direction. It is clear that as I make changes and assess problems, there's a few others that I need to get involved and be the mirror for me. A team of people are a much more accurate reflection than my own eyes staring back at me will ever be. Here's my list of where I go for insight:
- PRAYER: I ask God for divine insight that only God can give. I ask God to speak to me about my issues and his plan.
- STUDENTS: I ask students for their feedback. I might grab someone who brought a visitor or a key student who I believe will give me honest feedback.
- VOLUNTEERS: I ask some volunteers in my ministry to tell me if my funk is their funk or if it's just a mirror thing. I ask them to confirm or disconfirm what I'm thinking seems right to them.
- COACHES: I go to a few hand selected friends and mentors. I tell them my situation, how I'm feeling, and the course of action I think I'm being called into and ask them to confirm it, caution it, or correct it.
- RESOURCES: I might read a book on the issue I'm wrestling with or seek one out that someone recommends, but sometimes a neutral voice I can trust can be found easiest by going to someone not in my community at all.