Matthew 25:18, 24-25 “But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money…’Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.'”
Sometimes overcoming fear means doing nothing. Today I find that God is asking me to trust His plan and overcome my fears by doing nothing…at least nothing new. Let me explain.
In December of 2011 I completed a Masters in Ministry degree at Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington. Throughout the program a recurring theme kept surfacing; the theme was repeated to me by several professors, classmates, and my counselor (it was quite strange to keep hearing the same advice from these varied and independent sources). The theme: “Stop doing, and just be.”
Can you imagine more difficult advice for an anxious perfectionist with a need to win other people’s approval? But there it was, and I kept hearing it over and over from different people in my life: “Stop doing, and just be.”
Today I had a conversation with a good friend of mine who is also a pastor at my church. We talked mainly about my future in ministry: Whether I could see myself in an Executive Pastor role (the 2nd in command of a church), or if I felt called by God to be a Lead Pastor. It was a difficult conversation for me because I don’t have a good answer to that question. My friend also intimated that an Executive Pastor role was opening up at a church near my office; might I be interested?
I came home and prayed (I have prayed on this subject many times over the past four months) and spent time reading 1 and 2 Timothy (letters from the Apostle Paul to his pastoral protegé). After a prayerful afternoon I’m no closer to an answer to the Executive vs. Lead Pastor question or knowing whether this open position is right for me. This brings me to my Day 2 post.
I am a people-pleasing perfectionist with performance anxiety (no, not that kind) and there is a part of me that is deathly afraid I’ll die a nobody; that I will go through life without accomplishing anything of note; that I will be the 3rd man in the parable quoted at the start of this post. There is a part of me which feels I desperately need to do something to avoid this fate. This part of me wants to call my friend and say, “Executive or Lead Pastor, I don’t care, just give me a shot.” But if I’m honest I will admit that this kind of half-cocked behavior has cost me dearly in the past. So as difficult as it is for me, and though my faulty logic screams for action, today I must overcome my fear of dying a nobody by doing nothing. Trust me, it’s harder than it sounds.