Sometimes I Wish You Knew

I define myself with clear priorities. I am first and foremost a follower and disciple of Jesus Christ, a born again child of God. I’m also a husband to an awesome wife, and a Dad to a wonderful daughter. Then I’m a Pastor to a great church. Sometimes I’m also a web and graphic designer. I love all of these realms of life and appreciate the people I’ve come to know in each.

As a Pastor, and I’m sure other church leaders will identify with what I’m about to write, I can say that there is tremendous pressure that few people realize. I don’t talk about it much but felt the need to clear my heart this morning. I hope you’ll appreciate the transparency here.

A congregation of a couple hundred people wait for me to speak each week. Right now, I’m speaking five times per week: two Sunday morning services, an evening service, a Tuesday morning Men’s Bible study, and Wednesday nights. I try not to acknowledge it much, but there is the pressure to be thoroughly studied and prepared to deliver a message with excellence and passion every time up. This is how it should be.

Families count on me to provide counsel. I have couples whose marriages I can’t seem to fix, people in financial need I can’t always provide for, and people dealing with huge questions and struggles for which I can’t always come up with an answer. I love them all and on a week with an intense amount of needs (like this one), I feel emotionally drained and exhausted. This is how it should be. No complaints.

A staff and organization waits on me for vision, direction, and leadership. Multiple ministry leaders need my input about spending money, starting projects, placing volunteers, and taking care of business in general. Tension in relationships is brought to me. I’m the leader, and I gladly accept it all. I love it. It’s how it should be.

All of these folks are not only looking for teaching, wisdom, leadership, and counsel, but for me to live my life as a godly example, walking with Christ. I must keep my walk and my mind clean. I must be prayed up and Spirit-filled. My message on Sunday needs to be the incarnation of my life throughout the week. And yes, this is exactly how it should be. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

But sometimes I want you to know that I’m weak. Sometimes I want you to know I cry at the end of a counseling session when I couldn’t fix a problem. Sometimes I want you to know I get to Saturday night and think of all the people I didn’t get to, that needed serving. I want you to know that sometimes I go home and think I did a pitiful job of presenting the Word. I want you to know I don’t feel capable or adequate sometimes.

Sometimes I just want you to know I’m not always the super-confident and ultra-positive guy I am when my task is to inspire others. I want you to know that while I’m hoping to help everyone else with the issues of their life, I still long for another child God hasn’t chosen to bless us with yet… I’m patiently waiting on God, but it hurts sometimes.

Sometimes I really need somebody to know just how weak I am so that the pressure will be off. And I think thousands of other ministry leaders are probably dying on the inside to say the same thing.

But here’s what I want you to know, even more than how weak I am – it’s just how strong God is. Paul did battle with some infirmity, either physical or spiritual, and begged God to just take it away. God’s answer was “no” on at least three different occasions. What did Paul learn from God’s denial?

Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 ESV

When I am weak, God shines. When I am weak, I’m finally available to bring glory to God instead of myself. When I am weak, others see themselves and what God can do in, around, and through a weakling like me. This is definitely how it should be. It’s my calling, and I gladly and humbly accept it.

God has chosen to take “earthen vessels” (okay, cracked pots) and the “base things” of the world to absolutely confound the mighty and to carry His perfect and powerful message. He’s not looking for superstars, but for weaklings… like me.

I’m not complaining. In fact, I haven’t really been through much compared to the apostles and martyrs of history, and especially in comparison with Jesus’ suffering, so I gladly accept this calling and responsibility. I gladly take the pressure for the kingdom’s sake. I just wanted you to know how I feel sometimes, and how much I praise and appreciate God’s strength and power to see me through.

I wonder, do you ever feel weak like me? I can tell you all about the One who makes the difference.


Update, October 14, 2015: 

I wrote this post six and a half years ago in the middle of one of the deepest valleys I’ve ever lived through. I was struggling with depression (though I didn’t realize it for a year or so), frustrated with leadership, walking with my wife through secondary infertility, and headed for burnout.

Today, my soul is healthy (thanks to repentance, counseling, a sweet wife and good friends), as is my marriage, we’ve added two wild and awesome boys to the mix, and I get to lead a wonderful, grace- and joy-filled church. But I talk regularly to pastors all over the place who struggle with this inner turmoil.

You’re not alone. Someone does know. I understand. But way better, Jesus understands, and offers himself to you as the ultimate refuge and best friend. Keep leaning into him, into your spouse and friends, and into the Word.

Click here to read an important follow-up post with some hope to offer!

 

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About the Author

I'm Brandon. I'm the Lead Pastor of Grace Hills Church in Northwest Arkansas, which my wife, Angie, and I planted in January of 2012. I previously served as a Pastor at Saddleback Church and still manage Pastor Rick Warren's online, global ministry to pastors, Pastors.com. I also lead a blog about blogging, a blog about social media, and a blog about men's issues. And I've written a book - Rewired, which challenges the church to adopt social media to spread the good news about Jesus. I sometimes take on church website design projects and I coach pastors and leaders as well. I'd love to hear from you!
8 Responses
  1. Danny Kirk, Pastor

    Brandon,

    I cannot completely identify with you for my schedule is not as full or as busy, yet I do know the feelings of inadequacies for the tasks before me. Thanks for reminding me of God's sufficiency. This is my prayer for you:

    And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.

    2 Cor 9:8 (NKJV)

  2. Brandon

    By the way John, I love this phrase… "ability to mix design and divine." Gonna have to use that sometime! Thanks!

  3. Thanks for the honesty. I think we too easily tend to want to believe our pastors should be “super Christians” who have all the answers and everything figured out. What we really need is a leader who is humble enough to admit their mistakes and set the example of a person fully dependent on God for everything.

  4. Brother, I appreciate what you've written in this blog entry. It sums up so much of what we as preachers/pastors experience that the average person never sees. Not that we are out there begging for them to see it, but like you said sometimes we just want them to know these things.

    It has oft been said that were God guides, He provides. This is so true. Sometimes He guides us into what seems to be the insurmountable, and it is — without us being utterly weakened and Him being ultimately glorified.

    Keep up the great work, Brandon. I've grown fond of your writing, your passion, your ministry philosophy and your love of our Lord.

    Tom Fellows’s last blog post..Just A Note On My Blogging Madness

  5. tori

    Hi Brandon,

    We’re all just people searching to be important in some way to feel wanted and accepted. I myself am always searching for the right things to say and to act and I'm just a student of christ, I appreciate the pastor I have and the many pastors I've had before him. We’re all wanting to do better for God. I'm constantly in a battle with myself and letting Satan get the best of me but I haven't given up, Jesus continues to love and give us will to go on. It's not easy to say the least but by his grace we have a purpose to spread his word and shine his love on others. Keep up the good and faithful work you are doing, God richly blesses those who believe. I've come to realize that with many a struggle but he is so good and will see us through.

    God Bless.

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