On my way home from church last week, I said to my wife, “For the first time in over 25 years, I don’t have something I’m passionate about! I’m really scared!” For the next 25 minutes on our ride home, my godly wife helped me climb down off the ledge and consider some good things about this “tweener” time. I put these forward as hypotheses, not facts. I’m still trying to figure it out.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of “passion” death,
1. I will fear no evil—for Thou art with me.
My wife gently reminded me that God is still in control and still loves me, and Philippians 1:6 still applies. God is not finished with me yet. Intellectually I know these things, but when I get scared, I sometimes get stupid. Many of us in church planting (and other leadership pursuits) are wired to lead with passion.
The question rings, “What if I never regain passion?” For me, the answer is, “I will probably regain passion, but even if I don’t, God is still with me.”
2. He makes me lie down in green pastures.
My wife, four mentors, my accountability partner, and several friends have said, “God is giving you a time of rest.” As church planters and leaders we have given the same advice to many others, but it’s hard to take our own medicine. For 28 years I have led at full speed ahead. I have had victories and defeats. I am learning to lie down.
Last Sunday afternoon, I took my two-year-old grandson for a walk to pick Queen Anne’s lace for his Grandma. Two weeks ago I helped my 13-year-old grandson learn to work hard at a physical task. Had I been rushing off to a meeting, I would have missed two delightful moments. My soul is being restored.
3. My cup overflows.
In this time of change, I have been bombarded with calls, emails, and other expressions of love. I am reveling in the relationships that have been built over the past 30 years. I am learning to stop and appreciate how many wonderful relationships I have.
4. You guide me in paths of righteousness.
Nature abhors a vacuum. I don’t like being passionless. My first response has been to fill my passion vacuum with the first thing that came along rather than wait for God to guide me in the right path.
Several opportunities have come my way. My first tendency is to jump, but God is teaching me to wait patiently.
As I stated at the top, I’m still trying to figure it out, but these are the things that are helping me walk through this time.