A couple of weeks ago I let my pastor read my post about him joining the chaplaincy. In his entire two-year pursuit with the military, I never shared my thoughts with him. I’m a very reserved person and public speaking isn’t my strongest ability. Unless I’m talking with a group of about 4 people, I usually keep quiet and listen. It’s not that I want to a quiet person. I just feel more comfortable in the background.
I was still a bit reluctant to let him read it, but I guess I wanted to let him know that I supported his decision and thought it was a great course of action for him, his ministry, and our church.
So he read it. His only comments were:
“It was good… Do you want to lead Sunday School when I’m gone?”
I put myself in a corner. I just let him read a post calling out people to step up and quit being pew potatoes, and my pastor just turned that back around to me. I’m always happy to help, but preferably not in front of a group of adults.
1. I’m still alive.
Yes, it’s true. I’m alive. I stood up in front of about 30 adults and lived. I was almost certain that I would live, but not entirely sure. When I was in college, I had an anxiety attack during a speech that caused me to miss the rest of the class so I could focus on not fainting. It might sound ridiculous, but I know I’m not alone.
2. My pastor is incredibly gracious.
My pastor is well aware that I am not a fan of public speaking. I mention that we only have 4 people who read Scripture on Sunday – I confess that I am not one of them. He does know that I love apologetics, so he let me choose a video to show during the class. He usually creates his own curriculum and teaches the Bible, but he didn’t make me do that. He let me lead the class with something I know.
3. Church family is incredibly gracious.
I think the classroom knew I was nervous. At least that’s what I’m telling myself. There’s usually quite a discussion during the class, but not this time! Sometimes I even found the silence more nerve-racking than the talking. Maybe I was just awful. But many people came up to me afterward and told me I did a good job. And I don’t think that they’d resort to lying to make me feel better.
4. It wasn’t that bad.
Even though I was nervous before the class and during the times when I had to speak, it wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been or how I expected it to be. I didn’t know what to expect. As I drove to church, all I kept telling myself was that in 90 minutes it would all be over.
5. I have to stay open to wherever the Lord needs me.
I didn’t want to lead Sunday school and I wouldn’t want to lead it again. And I didn’t even teach! Many of us say, “Lord, I’ll go wherever you need me and do whatever will grow your kingdom.” It’s an easy thing to say, but a hard thing to do because we tend to add our own conditions to our offer. But what are we doing when we add conditions? Aren’t we admitting that we only want to serve God for our kingdom and our glory? The truth is that I don’t want to stand in front of people because I don’t want to look like a fool. Looking like a fool would demolish my kingdom.
6. My reasonable excuses aren’t good reasons.
If I never stepped out and lead a Sunday school, I could always say, “Maybe next time. Not right now. I’m not ready. Try someone else.” I could always hide in my little bubble and never have to do anything because there would always be a reasonable excuse. Moses tried this very thing. Abram probably had a “good reason” to stop in Hebron instead of continuing to Canaan. But despite all the “good reasons,” God still got his way. Paul, on the other hand, had every excuse there could have been, but he kept going. The only good reason to stop service is that your heart is no longer pumping.
Jesus never said being a Christian would be easy. He didn’t promise it would be fun. He never promised that I’d enjoy it all the time. And He never promised that I’d get to stay in my comfort zone. What he did say can be summed up in 2 words: “Follow me.”
Wherever I’m needed. However I’m needed. Whenever I’m needed.
I must shape my life around Christ. Not the other way around. I must abandon excuses and forfeit my conditions.
Isn’t that the cost of being a Christian?