In the end, it doesn’t really matter.
You said, Ask and you will receive
Whatever you need
You said, Pray and I’ll hear from heaven
And I’ll heal your land
You said Your glory will fill the earth
Oh, Like water the seas
You said, Lift up your eyes
The harvest is here, the kingdom is near
I wish it didn’t hurt when God takes things away.
I wish it didn’t hurt, hearing the things you had to say.
I wish it didn’t hurt when everything seems to be pretty much gone.
I wish it didn’t hurt to be empty and alone.
I wish it didn’t hurt.
Two years ago, as I was preparing for missions in China I had come to an absurd conclusion that God loved to take things away from me:
this really hit me how much a blessing it is when God takes things away:
our sin: 1 John 1:9
our weakness: Isaiah 53:4
our sickness: Matthew 8:17
our exhaustion: Isaiah 40:30-31
our mourning: Psalm 30:11
our darkness: Psalm 27:1
our fear: Zephaniah 3:17
our tears: Isaiah 25:8 and,
our condemnation: Romans 5, Romans 8, John 3:17
That year it was a real struggle to understand loss. Losing at anything let alone losing anything is painful to my pride. That year I lost a lot. But in the midst of losing things I found myself losing myself over those very things that I had lost. Last year it happened too. And like clockwork, this year it’s the same. As I find so many things being drawn and taken away from myself, I can’t help but feel exhausted while fighting to keep them. It’s what I want. It’s what I think I need. But God is slowly peeling off the burdens and weights in my life to free me, yet I still fight him every step of the way. I don’t want my life to keep getting harder, to keep being painful, to keep pushing me away from some of my deepest desires. And right now every day is harder than the last. And slowly I’m losing those around me. Sometimes it feels like I’ve lost the nose-goes of who’s going to take on the loneliness of leadership. So that’s where my life has come to. I’ve been in leadership so long I have so little around me now. It’s an awkward aura of reality as I stepped down. That the cost of leadership is the desolate depth dug deep.
So for now, there’s nothing around but Christ.
“Keep looking below surface appearances. Don’t shrink from doing so (just) because you might not like what you find. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is the slogan of the complacent, the arrogant or the scared. It’s an excuse for inaction, a call to non-arms. It’s a mindset that assumes (or hopes) that today’s realities will continue tomorrow in a tidy, linear and predictable fashion. Pure fantasy. In this sort of culture, you won’t find people who proactively take steps to solve problems as they emerge.” -Gen. C.P.
“Rejoice in the Lord always: again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” -P.
My life is very abnormal.
My life is very crazy.
My life nobody would want,
My struggles get really depressing.
My struggles get really hard.
My struggles nobody would take,
My work and labor is endless.
My work and labor is pointless.
My work and labor nobody will ever see,
God gave me this strange life.
God gave me these tough times.
God gave me the perseverance for these tasks.
Every year that I’ve gone on missions, I’ve noticed a crazy pattern. When I decide to go, announce my intention to go, and being my planning, my life gets crazy. Close family start getting random crazy sicknesses, getting into crazy accidents, getting the craziest of trials in their lives. And every year it’s the hardest struggle for me to focus and push on. Every year there’s a point that I just want to hand it in and ask for somebody to make my life easier. But I guess that’s what happens when I have a big back. I carry. AGI heroes ftw.
Life, I need to talk to you.
Can you spare a minute just to tell me what to do?
And I am trying to climb this hill,
I can feel you pass me by like I’m standing still.
Things I gotta do
But I’m feeling you leaving me behind
And I know I don’t want to go down this road alone
Now I’m running out of time
So, slow down
You’re losing me and I can’t see what you want me to be
So, slow down
‘Cause all I know, is I can’t go as fast as you have got me spinning around
I’m barely hanging on, slow down
Why do moments pass me by
Memories that I can’t keep as hard as I may try
And Oh Life, You’re so beautiful
I wish it wasn’t so but I can only stay until
Oh, you say I gotta go
And God only knows when that’s gonna be
With all my might I’m trying to keep up with you
And now you’re running away from me so
So, slow down
You’re losing me and I can’t see what you want me to be.
So, slow down
Cause all I know, is I can’t go as fast as you have got me spinning around.
Oh, look at how you’ve got me spinning around,
I’m barely hanging on, slow down
Well, I’m no longer an official leader of any ministry anymore. It’s kind of a relief yet a sad time as well. When I accepted the nominations to lead the ministries I had been nominated and elected for, I was clear that I would only be interim, and likely not long after a new English pastor had been hired/established. So in the last 8 or so weeks, I had really begun serious contemplation upon when I would step down and finally leave my old church, but more importantly who I would nominate to the church leadership to fill the roles and responsibilities I would be leaving.
Early on in the interim leadership, it was tough for me to see a future for the ministries I had took up leading. There was little to no support from the congregation, let alone the other leaders within the English congregation at our church. I often felt alone in leading as well as lacking any fellowship beyond the ministries. It was a denuded seclusion, a grim desolation of my often dubious thoughts regarding the future of the ministries. Many a night I concluded that God was in fact letting me know that in the end, I was going to end up dissolving the areas of ministry I was leading.
Yet in the midst of this all, God was growing my own irresolute heart to focus on him, not the lack of personnel or support. And in these last few weeks, I’ve really begun to see the growth of the ministry as well as individuals which I nominated to the church leadership, most of which they agree with my direction and vision. I’ve grown to see that not only does God provide, but my own faithless mind and heart too easily doubt the faithfulness of God’s provision. I knew it was clear to me that God was calling me not only away from this specific local church, yet also that He wanted me in these roles of leadership. As the set time of my leadership positions and roles dwindled near their end, I grew more desperate in my prayer to God, ultimately fearing the necessity to deliquesce much of each ministry I had been leading. Again, God grew my heart to realize that it was time to ask those that were afraid of leading to step up into leadership.
It’s always a struggle to accept the role of leadership, especially when the ones asked to step up are humble legitimately or not. The humble see so many reasons for them not lead, for them not to hold that responsibility and possibility of failure as not only a leader but also as an individual in ministry. I was constantly humbled in the fact that each of the people I nominated felt as if they weren’t right for the position yet would consider my opinion and pray about it.
Long story short, I’ve finally stepped down and left the church. Again, it’s not for such huge reasons of irreconcilable differences, just…it’s time for me to move on.
Throughout this time,
I’ve been going through Psalms
and I’ve been writing about:
But lately I haven’t. I haven’t been writing or reading. because life has been tremendously difficult. and that’s the worst reason why. God calls us to come to Him especially in our weakness and desolation. So this post is in prose. because to be honest, my mind doesn’t always think in poetics.
I think of conditioning. Nobody truly looks forward to conditioning, if it’s real conditioning. Not like a light run, or brief sprints, but long, arduous, muscle tearing and breaking down conditioning of the mind, body, and soul. It sucks. and it hurts. and while I’m conditioning I’m never very happy at all. As my body continually gets weaker and weaker with every sprint, lift, routine, etc., I can feel the energy in my body sapping away as I become slower, weaker, and sluggish. Even as I near the end of the conditioning (if I’m aware of what the end is), there’s just hatred, anger, and disappointment on my mind. I hate how I’m unable to stay at 100% throughout conditioning, I’m enraged by the fact that my body shows diminishing returns throughout athletics, not just in the long term but short term as well, and I’m enthralled by how I’m less motivated to do these things than before.
And so in life, as I’m going through the remarkably onerous struggle in my life right now, I can’t really see the end, I can’t feel the hope of what’s to come, I can’t hear the end, I can’t smell the victory, and I can only taste defeat. But what I’ve learned from the gridiron reaches beyond the field. I just bite my tongue. Yes, I bleed, but my eyes come back to the salty taste of reality warm in my mouth. and I trudge it out. and it aint easy.
So where am I going? Am I scared?
I do not know. Yes, very. But I trust so much in God’s provision and sovereignty.