A worship leader asked me a question. I like his entire narrative, as I bet it’s more of a common scenario that we’d think. He said:
This year, for the first time since I can remember, I delegated the planning and implementation of the Christmas Eve services at our church to one of my worship leaders. Subsequently, at our worship leaders' gathering meeting we were all asked the question "What is God doing through your ministry during this advent season?"
As I reflected on this question, at first, I started to focus in on the word "your"... As I continued to ponder the question, I began to feel like the truest answer I could have given to the question posed was - "Nothing."
I'm pretty sure I gave a better answer than that, as we shared around the table, but in my heart, I wasn't sure if God was doing anything at all though my ministry. So I pondered this for the next few days, and I actually came up with more questions than answers:
Was I feeling worthless because someone else was doing my job?
Was I feeling that God didn't need me anymore?
Have I been deriving my self worth from what I do, instead of from who God says I am?
Don't I know better than to believe any of these things?
So I lived with the tension for a few more days, and then at our staff meeting today at church, someone asked me about the "night of worship" that is scheduled for January 13th. Until she brought this up, I had totally forgotten about it.
Almost immediately after that meeting, I was at my desk, furiously brainstorming what clever thing our worship team would be able to do on that night... I put an outline into Planning Center, set up the rehearsal dates, and I sent out an invitation to everyone in the worship ministry to see who wanted to be a part of this event.
Suddenly, all was right with the world... I had something to pour my soul into again. The mini fog of depression, and the "I'm-tired-of-just-doing-the-same-old-thing" feeling was gone.
So I ask myself: Am I this pathetic that I have to start feeling like I have no purpose in life, the minute that I am not up to my eyeballs in planning and "doing"?
In my head, I know this is not true. And in my head, I know that the answer is not for me to remain perpetually busy…but how do I get beyond this?
You may have Sunday school answers popping to mind. We know, the answer to everything is Jesus. Yet the feeling is real.
How would you help this friend out? What have you done to pull yourself out of a slump like that?
Ephesians 2:8-10 can help. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
I want to give you permission to acknowledge two things:
- Everything we accomplish is a gift from God, not from our own grunting.
- The Designer designed us to design. The Maker made us to make. It’s in our DNA to be productive and purposeful.
It is good to feel and be purposeful and to feel and be useful.
I say that to bring balance to my typical soapbox of walking in your identity. It’s tragic to see a beloved son seemingly trying to earn his sonship by what he does or a daughter working tirelessly to prove or earn her place as a beloved daughter.
We do those good works, that we are created in Christ Jesus to do, exactly BECAUSE we already are dearly loved sons and daughters.
And with that identity set, go and be as productive, purposeful, helpful, and useful as you can be wherever you’re serving…church, community, home.
Today you may be in the thick of Christmas planning, or Christmas rehearsing, or hey, you may be at a church that does a Christmas song or two the Sunday before Christmas and no special services at all! (And the people that go to those churches may be going to attend one of your tirelessly planned services…available on Christmas Eve at 4, 6, and 8, and on Christmas Eve Eve at…)
Father of Light, may we be utterly convinced of Your good design for us. Emmanuel, may we feel both Your nearness and majesty. Spirit of Life, may we receive Your comfort, inspiration, and capacity for our “lists” - be they long or short. We are grateful for You. Amen.