God Give Us Maturity, Patience For Your People

If you're in ministry, you know the feeling. You're sitting around a table and taking prayer requests—you have exactly 90 minutes to pray for just about every need in your church or ministry—and the person you're hoping wouldn't start talking, starts to talk. This is the guy who starts to tell about one thing and then tangents off to another, slowing only to glance at his notebook and make sure he hits every point he spent the morning writing down. Every time his speech lets up and you think you'll be able to interrupt, he just says "um, um, um," as loudly and quickly as possible to keep anyone from forcing him to yield the stand. Pretty soon you've spent 80 minutes hearing prayer requests and now you only have 10 left for prayer.

A huge percentage of ministry is simply listening and holding your tongue while people argue over things which seem painfully insignificant. But their opportunity to feel involved is of eternal significance.

Maturity as a leader is somehow figuring out where the line is between just having patience and then putting your foot down to move on. Sometimes you need to let people just talk because this is their favorite time of the week—the prayer committee. And then there are the times where Steve shares about his struggles loving his wife and, instead of praying, Bob lectures him for 10 minutes about the importance of loving his wife. Steve knows. That's why he asked for prayer. Sometimes Bob needs to be interrupted and reminded just to pray.

And immaturity as a leader? Well, that's when you slap someone so everyone is quiet five minutes in to the meeting. Then you stand and pray for 85 minutes.

God give us maturity.

The Dehumanizing Job Hunt

Giving up a career in the mission field was hard. I had a lot of authority. And I gave it up.

Now I'm looking at a industry change, and then it's even harder. Some people can see past the ten years experience as a missionary on my resume, and many cannot. Especially in Colorado.

About six weeks ago I flew out to Denver and interviewed with four different companies. All four interviews went fantastic. But once I got an official "no" from one of them, I went from thinking "I'm the most awesome person in the whole world and everyone is going to want to hire me," to "Nobody likes me, everybody hates me, guess I'll go file for unemployment."

And really, it's not the rejection that's hardest about this process. It's the incessant roller-coaster of emotions. My back locks up from stress, relaxes with a glimmer of hope, and then goes right back to lockup.

It's shocking to me that it isn't everyone else's highest priority to give me a job.

It's mine. Why won't the world of high-paying-with-great-family-benefits corporations get on board?

And then there's the whole depending on God thing. Because I often just start to panic and assume He's given up on the search. I know He hasn't. But I still kind of think He has.

Wonder and Information Uniquity

When I wonder about something—anything—I look it up. That’s the strange thing about the information we carry by way of devices in our pockets without wires. It doesn’t matter if I’m wondering what bird I’m looking at, how far it is from Denver to Cuba, or what movies Steve Martin has starred in. I don’t need to wait, I can know—this instant.

It occurred to me recently there are a lot of facts we used to all go look up, or ask someone who would know. How do you stain a cabinet made of a certain kind of wood veneer? YouTube tells me. Not my uncle Phil, or even my neighbor Steve who makes furniture for a living.

The problem is, results then rise higher and higher in the ranks and pretty soon everyone, everywhere in the world, stains cabinets all the same way. Or believes there are precisely 56.68 calories in an apple.

Information is now so available that I wonder if, or when, we’ll stop questioning it.

Never stop questioning it.