Learning Myself, pt 2

About six months ago, I wrote a blog called, “Learning Myself“.  There’s been a lot happen in those past six months, new friends, new ventures, travel, new environments, etc.  I believe, as this blog will show, along with other blogs on learning myself will, I believe it is very important at times to do a bit of introspection, to turn the spotlight in on one’s own heart and mind and ask yourself, “what have these recent events revealed about myself?”  Sometimes you will be pleasantly surprised.  Other times you will be embarrassed.  Some things will come out of left field, and others are more obvious.  So, all that being said, I think some of the things I have learned about myself in the last six months are as follows:

  • I need learn to slow down – period.  And the truth is, if I were to be really honest, much of the things I do that cause me to miss some of the most beautiful things in my families life, are (a) not worth it and (b) out of some selfish-ambition that in the end doesn’t matter.
  • One of the major flaws in my leadership is that I seem to create dependents more than I do disciples…I’m not sure what that flaw is, but it’s there, and I’m asking God to reveal what ever the root of that flaw is, be it insecurity, small-mindedness, or being over-bearing…I hate this about my leadership – hate it!
  • I actually love being a pastor…pause: not CEO; make the church grow; quantify the life out of everything; get my name out there; keep myself in the spotlight leader; but pastor – and there is a huge difference, but this isn’t the place for that blog.  This was made very real to me on three separate occasions (1) the first was being in Haiti with my team, my part was to play the pastor role [admittedly I didn’t not do so well at this, but the main reason was, I didn’t prepare for what I didn’t expect, and the unexpected happened a lot – both emotionally and physically, next time I’ll know what to plan for], Haiti was great, but nothing gave me greater joy than being a pastor on that trip. (2) I look at my study life – sure I love to read books on sociology, justice, human trafficking and history… I love to read them and often times they are like a good ale for my soul; BUT, when I begin to dig into Biblical theology, study on the atonement, scripture, the work and person of Jesus and teach and guide with the scriptures, it is like the finest red-wine I’ve ever had for my soul. (3) Someone tried to nail me down the other day.  They said, “hey, you’re the anti-slavery guy aren’t you…” I assumed my reaction would have been much like one of those cartoons where the proud person sticks his chest up and yells, “that’s right, that’s who I am…”, but I didn’t… I said, “um no…I mean, yes, I fight human trafficking, I long to restore the orphan, and end cycles of poverty, but I’m just a pastor who wants to help lead others into a deep relationship with Jesus through community, scripture, and prayer, to the point they become a people who do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly before God…” All that to say, maybe it is time to redefine or better yet, uncover the real meaning of pastor that has been lost in western church world (again, that’s for another blog).
  • According to Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, one of the commonalities of the best leaders in many different fields is their willingness and ability to focus on one or two things only, and put 100% of their energy to this… if this is true, and the more I do, the more I believe it is, then I am not on a fast track from good to great…
  • I think God is wanting me to focus on things like prayer, quietness, sober mindedness, finding the sacred in the ordinary, and kindness as opposed to accomplishment, popularity, and whatever else we driven people focus on – not the most exciting request God has given me, but what the heck… In fact, about a month ago, I had a guy that I’ve known for over 25 years say to me, “ya’ know, you just seem a lot nicer than you used to be…it’s kind of nice...”  I have never been accused of being nice, but I know what he meant, and he’s right… I can’t take credit for that, I chalk it up to age and 3 daughters.
Getting ready to enter a new phase of life with Sarah going back to school. I know this is going to throw the schedule into whack, and cause us to be even more intentional in our scheduling, time with each other, the kids, and community.  We are at a point where we are really going to have to trim the fat (metaphorically speaking) out of our lives and only focus on what really matters.  I’ll see what I’ve learned about myself by the beginning of the year.

2 thoughts on “Learning Myself, pt 2

  1. Interesting post, Matthew, thanks for sharing. I see some things in your life that resonate with me as well. In terms of leadership, I have felt that quite often lately in regards to some of the people in my life. Part of the problem in creating disciples could be a leadership style that provides answers more than it encourages people to find their own. But it’s also just people in general. A lot of people just want answers and don’t want to make the effort of finding them for themselves. When they do make the effort, often they don’t have the tools to discover the answers effectively, because they haven’t been taught.

    Sometimes, you can give someone encouragement and try to get them on the path to finding the answers they’re seeking, but they actually have to take the initiative to walk the path. That’s where I find a lot of folks lose momentum. They want it to be easy, and it’s not.

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