You probably know by now that being a pastor doesn’t shield you from disappointments. Sorry for the buzzkill beginning, but that’s the truth. The offerings will sometimes be less than your church expenses. The sermon you planned to preach was a lot better than the one you actually preached. People will leave your congregation for the silliest of reasons. The list could go on and on, I promise.
But the good news is that God is working at all times on our behalf in the invisible realm—although that invisibility sometimes causes us distress. So we wrestle. We admit disappointment. We engage in earnest dialogue with our God. In the end, we come around to the same vow: “I trust you, Father. I really do. And while I don’t understand what You’re doing, I know You’re guiding me. You’re still God, and You are good.”
These days I’m learning a few things about how to let God be God in my life. Hopefully, sharing these lessons will help you do the same in your life and ministry.
1) I’m most vulnerable to feelings of insecurity and disappointment during a season of significant change. Criticism of any kind is never fun. But it carries a special sting when I’m operating off my normal routine. During a typical week, I have systems in place for staying connected to Christ. But toss a new role, a new city, a new house in the mix, and those systems take a hit. I’m thrown off balance. I’m uncertain. I’m tired. This is when Satan loves to strike. Simply knowing when to watch out for these conditions that weaken me helps me block the enemy’s predictable blow.
2) There’s safety in numbers. Specifically, the more I can hang around secure, measured, kind people, the more they rub off on me. Secure people live free from anxiety and fear. They are immovable, unshakeable, firm. And they teach me to live this way, too.
I’m married to the most secure person I know. Pam and I have gone through some of the biggest traumas and crises a couple can face, and yet she remains fixed and steady and sound. When I arrive home each afternoon, I know I’ll be walking into an environment marked by peace. Being married to someone like that is a huge gift.
3) It’s really difficult to stay disappointed in someone or some circumstance that you’re praying for regularly. I’m reminded of this country song I heard about a heartbroken guy who finds himself sitting in church one Sunday, devastated over losing his girlfriend—so upset he’s actually open to advice from a preacher. “Sometimes we get angry, but we must not condemn,” the preacher says. “Let the good Lord do His job, and you just pray for them.”
So the guy decides to pray for this gal—that her brakes would go out, that her birthday would come and nobody would call, that her dreams would never come true. Not exactly the kind of prayers I mean.
4) When you’re wrestling with disappointment, a good night’s sleep works wonders. I mean it. Before you reply on Facebook or Twitter or email or pick up the phone and fire back, go to sleep. Have some quiet time. Do anything to re-center yourself so that God has the chance to speak to you. When I get rest, I notice how my anger has diminished and my perspective has shifted.
These four lessons—when I follow through on them—give God room and authority to change my perspective, soften others’ hearts (especially the ones I’m praying for) and, ultimately, to be God in my life.
Brady Boyde serves as senior pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colo. Married to his college sweetheart, Pam, he is dad to two kids, Abram and Callie.