I ran across a good essay in Leadership Journal. Writer Mike Erre talks about his debilitating anxiety and depression, and the all-too-common Christian response that the person just needs to pray and read their Bible more.
Toward the end of the piece, Erre shifts focus to feeling unqualified for the task God has set before us. That’s a particularly common sentiment in ministry … but it’s a really good thing.
God, he writes …
“…designs circumstances so that we are in over our heads. He chooses unlikely people so that he gets the credit and glory. He brings us to the end of our sufficiency so that we’ll rest in his. We hate this. We want to be seen as experts. Perhaps that is why the church is so infatuated with tools, techniques, and marketing. The American church often shares the surrounding culture’s obsession with glory and power. One of the reasons our ministries are so ineffective is because we don’t make room for God’s power, since we are so enamored with our own. We don’t make room for weakness—everything in our churches has to be dynamic and excellent. So we schedule things by the minute, rehearse our transitions and prayers, seek out the next killer series or curriculum or program. And all the while Jesus has moved on to people who have nothing other than him.”
As we wrestle with launching a journalism ministry that could have huge impact, sometimes a thought momentarily stops us in our tracks: We have no idea where God is taking this.
It’s a hybrid to a thought I tried to get my journalism students comfortable with for 17 years: that every good journalist I know quietly fears, “Today is the day everyone finds out I have no idea what I’m doing.”
Faith aside, that’s not a bad approach. It keeps us humble, helping us to ask “dumb” questions that lead to air-tight stories. We don’t put people off with bravado that masks cluelessness, a la Ron Burgundy. This is never about us.
Now add faith back into that and you have a trust and reliance on God. And that’s all you have. That’s surely not the most comfortable place. It’s the right place, though.
Jon Foreman of the band Switchfoot put it this way, in a 2009 interview with Relevant magazine:
“If you approach the world with the apron of a servant, then you are allowed to go places that you can’t go if you approach it with the crown of a king.”