Conduit

I read a book many years ago that discussed how the enemy plagues women with two thoughts: you’re too much and you’re not enough. I have known the depths of both…sometimes daily. I don’t think this is a malady that women alone face. I think it is the way of the human race. Our nature pushes us to extremes.

In my young Christianity, I wanted to be closer to my spiritual leaders. I wanted to follow them home and hang on their every word. I allowed myself to be wounded when they didn’t deliver the intimacy I expected. I wanted too much…more than God desired me to want from them. People, even godly leaders, have their limits. Only God is limitless.
 
Being a senior pastor is an almost daily stinging reminder that I am not enough. It is a slap in the face to every shepherd that ever wanted to meet all the needs, hug all the necks, and say all the right words while planning all the right experiences. I continuously don’t have enough energy, enough strength, enough words, enough vision, or enough joy for everyone. Just when I think I’ve covered one base well, I turn and find they’re all loaded. Most days, my own children are the players on first, second, and third.

As I’ve grown in leadership, I understand why leaders always seem to lead from afar. It is by necessity. God doesn’t want anyone to be enough for us. Jesus is simply enough. As a shepherd, I am conduit. When I try to be more or I allow someone to ask more of me, I become a dam. I get in the way of Jesus being enough for them and me. I can’t have it both ways.

The vantage point of a shepherd should give us vision of things others don’t see. It is why God appoints leaders. The more enlarged my view has become through the years of leading, the more compassionate I have grown toward my past shepherds. I know in the past I grumbled and complained about things I knew not of or had very little understanding of. Staying connected is what saved me from the pit of apathy and cynicism. My shepherds needed to be the channel by which I connected not the source of it.

Some days, I am bogged down with the desire and expectation to be more. Some days, I am heavy with the realization that I will never be enough. At times, the shepherd in me really wants to be. I want people to feel loved and important. I want them to know the touch of the Savior, but when I do more than I should, they really only know my touch. Mine only goes so deep. Mine only last so long. 

I’ve noticed, some of the best shepherds I’ve known have stepped back and let me seek God instead of them. What I didn’t realize until the last couple years is that it can be agony for a shepherd to back away. It isn’t our nature, but sometimes it is the only way to make room for the good Shepherd to step in. It’s one of the things that keeps me running to my Shepherd too. I am not a good shepherd and I know it. Only Jesus is good. I don’t always say the right thing. I don’t always remember. I don’t always think unselfishly. I’m never enough be it due to my failure or my limited capacity, but God is more than enough to cover me and my people. Thank you, Jesus for being a good Shepherd.  Keep me as conduit and let me not become a dam.

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