Recently I've been struggling with insecurity. I've been held down by trying to figure out how to make the "perfect" decision. The 2 biggest roots of this insecurity I've come to see are; concern for how others view me (love of man) and fear of failure. These two things have hindered me personally, and professionally. While I don't have everything figured out, I've discovered the biggest cause; a lack of prayer.
What to pray?
Prayer has never been the strongest of my spiritual disciplines. I've always had to work hard to keep it regular and focused. The biggest part of prayer I struggle with is how to pray for myself and not sound greedy and/or whiny. What I'm learning is that this is just a way for the devil to get me not to do it.
This in and of itself is self-centered not God-centered the way prayer should be. It's my pride telling me I don't need God's help and/or He won't help. This is just plain bad, worldly theology ... and I should know better. But I (like almost everyone) need to be reminded of the truth sometimes.
How to pray?
In a recent sermon, my pastor, Joe Thorn brought up the concept of reasoning with God in prayer. Instead of whining or trying somehow to manipulate God, we should appeal to Him based on His character and/or promises. Then leave room for God to be God. (Go listen to the sermon, he says it much better than I can sum it up.)
I haven't been doing this. I've basically been bringing my shopping list of prayer requests to God expecting Him to fill my order. Instead I should be reminding myself all He has done on behalf of sinners and trust that He hears my concerns and is more concerned about them than I am.
3 lessons I've learned (s0 far);
- The perfect pastor doesn't exist. We all are fallen, but God is faithful despite us. God doesn't call us to be perfect, but to be faithful. Faithful to Him in the words we preach and teach, but also faithful to Him in prayer reminding ourselves of our own need for Him.
- The perfect decision isn't mine to make (even if I could). As I seek God's wisdom (James 1:5-8, Matt. 7:7-8), He will give it. Ultimately, I should be proceeding as God is directing me. He is the only One who can make a perfect decision, the One who is perfect Himself.
- God has called me to this position. First, I should be more worried about what He thinks of me, and way less concerned about trying to please people or what they may think about me. Secondly, since He has put me in this position, I don't have to fear people because He won't let me screw up so badly that I damage His work beyond His power to repair (if that were even possible).
While I admit I still don't have this all figured out on the front end, my hope and prayer in sharing this is to encourage those who read it. God is still on His throne. He is still in control of all things. I am continuing to grow in sanctification. I'm still learning ...