My faith in His people done left me scared
The hatred and hurt was so bizarre
I thought that they would always ride for me
I cried but nobody replied to me
I questioned the truth inside of me
and right about then is when the devil lied to me
I am Restored – Lecrae
I am starting a new job today. It will be different than any I envisioned when I made my 5 year plans. I am working with the Special Services department of a local school system. This wasn’t the goal, but I am thankful that I landed here. I received a call yesterday saying that I have been reassigned from one school to another middle school in the city. I don’t know much about what this new assignment will look like just yet, but I am excited about it all the same. I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t feeling other emotions and having other worries, too. I have been a pastor for most of my adult life. I have worked other jobs along the way, but I have still been a pastor. Today that changes. I am just something else.
While I am excited because I have longed for the day when I could work with students in meaningful ways again, I also carry a lot of worry, self-doubt, and anxiety with me into this new job. One thing I said in my interview is that, as a pastor, churches have a way of making you super aware of yourself and of your flaws. The worry of people liking me and accepting my personality, the self-doubt of how I am going to mess this up, and anxiety of the unknown and how my stutter will do in a new space are really weighing on me. Judging by my past experiences and feedback (warranted or not) from church folks, I don’t think these feelings are misplaced either.
Scripture declares that all things work together for the good of those who love him and have been called according to God’s plan. This is something that I really do believe in. I also feel like God is resurrecting my hopes, dreams, and humor in this new season of life. When I was in high school, I wanted to spend the rest of my life working with special needs students. I convinced my guidance counselor to create a class credit for me to allow me to work in the special ed room for the first class of each day. This is God giving me a desire of my heart, and yet, I am still filled with worry, doubt, and anxiety.
On top of this, I also am worrying about what working in a public school looks like during COVID-19. Of course, masks, hand sanitizer, and all PPE will be worn and used, but even in “normal” years, schools can be a breeding ground for sickness. There is just a lot of feelings that are going into this new job.
Though I am dealing with worry, doubt, and anxiety, I find good news and great comfort in some of the words Moses spoke to Joshua as he was becoming Israel’s new leader in Deuteronomy 31:8: “Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.” God will go before me. God will be with me. God will never fail me. God will never abandon me. This is good news.
So while that may not make all of the worry, doubt, and anxiety go away, it does center me. It reminds me of who I am and whose I am. It reminds me of my mission/vision statement as a Jesus follower.
As a pastor, I shared the same closing prayer every Sunday for all of my ministry, and today I was reminded of that prayer and the vital role it played in the mission vision of my ministry and for me as a follower of Jesus. The prayer I shared at the end of ever service was this: Encounter God in all that you do, Walk out life in the power of the Holy Spirit, and Represent Jesus in a way that positively impacts your school, workplace, and community.
Remembering who I am and whose I am makes this prayer possible. Because God goes before me, is with me, and will never fail me or abandon me, I am able to Encounter God is everything I do. From my morning routine to driving to work to being in the classroom, God is there. Remembering who I am and whose I am makes walking in the power of the Holy Spirit possible. Because of the power of the Holy Spirit, I can walk in joy, peace, love, gentleness, patience, faithfulness, goodness, kindness, and self-control. Remembering who I am and whose I am makes it possible for me to represent Jesus in a way that positively impacts those around me. Jesus uplifted the marginalized and outcasted. In a public school, I’ll have ample opportunity to uplift the marginalized and outcasted.
Worry, doubt, and anxiety don’t make me a bad Christian, it makes me human; and scripture reminds us through our weakness God is made strong. So, I am excited about this new adventure. Sure, doubt, worry, and anxiety are still very present, but God is with me and I am with God.
“We can’t change the world unless we change ourselves” -Biggie Smalls
- Are you starting something new? How are you feeling?
- What did you learn from your last new start?
- Words hurt. What words are you carrying with you now? What are you doing to heal?
- Even in the midst of worry, anxiety and doubt God is still with you and you are still loved. Don’t you ever forget that.
-a rap dad
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With work starting today and school starting in a few weeks for me I will be moving from weekly blog postings to biweekly blog postings!
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