No it’s not the title of a dubious 1970’s film but it is my attempt to ‘come clean’ at the end of what has been the year that was 2020!!
Confession is an interesting word, it means disclosure, owning up, acknowledging truth, coming clean.
But it also means affirmation, foundational truth, bedrock, what we stand on.
So here goes with my 2-fold confessions as a church leader looking back on 2020….
#1 – I’ve realised I like control way more than I’d like to admit.
As a leader I’m a planner, a strategist, always thinking about what’s next and this year much of my ability to do that has been stripped away. At times that’s left me anxious, uncertain, fearful and angry. At times I’ve had imposter syndrome, can I really do this? Do I have what it takes to lead myself let alone others through this season?
What I’m beginning to realise is this….
I must take control of what I should and surrender control of what I can’t
What’s in my control is my attitude, my response and my choices pretty much everything else I have to daily surrender.
‘Prayer reminds us we are not in control and keeps us close to the one who is’ – Craig Groeschel
#2 – I really miss people…..but sometimes I don’t!
I am an extrovert and I’ve really missed people but during this season I’ve found people appealing and frustrating in equal measures! Someone once said, ‘an immature Christian is hard to please and easy to offend.’
This season has revealed our level of faith and maturity and at times that’s made me rejoice and at other times….weep…..
#3 – I thought I’d been to the edge before but now I think I’ve peered over it…
Losing my mum the week before lockdown, the birth of our first grandchild during lockdown, constant uncertainty regarding our youngest son who has learning disability and is in residential care plus a pandemic have all combined to moments of sadness, grief, anxiety and if I’m totally honest there have been times I’ve never felt lower…..
I know I’m not alone but sometimes I’ve felt it….as have you….
So to my other ‘confessions’….these are the affirmations I want to stand on, the foundational truths I want to build on whatever 2021 may bring….
#1 – I am more than what I do
This year I want to learn more ‘being’ than ‘doing’….I want more delight than duty, more abandonment than achievement and more moments than measurements…
#2 – I can rest from work and I can work from rest
Robert Morris is in his book, ‘Take the day off’ says about the sabbath,
‘Rest is a gift God asks you to give yourself’
For those who know me you know I find this hard, maybe for some of the reasons I’ve ‘confessed’ but also because I love what I do. But through this season I’m learning to rest and not just to ‘park the car’ but to ‘switch off the engine’!
#3 – I want to want God more than I need to need God
So many times during this year my prayers have been need based and while that’s ok..’God shows up most powerfully when we need him most desperately,’ I want more than that next year.
I want to want God, I want to know His presence, I want to be free of agendas, requests and instead just be with Him….
#4 – I still believe the church is the hope of the world!
I first heard this phrase over 20 years ago and yes of course Jesus is the hope of the world but the Church is who Jesus entrusted his gospel ‘good news’ to carry into the world. The church is not perfect but she is powerful…at times bewildering and yet beautiful…sometimes hurtful and yet still hopeful….fragile and yet forever…
What matters most is what lasts the longest
That’s the glory of God, the Kingdom of God and the people of God!
My heart goes out to all leaders this year but especially to church leaders….you have adapted, innovated, pivoted, been frustrated, exhausted and have kept on going!
(If you’re a part of a local church why not tell the leaders how grateful you are for them? Don’t just store up the great words for their funeral say them now!)
The Church is still the hope of the world and the potential of the local church far outweighs the problems of the local church – Carey Nieuwhof
So as this year draws to a close what’s your confession? What will you stand on in 2021?
I’d love to hear from you….leave a comment below or on social media and remember, the only thing worse than a crisis is a wasted crisis.
Let’s take our learnings with us, let’s not try to head ‘back to normal’ but move forward and as we do let’s remember what Paul said to the church at Philippi…
“I pray with great faith for you, because I’m fully convinced that the One who began this glorious work in you will faithfully continue the process of maturing you and will put his finishing touches to it until the unveiling of our Lord Jesus Christ!”
Philippians 1:6 TPT