Following Jesus is Not Always Fun

The whole week had felt like the forces of evil were working against me. I didn’t sleep much the night before. I was tired and emotional already. My heart was racing, my stomach was churning, my head was pounding, and I could not sit still. The next two hours were going to go against every fiber of my being. I am introvert by nature. I am not a people person in any way. It was too late to call in sick. There were no other options. I knew it was not going to be fun, but this is what God has apparently called me to do.

This is how my Easter Sunday morning went.

On Easter, we had the highest attendance at any one service I have ever preached. I have always felt called to preach and lead smaller congregations and try to help them turn around. I am now charting new waters, and it is challenging. There are so many people and every week I want to run and hide. I know that sounds so unpastoral, but it is true. I do not find leading a growing Church fun. It is difficult work that takes every ounce of faith for me to survive.

Everyone tells me that I look so natural up there on the stage preaching. For me, it is anything but natural. There are moments I want to scream and shout. There are times I want to hide and watch the program on a screen. Each week is a battle of my will versus God’s plans for me. What I do each week is not fun for me, it is what I feel God wants me to do.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not asking for sympathy or pity. I just want you to know two important things. First, whatever goes right in Church is not because of me, but because of God. Second, if God can use me, I know he can use you.

Be warned up front. Following God’s plan for your life and using your giftedness will not necessarily be fun. In fact, it may go against all of your natural inclinations. The last time I checked though, I did not find that Jesus promised anywhere that following him would be fun. He spoke of taking up your cross and dying to yourself. He talked about a narrow way. Jesus indicated that his kingdom would be built on self-sacrifice rather than self-satisfaction.

Sunday afternoon I was exhausted. I felt like I had run a marathon emotionally. It was a good day for Christ’s kingdom. No matter how I felt about it, God did his work in spite of me. I know he can do the same thing with you.

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