Take it all away

I used to say, “Sometimes God will leave you with nothing so that you have to trust Him for everything.” I would say that and then go back to my world of “everything” (job security, nice income, prestigious position, and on and on and on). In other words, I was teaching something that I believed but hadn’t fully experienced.

Then one day God called me to plant a church.

Over the last two years God has slowly taken “everything” from me. The things I loved, drew self-worth from, received affirmation for, and was good at… all of those things have been taken from me. Things like teaching, leading a team, loving a church, being a pastor… things like that. In addition (or should I say “subtraction”) my pride has been stripped away and I find myself in the very humbling position of trying to build a church with no money, a miniscule number of people, and a heck of a lot less confidence than I had two years ago.

All of a sudden I find myself living what I had taught, “Sometimes God leaves us with nothing so that we have to trust Him for everything.”

For the last six months God has been pressing me with one question, “Am I enough, or do you need more to make you happy.” Of course I know the answer to that… in my head. In my heart however I have struggled to answer with a resounding “yes”.

A couple of weeks ago, Sherri and I went to Atlanta for the churchplanters.com conference (the home of our church planting residency). I thought we’d go there, learn a few best-practices, come back and implement them and see Walls Down church simply explode… a tribute to my effective leadership. I was wrong.

It seemed that most of the speakers at the conference had a similar theme. Two of them even used this exact phrase, “Is Jesus enough?” On Tuesday, at that conference, Sherri and I put our knees on the floor and said, “Jesus, you are enough. If our dreams never come true… you are enough. No matter what happens, doesn’t happen, may happen, or may not happen… you are enough.”

Since that Tuesday afternoon, we have been reaffirming that commitment to Christ and seeking to live it out every day. It’s amazing. There is a spiritual awakening happening in my heart and in our home these days… something for which we have longed but not experienced in a long time… maybe because we had “everything.”

These days I’m trusting God more and myself less. These days I’m learning what it is to trust God for everything, and I’m finding that it is not so bad! These days I’m actually beginning to think it’s a good thing when God takes it all away.

How about you? What if you were stripped of “everything”? Would you need it back… or would Jesus be enough?

2 thoughts on “Take it all away

  1. The head and heart dilemma. Ah yes.

    I wrote a while ago about Job. Maybe it’s cos I’m in a sheltered environment but I’ve not personally encountered anybody who experienced fully what Job went through. His experience felt like the extreme most that anybody can encounter of being stripped of everything.

    And yes I went through a little period of being stripped, and knowing (in my head) and believing (sometimes still tryingly, in my heart) that it’s a good thing that things are taken away.

    Jesus is more than enough. Now let me go live that out!

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