We just got back from a great conference in Atlanta, Velocity 2011, hosted by Churchplanters.com.
Last year after coming back from this conference I didn’t feel so good about it, or me.
If you don’t know, last year was our first year at the Mecca of churchplanters conferences following our “crash and burn” experience with a church plant. I watched as everyone (it seemed like it anyhow) was happy and sharing their success stories. I listened as they all talked about how God was blessing their ministry all the while wondering why God was ignoring me… okay scratch that. It actually felt like He threw me under the bus.
A journal entry from 2/24/10:
I’m reeling. Churchplanters.com conference hurt… again. I don’t know why but I can hardly keep my head above water. I can’t get on track. I hurt deeply. Disappointed. Shaken. Tired. Mad. These are negative words that describe how I feel.
Just left the house and left my phone at the house so Sherri can’t even call me.
Don’t even know how to pray.
“The chords of death entangled me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. The chords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me.” (Psalm 18:4-5)
… I want to hide away.
OK, how’s that for pain. Have you ever felt like that? Probably.
This year I actually enjoyed myself, had a good time, laughed with friends, learned a lot and didn’t even hide when we got home!
So what made the difference? Two things:
God knows what He is doing. Pain is part of the process of growth. If you want to grow you must endure pain. Some pain is the result of stupidity, but all pain, if endured and learned from, will result in growth.
The key here is to trust. When you hurt because you’ve listened to your personal trainer… you trust that he knows what he’s doing so you keep on doing what he says. The same is true with God. When you hurt, even though you don’t understand, you don’t stop trusting… you make sure you’re hearing clearly and then keep on obeying His instruction.
In time healing and growth will come. And then you’ll need to hurt again to grow again.
Growth is always preceded by pain so we trust our God as we go through pain, knowing that every time we hurt the trainer is getting us in better shape and making us healthier!
The failure, the pain, the hurt… it’s not the end of the road. In fact, it’s not the end of the road until you’re dead.
When you fail, you get up and start staggering, then limping, then walking… and in time you’ll be running again.
The day after the fall it seems like you’ll never breathe again… much less run, but you will. Maybe you’ll run in a different arena, but you will run again.
The only crash that can stop you is the one that kills you. A crash can kill you physically. From this death you cannot recover… because you are dead. A crash can also “kill” you mentally, emotionally and/or spiritually and from these deaths you can recover.
You can recover as you begin to trust again. Trust in God (your personal trainer). Trust in yourself. Trust in your friend. Trust in someone and start staggering your way towards healing. The more you stagger forward the stronger you’ll get… and in time you’ll be running.
I don’t think I’m running yet, but I’ll tell you this, I’m limping with purpose! God is healing me! I have new purpose, fresh vision, and a strong desire to be running fast… and that’ll happen soon enough!
If you’ve crashed, I am praying for you today that you will trust God enough to get up and start staggering again! God will help you and you can do this!