The Empty Inner Circle

Note: This is a post originally from my writing blog from 2010, when I was coming to understand what an identity in Christ meant. My wife and I were learning what it meant to develop a healthy marriage, one not based on each other’s performance but on our relationship with Christ. At this time I was beginning to discern how God was going to use my experience to help others. ————————————————— One of the things that I think God is directing me toward is working with church staffs. This is probably a long range plan, but I feel like I have learned an amazing amount about leadership and relationship systems that can be of help to those who maybe have not stepped back to examine themselves, their position in the leadership structure, and the stresses they endure and cause. So just one element that I have to offer is a relational systems evaluation. My first question would be for each staff member/leader to tell me about their closest relationships. The quality of our inner circle relationships is a key foundation for successfully enduring the unique rigors of church leadership and pastoring. We need connection. An outlet. Support and comfort. Sadly, by the time all was said and done with regard to the collapse of my world, my inner circle was completely empty and that hastened the fall. Some of the emptying was done for me. My wife and I had no connection. She had distanced herself from me and I had stopped trying. The person in the world that I would want to describe as my best friend, my...

The Older Brother’s View

As we develop our identity in Christ, the process of sanctification, one of the first and necessary steps in renewing our minds is to consider our preconceptions about who God is. We need to see him rightly because God wants us to see our-self and define our-self as his people, with him being our God. This relationship is one of trust, Adam and Eve were placed in the garden to experience it, the Israelites were to have God as King to experience it and we are to experience it through Christ. But one major mistake we make is hanging onto our impressions of God formed through our relationships – often from our experience with our own father or another close authority figure. Or we let our circumstance dictate who we think God is. Or even let the systems of the world drive our conception of God. So we may see God as angry, driven to make decisions out of anger. Or withholding. Or not present. Or Santa Claus. Or the senile grandfather. We have so many false impressions, and ultimately that affects our experience of who God is. In the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15), this is true of the older brother’s experience. The older brother thought that relationship with the father was found by obeying the rules. Because of that filter which formed the foundation of his false self, the older son’s experience was not one of the father’s grace and mercy. In fact, discovering the father’s grace and mercy incited anger because it seemed unfair. The older brother verbalized this by saying “Look! All these years I’ve been...

The Empty Inner Circle

I help church leaders avoid the pitfalls of spiritual leadership. Overwhelmingly, pastors feel isolated, overworked, unappreciated, and consumed by their role in the church.The quality of our inner circle relationships is a key foundation for successfully enduring the unique rigors of church leadership and pastoring. We need connection. An outlet. Support and comfort. Sadly, by the time all was said and done with regard to the collapse of my world, my inner circle was completely empty and that hastened the fall.Some of the emptying was done for me. My wife and I had no connection. She had distanced herself from me and I had stopped trying. The person in the world that I would want to describe as my best friend, my supporter through thick and thin, was instead the person that I felt the most distance with. Rather than being able to offer support and guidance through the crests and troughs of ministry, my sharing sounded more and more like whining filling her with bitterness and resentment toward my job. This resentment was compounded by the fact that it was to my job that I turned more and more of my attention as the distance between us became greater.Most of the empty inner circle was because of me. Pride is my root sin. In my relationships that expresses itself as a fear of rejection. A fear that if someone knew the real me, my real struggles, the real condition of parts of my life then they would certainly reject me. So I wore my “I’m fine” mask. Acted like everything was great all the time. If questions were...

Gain Perspective. Live Well.

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