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Be Honest: You Don’t Have It All Together

And you don’t have to.

What if we refused to perpetuate this life-haunting narrative?

When we smile and nod at comments about how we have it all together, we embolden this false ideal. When we strive for perfection in leadership, we perpetuate the expectation of perfection. We know, of course, that perfection is impossible but none of us step into leadership saying to ourselves, Now let’s see how badly I can mess this up. We seek best practices and discuss efficiency and accuracy. We try to preach, teach, lead, pastor, love, and learn as best we can. And certainly, there are times when God blesses these efforts! The program works, the sermon preaches, our prayers and worship embrace transformation and hope. When people see this success, though, they see us at the helm and marvel at how we pull it all off. And the pressures go beyond leading perfect ministries. After all, our parishioners know we have outside relationships, families, and hobbies. They assume we’re killing it in those arenas, too.

When I falsely act as though my ministry-work-life-family balance is actually balancing, I rob others of the relief and pure joy of knowing that having it all is a false construct of our culture and our own neuroses—not a spiritual goal that God has for anyone. When I share the honest tension I experience on a daily basis and my inability to succeed fully at any part of life, I remind myself and others that we stand in a long line of real people whose lives were a wreck. Just look at Scripture. Women like Ruth, Naomi, and Esther lived tense, stress-filled, and chaotic lives. The Woman at the Well was a mess. And whoa, how about David, Solomon, Moses and Abraham? Not exactly examples of flawless, all-together lives! But for each of these people, peace and joy came from trusting God and confessing their lack rather than trumpeting their success—and we can have this, too.

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