A lot of pastors I have met struggle with self-hatred and low self-esteem. I’ve often wondered about this. I think that though people do feel called to some kind of ministry, they also have struggled like crazy in their ministries — in ways they could only have imagined when they said “Yes” to God’s call. Some of their failures are obvious to everyone, while others are private.
One pastor told me satan says to him frequently, “You just hang right in there with your pastor job, even though you don’t like most of the people in this church. Keep working hard at it. But just always remember that you are no good at what you do. Isn’t it obvious in the way you so dislike these people? Most of them don’t like you either.”
Ouch… Well, suffice it to say, “That’s not the Holy Spirit.” I’ll tell you that for sure!
Another pastor told me he feels like a failure most weeks after he has preached.
Today in his blog, my pastor friend John Doyel noted these words from a Stanford researcher who does research on the “fixed mindset” versus the “growth mindset”:
“Here’s the truth: It’s your daily actions that will change what you believe about yourself and the person you become. It’s about setting a schedule, showing up, and sticking to it. It’s about focusing on building the right identity rather than worrying about getting the right result.”
There’s a lot of truth to that. I told a pastor once, “You say you feel called by God. But to be frank, you’re not really acting like it, if what you tell me is the truth. If you really think you can’t lead or preach or handle meetings very well as a pastoral leader, and you let that be known repeatedly to people inside of your congregation, you’re not likely to ever win the battle over thinking that you’re not much of a pastor. People in your flock will see you wearing your ‘Kick Me’ sign, and they’ll let you have it, too.”
I told him, and I’ll tell you, that God is in your life. Act like it. God loves you. He’s proud of you. Keep your head up. You are his daughter, his son! But if your mindset is “I can’t change. Nothing ever has. Nothing probably will,”, then “Whew!,” maybe you might ought to think about doing something else.
The fact remains:
- You are a temple of the Holy Spirit. God is living inside you!
- As the Apostle Paul said: “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6
- Another place he said, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Ephesus 2:10
- And finally, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son.” Romans 8:28-29
So here’s my thought: God is not finished with you. Not yet! BELIEVE that God wants to work change in us. But He does not do it alone. As John Doyel says: “We must work at it with Him and in order to be able to work at it, we need not only have the ‘growth mindset’ but the ‘faith mind-set.'”
May God fill us all with faith, hope and love. We are good enough. We are loved. God is proud of us!