A few weeks ago I began the interview process with a church to become one of their Pastors. It was brutal but wonderful. Before you think this is a rant, hear me out.
Many of you know that I have two felonies in my past. No, they cannot define who I am. I am forgiven. Period!
Even though those things happened 20+ years ago, I can tell you, they still have consequences and influence in this world. No matter how qualified I may be, an HR department sees that scar and most employers will look elsewhere.
I’ve heard it all. “This place hires almost anyone.” No they don’t. I can’t tell you how many places Iv’e walked away from with hope yanked out from under me. Is this a pity party? NO. I tell you these things to say that friction can cause sharpening if you chose it. You may think this is bold, but through these things, I know who I am and what my task is because of this past decade of rejection.
“Friction can cause sharpening if you chose it.”
Rejection tends to stretch and tear down the way you see yourself. Getting stretched isn’t fun and it can be painful. It doesn’t take too many trips to the gym to learn that when you get stretched, strength is coming.
In the church I found out later that one comment was made that “If one of our pastors can’t pass a background check, then how can we trust him with our congregation?”
In Scripture, the Church is often referenced as the Bride of Christ. In this world, I have a precious bride of my own. I do not trust just anyone to care for her when she has a need. I want the best care possible for her. I am being asked to care for Christ’s Bride in this church. That is a big responsibility. I do not take this task lightly.
Through my healing I have learned that the only cure for rejection is acceptance. Through this past decade God has shown me, guided me, prepared me and told me that I am accepted by Him and His people. I believe that. Not by getting a “job”, but by being welcomed into a congregation and into the homes of people who want to get to know me for who God made me to be. As I have pastored elsewhere and been accepted, this seems special. I don’t think I would be able to pick up on its tender, gentle, quiet whisper had it not been for the sharpening that occurred before.
Being sharpened is a choice. Everyone wants to be the sharpener. We want to be the one who “speaks truth in love” but few are willing to be the one who is sharpened. In order to sharpen something it takes grinding off some things from the past that made it dull. Sharpening takes a process applied with patience and when it is done, it takes less effort than ever before to be effective. A scalpel is used to heal when in the hands of a skilled person.
If you feel resistant when people spend time with you and want to get to know you, please see it for the investment value. If people aren’t investing into you, your task is to get somewhere that they can. That may mean that you are about to get a good old fashioned grinding. But take comfort, there is strength coming!