Every have those days when you're sorely tempted to be so hard on yourself? Hmm. You see, the thing about living a covenant or a 'rule' or a 'way of life' like the ones I've always commitment myself to is that as well as giving direction, they also give you a good talking to. That, in a sense, is their value and purpose. At the moment, I'm pretty rubbish at all three of the points (authentic, relational, missional).
My struggle in particular at the moment (as always) is the whole question of authenticity. The first pointer on my current rule is to be 'Authentic: true to Christ.' Jesus and I have this thing going on just now. Its like this: I'm out there doing the regular stuff...you know, being the 'pastor' type figure at Trinity, and Jesus is there sorta 'grinning' at me...a sort of 'knowing look'. Hilarious! I think he finds it quite amusing. I find it quite amusing too. Ok...maybe its a private joke!
But more seriously, this thing has been teaching me something quite important. Its teaching me that the church in general takes itself much to seriously, and those of us leading them sometimes do too. Of course, our mission is of utmost importance, without a doubt....but then, you see, there are all the other things we've made it. Don't get me wrong, Trinity is an amazing place to be and my love for the people there grows daily, but like most other folks, we have our 'stuff'. So, Jesus and I grin quite a lot. I recommend it as a prayer exercise!
Back in early 2010, I had hit a massive submission moment in my life...a moment which lead to a whole load of other stuff happening. But it was a commitment to be true to Jesus above everything else. In the holiness movement, we'd call it a crisis moment that leads to a deeper consecration and commitment to the life of holiness. To regular joes, basically it was a whole notch up on my Jesus following compared to that point. I'd been following before, but there were things getting in the way. My desire was that he'd be the closer focus. I hope that its obvious that I've sought to be true to that. I've been seeking to be very much all about Jesus. The learning curve since then has been about evaluating what is necessary and which is expendable in the life of discipleship and maybe even leadership.
And he grins because I think the process has honoured him, but I also think there are some things that he has shown me that I've yet to have the courage to act upon or work out into doing. Some of those are really simple things. Others are fundamentally challenging and which I've actually shrunk back from dealing with. And that is the crux of inauthenticity.
So, I note this stuff down and we work on it together. Moving hopefully towards a new shade of authenticity all the whilst trying to keep the balance like the fiddler on the roof.