Honesty is such a difficult thing when you feel like you are suppose to have a smile on all the time due to being a person others look to for joy and inspiration. To just be real can be a difficult thing. I have learned that being open is by far the best thing for my own soul, but it is still difficult.
Standards seemed to be placed on people who are attempting to lead or encourage others to experience the joy of following the Lord. By this I mean, it seems they are expected to not be human and have struggles of their own. I recently had a conversation in which a person said they wanted a pastor who was not "fake." When asked to explain, what they were looking for was a person who always lived like he preached. I thought to myself, "Wow, that pastor is in some deep waters. He is not allowed to be human!"
Truth is, shepherds have their human moments here on earth. No shepherd has ever perfectly tended his sheep except for One. All other shepherd, whether they tend real sheep or the "tow legged, non wooly" ones have made mistakes, and will continue to do so. It is part of living in a fallen world. Excuse? NO! Just truth. Shepherds, those who are attempting to tend to the lambs of God need to be seen for who they are, humans who struggle just like the rest.
In fact, I dare say, a shepherd who is given the privilege to be open with his real struggles will make a much better shepherd (pastor) than those who are expected to be "perfect" and always live what they preach. How much freedom would pour out if those who we hold to such high standards were allowed to openly admit and confess their faults and struggles. How much victory would be given them if they could say, "I am a human and I screwed up!" instead of just smiling and faking their way through a Sunday morning worship service.
To go one step further! How much freedom would you have today if you were allowed to confess your sins and failures knowing you would still be loved and accepted! How much victory would be gained over sin if we allowed one another to confess our sins knowing forgiveness was an absolute given before the sin was even mentioned?
So I have some Good News for you! There is a Pastor, a Shepherd, who has already agreed to accept you just like you are, faults, failures, and all. His name is Jesus Christ! His wounded feet run to your side as his wounded hands embrace you where you are. The scar in his side presses hard against you as He draws you closer and holds you tighter. He says to you, he says to me, "I love you! I accept you just as you are, faults, failures, sins, hatred, confusion, anxiety, depression, frustrations, and even your anger toward me. You can scream and yell all you want, it will not change my love for you. I have come to love you till death brings us together! I AM yours and you are forever mine!"
So today, I am being honest, yesterday hit me like a ton of bricks. Today I woke up mad at the one who has given his all to love me. The weights of this world are crushing against me and I am suppose to smile and write happy words today for the upcoming devotional book. But today, I am mad, frustrated, angry, and hurt. I feel crushed, broken, bleeding, and on all sides I feel the pressure to never mess up because eyes are on me. It is like I cannot break character with this image that has been imposed on me simply because I like talking about Jesus and sheep. However, I am real, my flesh bleeds and my heart aches. I wrestle with the call to be a follower when my nature is to lead. I watch others around me be lifted up and I wonder when will my time come to be brought out of this darkness I feel around me. So I shake my fist at the one who holds me and I, like Job, dare to demand an answer from Him. Only to again feel the crushing weight of His glory around me. It is almost too much to bear. As I gasp for one last breath, crying out for the rocks to just crush me, I can barely see the glimpse of a nail scarred hand reaching down toward me.......
My ears strain and my mind wonders if I truly heard what was just whispered in my ear.....
"I love you son and I am very pleased with you, despite all your failures, faults, shortcomings, frustrations, anger and hatred of the life I have put before you. If you could only see this huge smile on my face because it looks a lot like the one you have when you look at your kids despite the fact they mess up and make mistakes. You never quit loving them, and I will never stop being pleased with you!"
Hope my frustrations can bring you some joy and freedom today. Freedom to admit your faults and joy to enjoy His satisfaction with you.