Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Tension

Last Sunday I led worship in the French service at our church. The "worship leader" in a French church service does pretty much everything except the sermon: welcome, announcements, scripture reading, etc.While many people said how much they enjoyed the worship, two dear women made a point of telling me that my mistakes and my accent were "cute." They laughed as if sharing an inside joke.

Outwardly I smiled, inwardly I cringed.

Sometimes I feel like I will never, ever be able to speak French well enough to do the ministry to which we have been called. I was discouraged, disappointed, and depressed.

If I am honest, I have to admit that the ROOT of my discouragement, disappointment, and depression is pride. I want to be great. I want to be perfect. I want to be impressive. I don't want to make mistakes, not even "cute" ones.

God let me wrestle with that all day Monday.

It seems that much of the Christian life is lived in a tension. There is the tension between being IN the world but not OF the world. There is the tension of being WISE as serpents but INNOCENT as lambs. There is the tension of SERVANT-LEADERSHIP. To all of these the answer is not "either-or" but "yes-and."

I am learning to live in that tension between continually striving for excellence and accepting that God can work in spite of my weakness. To sit back and say, "oh well, I'll never speak perfect French, I might as well not try" would be irresponsible, lazy, and worst of all, disrespectful to the French people that I am called to serve. If I want to serve them well, I need to press on. On the other hand, to say "I am not going to do ministry in this country until I have mastered the language" would be stubborn, haughty and worst of all disobedient to the God who brought me here. If I want to serve Him well, I need to let go.

To press on towards excellence AND to let go of the need to be excellent--this is my call. This is the tension in which I am called to live.

After letting me wrestle with the tension on Monday, the Lord met me in a special way on Tuesday.

To be continued....


  1. Love that fact that you share your internal spiritual struggles, Jenn. In fact, I just love your sharing you life with us! It gives me a boost as I attempt to wrestle with my own challenges. I Love you!

  2. Jen,
    You have spoken words of truth for me, too. The tension of living with my flesh in the world while being called to live in the Spirit for the Lord. My pride has been raging today. Thank you for your transparency which ministers light to the dark places of my heart!

  3. Continue to sit with your feelings, but allow the Holy Spirit to enter you, so that these strong feeling parts don't overwhelm your system.