Have you heard this song by The Fray called Over My Head? It’s a catchy tune. I’m not really sure what the song is about, but the chorus speaks to me. Every time I hear it on the radio it reminds me of my own inner turmoil. Over and over throughout the song, the lead singer belts out:
“Everyone knows I’m in over my head, in over my head”
And as I hear those words I think, that’s me. I’m in over my head. I can’t do this church planting thing. I am too inadequate a leader. I’m not compelling enough as a preacher/teacher. I can’t balance the stress I feel and how it causes me to relate to my family. In these areas of my life and in so many more, I’m in over my head.
I am coming face-to-face with my absolute powerlessness to make this church plant work. I can’t do it. The only rational response is to quit. When there is an impossible task that stands before us, there is no use struggling through it only to fail. It’s impossible. It can’t be done, so why try? It’s not even worth attempting. Church planting feels like that to me — impossible. I run through all the scenarios of how things might play out, and I struggle to see how I can make it work. I just can’t do this!
But I can’t quit. I can’t stop believing that despite me this is something God wants to do. I believe that despite my personal inability to make this plant ‘work,’ God can. Despite the fact that at times my very actions, personality, and presence may hinder the growth of the church, God can still move things forward. He can hold our group together. He can nourish souls. He can show up and meet with people despite me. I am so in over my head. I cannot plant this church. But I have hope that God can.
I have hope that my faithfulness as a church planting pastor is not a prerequisite for God’s work. I don’t have to execute everything perfectly for this plant to work. God can do this despite me. My hope is in God alone and not my gifting or moral purity that merits God’s help. I have nothing else to hope in because I now doubt the sufficiency of my gifting and I’m too broken to delude myself about my moral purity. My only hope is that God helps those who need help. He is close to the broken-hearted, and he loves to show his strength in the midst of our weakness. This is my hope. I hope in a God who wants to reveal his strength through my weakness, because I have am very, very weak. I am in over my head, and now everyone knows — most importantly God knows.
Rom. 8:26 ¶ Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For bwe do not know what to pray for as we ought, but cthe Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
1Cor. 1:25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
1Cor. 2:3 And aI was with you bin weakness and in fear and much trembling,
1Cor. 15:43 It is sown in dishonor; git is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power.
2Cor. 11:30 ¶ rIf I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.
2Cor. 12:9 But he said to me, j“My grace is sufficient for you, for kmy power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that lthe power of Christ may rest upon me.
2Cor. 13:4 For rhe was crucified in weakness, but slives by the power of God. For twe also are weak in him, but in dealing with you uwe will live with him by the power of God.
Heb. 5:2 mHe can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself nis beset with weakness.
Heb. 11:34 mquenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, nbecame mighty in war, nput foreign armies to flight.