Disappointed in People? Look Up!
One thing I have learned about life is that people sometimes look to a leader or a stronger Christian to love them and help them with their needs. When people are looking for help from leadership, that leader could be a pastor or a church, someone in government, a family member, or a community. It could be a doctor, an employer, a lawyer, or an accountant; but nothing is certain and no one is infallible. It could be a friend or fellow Christian.
As a pastor, I’m the tangible one in the role of a shepherd who does have some responsible to care for the needs of people, but more importantly, my role is to lead people to the Chief Shepherd to ultimately meet their needs. Often I see people looking to me for a sense of fulfillment, acceptance, and belonging. I know that I can’t complete a person – but I know who can. I can love people, but not like He does. I can comfort people, but not like He can. I can help provide and guide and lead and feed, but not like the Lord. My job is to pray and point them to Him.
In addition, I’ve also seen God work on people because He is maturing them, and often it has nothing to do with me as a pastor or a person. The Lord might be working on their fears, their shame, or their guilt. He might be healing hurts, untwisting lies, removing strongholds, or increasing strength. Because He is invisible and I am not, people could look to me through their process of development, and I have to point them back to God. I might see their insecurities, hear their criticism, and feel their struggle, but at the end of the day, I’m not the one who is working on them – God is. My job is to pray and point people to Him.
Furthermore, we all fight a common enemy – Satan. That scoundrel is always looking to prey on us when we’re vulnerable. He knows our triggers. He knows our weaknesses. He wants to devour. He wants to divide. So what do we do as leaders or friends? Our job is to pray and point people back to God.
In Luke 22:31-32 Jesus said to Peter, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” Jesus knew God was permitting Peter to go through a trial. His job was to pray and point Peter to the Father.
When I was young in my faith, I remember looking to women leaders in our church to help me to know my identity as a woman called to leadership. Instead of finding mentors, I found a meanness. I was pushed to the outside of their circle. I felt like an outcast, rejected and alone. I took their criticisms and accusations to heart, and their cattiness began to shape my self-image. Later on, God found me, and asked me to find my identity in Him. He didn’t reject me. He chose me, and He gave me the love I longed for. He gave me a place of belonging where I could fulfill my purpose and calling. Those women leaders were not pointing me to Jesus; they were pushing me away. Even though they aren’t in my life anymore and could still hold onto their opinions of me, I had to forgive them. When I did, I allowed the Father to mend me and reshape me into His design. I had to take my eyes off of them and put them onto Him.
Psalm 121 was a Scripture God often gave me through my process of transformation. In the first two verses it says, “I will lift up my eyes to the hills—From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” Times in prayer about my identity and purpose, God would ask for my attention. He asked me to look up, in the spirit and to Him, requiring me to take my eyes off of other people and off of myself. It’s not easy to do when you are young and don’t have that knowledge of your true identity and purpose. It isn’t easy when you have heard the criticisms and the lies from so-called comrades. It isn’t easy when you have been the victim of people who are in their own struggles. It’s like we’ve been set up to fail, set up by the enemy. But God is on our side, even in our immaturity, our failures, and our fight. He is merciful, gracious, and relentless in His pursuit of us.
Maybe you are in a place where you are searching for help.
Maybe you are in a place where God is developing you.
Maybe you are in a place where the enemy is sifting you like wheat.
Maybe you are like I was – immature and lacking knowledge and wisdom, hurting and in need of love and restoration, bound and in need of truth and freedom.
A good leader will do what they can with what they have, but a good leader is going to point you to the Lord. A good Christian leader will point you to find your wholeness, your growth, and your freedom in God through Christ. If God is working on you, it’s because God loves you. He wants you to overcome! When going through a maturation process, let’s stir each other to look up! Our help comes from the Lord, and He is everything we need.