I am a perfectionist at heart. I like to have a controlled environment. I want to be able to see my dreams and endeavors to their proper conclusions. There is a sense of satisfaction in that, a sense of accomplishment. To be in a state of disorder or incompleteness is one of the most stress inducing experiences for me. And yet it seems like these days in ministry, all my work is all rough drafts. Its all starts. Its all important things that need beginnings but that I am not allowed to see through to the end. This is really challenging for me. To live in a life of labor all surrounded by rough drafts. It is unsatisfying. It is anxiety inducing. And it is very formative.
“I planted, Apollos watered, and God gives the growth.” The very essence of christian ministry, in any form that it may take, is a surrender of control. It is a paradox that we labor so hard for the desired results. And yet, very often, God does not allow us to see them, or even to finish the beginnings that we start. We are often left in a state of longing. A state of unrest. An unrest that drives us more and more into the heart of our God. He gives the growth, both in the hearts and labors that we give our selves to, and in ourselves.
Peter tells us that we are to “humble (ourselves) under the mighty hand of God, that at the proper time he may exalt us, Casting all your anxieties upon him, for he cares for you.” Living a life of perpetual rough drafts is, at the end of the day, pride crushing. Endurance comes, not from the satisfaction of complete labor, but completeness of Christ. Though I am in a state of limbo here on earth, my state in Christ is all but undetermined. He has made me new, made me a son in his kingdom. Though my labors often feel like rough drafts, I know that my life itself is not a rough draft but a final draft that is yet to be published. Some day I will see that. For now I draw my strength on the daily reality that he cares for me. And that in my imperfect work, he is working perfection.