In recent weeks I’ve had a crisis of faith. Not faith in God or what I believe about Him, but more faith in myself and what I am capable of doing in my work at the church. As I have wrestled with this, I sometimes worry that I am a pastoral Harrison Barnes. Let me explain.
Harrison Barnes came in as one of the most hyped high school players in history, a pre-season All-American before he’d set foot on campus. He had the physical skills, the work ethic, and the demeanor to be a star. But it took over 2/3 of the season (and the promotion of Kendall Marshall to starting point guard) for him to blossom as a freshman. So naturally, expectations were sky high for his sophomore year at UNC.
It’s hard to call someone who averaged over 17 points per game and was a second-team All-American a disappointment, but in some senses, this season Barnes was just that. In big moments, when his team needed him, he disappeared, either by not stepping up or by overstepping up. He would either not take a shot, or he would overshoot and try to do more than he needed to. And as I watched him play, I couldn’t help but notice a guy who had physical skills but something seemed to be “off” in his heart. It was like he was trying to believe that he could be the big time player everyone said he was, but deep down, he just didn’t have it. And when Kendall Marshall got hurt, it exposed Barnes’ weaknesses.
So where does this tie in with me? I have a very good friend who is my champion, my Barnabas, in my work at church. He believes that I have skills to lead, that I am a gifted leader and equipper, that I invest in people and see change in their lives. I have had excellent training by InterVarsity and by my church and by my college degree.
Yet as I look at my life and ministry in certain areas, doubt has crept in because I don’t see people’s lives being changed. I wonder if I am really as effective as I might appear to be on the outside, and I wonder if a closer look might reveal way more weaknesses than were thought to be there. My fear is that, like Harrison when Kendall went down, I will be exposed and I will not live up to the expectations that I have for myself and that others have for me.
* Note: I know the right answers here. I know that nothing I do is up to me, that anything good that I do is by Christ in and through me, that it’s not up to me to produce results. For me, that is not the question I am wrestling with in this post… or is it? Stay tuned.