by Daniel Fusco
Christ brought us together through his death on the cross. The Cross got us to embrace, and that was the end of the hostility. Christ came and preached peace to you outsiders and peace to us insiders. He treated us as equals, and so made us equals. Through him we both share the same Spirit and have equal access to the Father. Ephesians 2:16-17
Right after I lost my mother, I ended up alone, back at my college apartment. And I remember feeling like things had basically shut down and turned off. The taste and flavor of life had disappeared. Every color was a shade of gray. So I climbed into my bed with my clothes on, and I pulled the covers up over my head. I’m not leaving, I told myself. This is where I’m gonna stay. Two hours later, I suddenly tossed back the covers and sat up. What the heck am I doing—Mom would kill me if she saw me doing this!
That was the prompt I needed. I got up from my bed and got on with life.
But here’s the thing: life didn’t get easier. I was still crushed by losing my mom. Destroyed. Like a house where the foundation had just been swept away, and it was only a matter of time until I collapsed. My circumstances did not change one bit between the time I climbed in bed and climbed back out.
But here’s the other thing: even though life didn’t get easier, I didn’t get bitter.
Leading is hard. Really hard. And things often don’t go as we would have hoped.
Bitterness and hopelessness are very common among us as leaders. It can be such a normal part of our experience that we fail to recognize its presence, let alone its impact. But as GI Joe famously said, “Knowing is half the battle.”
Each one of us must always choose hope. We must always show up. No matter what. And we have to submit to the work of the Spirit to allow Jesus to make us better instead of bitter. But this is a choice that we have to make every day.
So how are you dealing with the discouragements?
How have you chosen to stop fighting the righteous battles in front of you?
Have discouragements made you bitter or better?
Where is Jesus looking to do a transformational work in you?
Daniel Fusco is the Lead Pastor at Crossroads Community Church in Vancouver, WA and author of Honestly: Getting Real About Jesus and Our Messy Lives