What do you do when you can’t fix it all?
To be upfront: that is always.
Sure, we can fix things a little at times. We definitely have influence, but there is so much that is much more systemic than our own reach. Or the impact has rippled throughout many relationships and people, and we simply don’t have the insight or the ability to completely remedy and repair everything that’s fractured.
That doesn’t mean we don’t have hope—and responsibility.
Recently, someone asked me my thoughts on a particular issue. After being transparent, I was challenged with a broader question of how I thought others in my church would respond.
Well, some would be similar. Some would be different. And some I am not sure.
Maybe you could change that, because things need to change.
Yes, things need to change in some ways. We should always be growing. We should always be relying on God to prune and refine our lives so that our character becomes more like his. But (1) I don’t have it all figured out, and (2) I can’t posture other people to receive either what I offer, or more importantly, what God offers.
I have influence. I don’t want to downplay it for a minute, because I have a responsibility to not only live an authentic faith but to do so in a way that encourages others to do the same, even if their journeys appear to be very different from mine. Perhaps a better way to phrase it is I have witness. Even when I don’t realize the influence I might have on others, my life is a witness. I don’t get to decide who I influence and how, because my witness is always on. It impacts people I know well and those I don’t know at all. Witness reaches a birds’ eye view and an alleyway detour. Witness appears to be primarily about my reach to others, but it is first and foremost between me and God.
We see our influences as something powerful, but it’s what comes from within us that we truly live out—not what we muster within ourselves but what we yield to in how God created us and the purpose he knows we can become. He is truly the power. We can rely on misguided power or well-focused, spiritually healthy power, which comes more from humility and faith than position.
God never intends for our witness to be perfect. He blends our weaknesses and imperfections into the context of his character, and others catch a glimpse of our progress in his faithfulness. It will take us places and other people places or at least some influence on where they go. Some of those places we want and some we don’t.
Witness matters. It’s not the least of what we offer but the most. It’s less about a result and more about the process.
Be humble. Be disciplined. Be God’s.