The Burdens that came with 2014

I wrote this post last year and I felt like it has stayed with me, the honest confessing feeling of: THIS IS WHAT MY YEAR WAS LIKE. There were some crazy high points, some lows. There was a lot of work, family events, vacations, normal days, awful days, and special days. But as an introspective + deep thinker, when I look back on a span of time, I really look back on the burdens. What was keeping me up at night? What was convicting? Where was the Lord messing me up? So here’s my honest look back at 2014 with that lens.

Care, don’t Carry
The beginning of 2014 found me as the wife to a church planter of a baby, baby, baby church plant. Gospel Community launched on January 19th, 2014 and it was beautiful and exciting and emotional and a long season of waiting and work coming to fruition. Charleston is over 60% female and our church is no exception and we suddenly had all of these wonderful women in our life. College aged women, young singles, new moms, it was beautiful. But what I found is that each and every time I heard some one’s story or stepped into their life, I had the proclivity to then try and carry their burdens and in essence – I tried to even carry them spiritually. They rarely asked for it, but I did it anyhow. I wanted to hope for them, grieve for them, repent for them – or at the very least, maybe I believed I needed to do it WITH them? I’m not sure. It was messy.

I spent a lot of days feeling emotionally overwhelmed and a lot of datenights crying until another church planter’s wife got ahold of me and spoke these words – You’ve got to care, but you cannot carry. And you’ve got to learn the difference. I didn’t know what in the world that would look like but I think it started for me with a lot of humility. I screwed up a lot at carrying people and that failure helped send me back to the cross, back to what my real job is. I think over time, really the Lord just kind of made that shift and He corrects me when I step back into carrying zone. But yeah, that was a messy broken piece of this year.

Desiring Loyalty is Gross
I’ve read a lot of “church planter’s wife” books and blog posts, but nothing prepared me for how I’d struggle with loyalty. I had a general fear of the first people who’d leave our church, but I’m also an eternal optimist – so I guess I kind of thought it would be amicable and happy always. I wish I was joking.

The truth is – as church planters – when you pitch your dream, your vision, a lot of people will affirm, but few people will be set on fire by it. I kept waiting for someone else to stay awake at night talking about the church with us or dream for Charleston the way we did, but they didn’t and that’s ok. What they did do? Show up – quietly. Faithfully. Servant-heartedly. Trusting us. But also some people doubted it. Some people questioned it. Some people critiqued it. Some people were incredibly turned off by our execution and left. And you know what? That is ok too. That is very ok.

But I found myself using the word “loyalty” a lot in the summer. I felt like I, as the pastor’s wife, had to be so crazy loyal to everyone and no one could be that for me. I craved someone ANYONE to say – We’re here! We’re with you! We care about this and we’re never, ever, ever leaving. But that’s not what the Kingdom is about. The Kingdom is about fluid people, walking with Jesus separately and walking together when the time is right.

So while I was hurting over people not being loyal to me, I think the Lord was mourning me not wanting them to just be loyal to Him. And I regret that time. Desiring loyalty to yourself is gross. You have Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and God the Father on your side as a believer, that’s plenty.

Christianity + Fame
If you heard me speak anywhere this year or we had coffee or you came to my house, you probably heard me have some sort of mini-rant about Christianity and fame. It just hit a boiling point in my heart this year and I felt like the Holy Spirit very lovingly let it bubble up and come out so I could process and make some decisions. The only way I know how to talk about it now is a place of personal conviction, because my heart is straight up fatigued from the pride I’ve had in this area as I observe others. 

So here’s where I stand:
I’m broken by the way Christians have adopted such a secular view of fame for our leaders.  I’m broken over the ways I’ve contributed to that as a pastor’s wife, speaker, blogger, and a writer.  I am diligently working on guarding my heart to remember that the fame of God is all that matters. I am spending time confessing ways that I find myself building my own Kingdom instead of His. I’m committed to allowing bold and honest people to speak into my life and call me out when I adopt anything resembling the world’s picture of fame into my life, including but not limited to: spending too much money on stupid stuff that will burn, demanding attention or encouragement, saying yes only to gain approval or build my own Kingdom, traveling too much and burning my family out, and acting differently than I do “on stage” than I do in my living room.

Those were my biggie burdens for the year. There were probably a billion other convictions and heavy thoughts swirling in my heart and head, but those were the main themes.

I’d love to hear about yours as we look back on 2014.

Jessi Connolly10 Comments