"I want to be a good minister and a good teacher. But if my achieving those goals becomes my real source of hope, my significance, my security, more important to me than God's love for me in Jesus, I experience a loss of identity. A pastor is always subject to criticism that can be discouraging when it inevitably happens. But if my preaching and ministry are my ultimate center and I get criticism, then I'm overcome with insecurity. Or when I fail to perform up to my expectations, I'm devastated. Inordinate guilt chins inside me. In the end I begin to disintegrate" (Keller, Tim, "King's Cross", pg. 204).
I read that quote some time back in January of this year and am just now getting around to sharing it. When I read it, it was like an arrow straight to the heart of my being. Today, I can tell you that the Holy Spirit has been working in me, helping me see and find my "significance" in Christ rather than in myself or in my role/calling as a pastor/preacher-teacher. And honestly, a lot of my wanting to be significant comes from me wanting to feel important rather than me wanting to see Christ exalted.
This cannot be.
So that was about three months ago when I read that. Today, here was what the Holy Spirit showed me out of my time with him in Colossians (especially Colossians 2:17):
When Jesus isn't the substance, you can be sure that nothing substantial is going to happen.
I'm feeling free. To be significant is pointless if it's about how I feel at the end of the day rather than how much Jesus has been noticed through me every moment of each day. But I can tell you that as I strive to make Jesus my substance, that the benefit of that is that freedom covers me and peace is a reality.