A few years ago, shortly after we first planted the Junction Church in Loughborough, I found myself at a Hillsong leaders meeting in London. As I sat in there, I have to be really honest with you, I did not enjoy it. Read on and I’ll explain…
During the course of the meeting, I found myself engaging in an internal conversation about why I felt so uncomfortable. It wasn’t because of the speaker – he was brilliant. Nor was it to do with the music – it was excellent. And the welcome was outstanding too. So what was my issue? What could possibly have been so bad that I needed to escape? The reason was….ME. I was the issue.
As I listened to other people who were accomplishing amazing things, I felt intimidated by what I heard. It touched on an insecurity in my heart. You see, we were struggling at that time with a mere 30 strong congregation each Sunday. Resources were scarce and we had just a very small handful of committed people. Frankly, it was tough going. So the more I heard about the amazing things happening in other churches around Europe, the more this seemed to accentuate my own feelings of inadequacy, vulnerability and lack.
Yet as I sat in that meeting, two words kept coming into my mind. I believe they were God’s way of speaking to me. The two words were: ‘Embrace intimidation‘.
It is too easy to surrender to our insecurities and embrace comfort instead. It is what SO many people do. But when we only settle in environments where we feel a sense of permission to do whatever we want, this is a massive hindrance to personal growth. We will only ever grow according to the size of our surroundings. The lack of any genuine challenge is extremely unhealthy and will always keep you small.
That day in the Hillsong leaders meeting, I chose to stay and embrace the intimidation. It was scary – but it was good. I decided that I would celebrate the success of others, not feel threatened by it. I resisted the temptation to run away from my insecurities, and confront them instead. I made intimidation my friend, not my enemy.
The thing about intimidation is that he’s not a poodle who soothes and comforts you. No, he’s more of a ‘kick butt’ type of coach…and this is GOOD. In the end, it’s all about the state of our own heart. We can choose to live in insecurity and become easily offended by the success of others – OR – we can get inspired, take up the challenge and then work with what we have. The latter is what makes all the difference.
If you are ever going to reach your God-given potential, then don’t settle for the safety of mediocrity. Embrace intimidation instead, no-matter how uncomfortable it may feel.