Start Over. Start Here.

This week I had one of those days that makes you want to quit – quit trying, quit hoping, quit working, quit showing up, quit putting yourself out there, just quit.

I’m probably not supposed to tell you I have those days. I’m a pastor. I’m a leader. I’m supposed to see truth, rise above, be good enough and holy enough and “enough enough” to lay down my selfish desires and my pride and my feelings. Surely Mother Theresa didn’t have bad days…

But I do. I’m so good at them that sometimes I have bad weeks just because I’m in the zone.

This particular day was so ugly that my husband looked at me with big eyes after hearing about some of it and said, “Babe, you just need to start over tomorrow.”

Start over.

I’m tired of starting over. I’m tired of putting it all down and letting things go. I want to feel like the ladder to the finish line is getting closer and less like I’m taking the chute back down to square one. I’ve started over, and I’ve started over again – and, heck, I’m even a starter by nature. I like to start things. And yet, there has to be more than starting over and remembering His mercies are new every morning. (I mean, that’s good and all, but…)

Start over.

And so, I got up at 4:45. I ran my four miles. I helped get my kids out the door and on their way to school. I drank my coffee. I read my Bible. I drank more coffee. I listened to a podcast driving into work. More coffee. I prepped for staff meeting. I answered a couple of emails.

I was starting over, only everything still felt the same. I knew I was still bracing for whatever hit may come next or first in the new day. And then it hit me (the other kind of hit) – it’s not simply the starting over, it’s also the place from which we start.

My inclination is to start over with more effort, greater grit, higher capacity, but that’s all starting with me, me, me – and Jesus says, “Come here.”

Start here. We don’t work out of our own capacity. We get to work out of His…because grace.

I’m still sorting through some of the crazy of this week and also moving on to what’s next, but some of you probably need this reminder too.

It’s almost never as bad as it seems in the moment. Whenever we’re stretched, we’re vulnerable to so many lies our brains want to write to help us explain what we can’t understand.

And so, we rest.

Start over.

Start here.

5 Comments on “Start Over. Start Here.”

  1. Key words –
    “Starting with me, me, me”
    “our own capacity”
    “vulnerable to so many lies”
    “what we can’t understand”

    First, thanks for the reminder that this is not our fight, it belongs to Jesus and we need to get Him on the front lines everyday. As you know, the battle that rages and never ever takes a break, is the battle that Jesus has already claimed victory over, so our daily surrender and empowerment of the Holy Spirit from our hearts guarantees us that same victorious life.

    Everyday I yearn to grow in that kind of life – truly led by His spirit in absolute freedom from all that this world and the enemy throws at us.

    What we do understand is that the enemy is the father of lies who is doing his best to build his kingdom. And I am positive beyond any doubt that you are square in his crosshairs to destroy what God is building at ARC.

    Christie and I pray for you, your family and the staff every morning knowing that you are a primary target that could derail so much of what ARC is doing. You, more than anyone, know how critical your surrender and connection to His Spirit will lead you (and us) to victory! It will keep you strong!

    Sorry for writing so much stuff that you already know, just felt it was good to let you know that you are not alone!


  2. Not sure what happened but we have come to far to quit now, 9 years, if it something I can help with please let me know

  3. Jenn, thank you for this reminder. It is so easy to think we are on our own, even while we are preaching to others that they are not. It is one of the beautiful and hideous ironies of Faith. We appreciate you, your leadership, your willingness to be vulnerable and show us your humanity. We also appreciate the strength you show, through your grit, yes, but mostly through your willingness to hand it all over to God at the most crucial moments when everything is telling you to hold tighter.

  4. Jenn,

    This cuts to the core of what it means to have Faith! You really put yourself out there with this particular blog. Not sure I could be that open and honest. Maybe that’s just the retired Marine in me which says don’t show any weakest (or doubt) at anytime. BUT, sometimes I think it’s a matter of prospective. I have just recently started watching Ashley Ridge Church on youtube. What I see is an amazing organization being built “brick by brick.” Quality worship experience all the way from the amazing band (love the drummer by the way) to the well thought out and relevant messages!

    You have harnessed vision, sense of purpose and unity of effort among your staff and congregation. A very difficult thing to do for a leader and you and your organization should be very proud!

    If you haven’t been involved in church planting or a church plant (and I have), I’m not really sure one can appreciate the difficulties and challenges that awaits (especially the financial). Sometimes it’s not the “Long and Winding Road” (The Beatles) that does us in, but the shear length of the road itself as the distance to cover and overcome is so great.

    Any good leader has to depend on the people they surround themselves with, and from what I have seen, you have really good people doing great things! The fact that you can share your feelings and emotions in such an articulate and honest way, tells me you are more than up to the challenges that await!

    Thanks for sharing as I have found your blogs not only inspiring but comforting!


    • Thank you so much for your comment and encouragement, Derrick! I can tell you are familiar with the church planting world. I’m so glad you found us on YouTube!

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