The last three months have been tough.  I love our team; I love the ministry; I love what God is doing in us and through us.  However, I’ve also come to realize that I’m working outside of my primary gifts and strengths.  This simple fact has worn me down.  In these last three months, I’ve lost my focus – that obsession with doing those things that only I can do, and doing them with excellence!

Three of our key leaders are gone right now; they’ve been on home assignment (furlough) since December.  It wasn’t planned that they’d all be gone at the same time… but life happens. One of these leaders is something of a project manager, handling the organization of events and special projects.  She also does a lot of other intangibles, following through on a lot of details that would otherwise falls through the cracks!  Another of these leaders handles the organization and communications for our short-term teams and interns.  The third leader oversees the pastoral care of our team, organizing our team fellowships, prayer days, and other ways to build-up our team.  [By the way, I look forward to joyfully welcoming them back very soon!]

As you might imagine, the absence of these leaders has created some real gaps!  Unfortunately, I’ve been filling those gaps.  So, as a result of my own mistakes (whether from a lack of planning, lack of communication, or love of control), I’m overextended and overcommitted.  In short, I’m unfocused.

In my role as leader, I love to start fires – fanning into flame the gifts of God in our team and the passions of teammates.  Over these few months, however, I don’t feel like I’ve stirred up enough fires!  As leader, I love to dream.  I’ve been called to lead out in front of our team, to help the team envision and work towards a brighter tomorrow for the good of refugees in Greece and the glory of God.  Swamped by administrative needs, though, I feel that my mind has been more focused on today than on envisioning a better tomorrow.  And most significantly in my heart, I love to preach the gospel.  I believe that my primary gifting is to teach and preach the gospel, but I haven’t been able to focus on teaching.  In fact, for this (hopefully short) season, I’ve had to put aside many of my regular teaching times… and those few times that I’ve been able to teach, I haven’t had the energy and imagination that the Word of God deserves.  This frustrates me and saddens me.  Needless to say, I’m praying for patience; I’m praying for God’s timing (for the next teaching opportunities); I’m praying for focus.

Now, despite my tone above, don’t worry about me.  I’m not down and depressed, because God is doing great things! But in the midst of this very real excitement, there is also frustration.  I often share the excitement; I don’t talk enough about my frustrations.  I felt like revealing something from that side today.  Can you relate?

5 thoughts on “Focus & Frustration

  1. Brett,

    Wow, I hear you loud and clear on this issue! I think you score “hight” on self-awareness … and this is good. I have a couple of thoughts for you but let me know if there is anything else I can do to help.

    Thoughts: As you mention, you can only work outside of your primary strengths for so long … and I trust that you have a clear “time frame” when this will end.

    Be prepared to take time to fully recuperate. In my experiences, it takes 2-3 times as long to fully recover your passion, if you’ve been in an extended period of “covering for others”. Now take heart, you will feel relief as soon as people return to their posts, and your energy may pick up quickly. However, at some point you’ll reflect back over the learning through this period and realize that your full passion took time to re-surface.

    Lastly I would say, guard your heart! It can be all too easy for frustration to turn into bitterness or even hopelessness. You need to voice your frustrations to a close friend and thus reduce their “power” to overcome your primary motivation.

    Skype me if need someone to talk to!

    Blessings brother … Neil

    1. Great, Neil. Thanks for the input. Really helpful – especially the need to guard the heart. I’ve seen how quickly frustration can turn into bitterness, especially if my heart is not in the right place. I keep having to check my heart – to see if it’s humble and God-focus, or proud and rights- or victim-focused.

      I’m thankful to God for a great support system here… but I really appreciate your willingness to chat! Thanks brother!

  2. Brett – as one of those people on furlough I can tell you we are ready to be home in Greece as well. I have found myself often frustrated with trying to think about short term teams and individuals when I am trying to focus on sharing with people here in the states about the work there. Kent has had a chance to preach several times and his message has been about the importance of being on a TEAM. We are so thankful to be serving with you and the others on our team there and we look forward to all being in the same place again. We love you and miss you. See you in a few weeks!

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