I Thought I’d Be There By Now: Confessions Of A Leader Who Hasn’t Arrived Yet!

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by Dale Sellers

I have a confession. . . I’ve always felt like a failure. And a bit embarrassed. There it is. I said it. I finally told you what I’ve felt about myself for years. I think this partly comes from always having had the rug pulled out from under me just before something incredible was about to happen. (There have been some big time “rug pullings” in my life!)

Don’t misunderstand me. I’ve been faithfully married to my wonderful wife Gina for 31 years. We have three of the most amazing daughters you will ever meet. Our son-in-laws are awesome men. I led two music groups and traveled for 10 years doing over 1,100 concerts in 35 states. I served in numerous roles at a church of 1,200 members. I worked for a Christian radio station and was a Senior Pastor for 12 years at a church that grew from 25 to 250. I’ve done dozens of weddings, funerals and baby dedications. And I’ve mentored and counseled hundreds of people.

My family and friends have encouraged me to write books over the years. I guess they see something in me they think is worth sharing. However, my constant excuse for not writing has been rather simple, “Why would anyone want to read what I have to say? I’m not successful.” In other words, I haven’t built a mega-church by age 30. I don’t speak at the big events that draw thousands. And I haven’t even appeared on Christian television! I don’t have 50,000 Twitter followers. And I haven’t been able to tell everyone that my Facebook page is too full to accept any more friends.

You see, the problem I have is that I thought I would have arrived by now.

Most leaders of small ministries believe they will eventually have large ones. And I know that I’m not alone. For every mega-ministry there are thousands of not-so-mega ministries led by people with dreams and callings.

Maybe you’re like me, living every day with unfulfilled dreams and a burning desire to make a difference on a larger scale. Let me share a few thoughts to help you “hold on” until you get there:

  1. Don’t ever let go of your dream. I once asked a friend this question, “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” His answer was, “I’d start a church.” He did. . . His name is Perry Noble. . . You probably know the rest of the story. According to Habakkuk 2:3, “The vision is yet for an appointed time. . .” I don’t know when your dream will come to light, but I do know it will never be seen if you give up!
  2. Be honest about your giftedness. This is a tough one. I’ve observed so many leaders over the years living in frustration because they were attempting to do something without the gifts to accomplish it. One of the biggest lies told to us as children is that we can be anything we want to be. That’s just not true. Remember that if the horse you’ve been riding is dead, then it’s time to dismount! Continuing to beat it will just wear you out! It’s time to ride the stallion of your giftedness into the land of your potential.
  3. You don’t control the timing. My wife made a really cool observation many years ago about God opening doors of opportunity. She noticed that promotion usually involves Him moving in other people’s lives at the same time He’s working in yours. Zechariah 4:10 reminds me “to not despise the day of small things (or beginnings.)” Remain faithful and focused while waiting for the dream to be fulfilled.
  4. Please stop comparing yourself to others. I know it’s the American thing to do, but you’ve got to stop measuring yourself against the success of others. Comparison drains all of the life right out of you. In fact, if you continue down the comparison road you may find that you’ve created an idol out of ministry!
  5. Most importantly you need to enjoy the journey. I may have at times felt like I’ve failed at fulfilling my dream, but I’ve been successful at what matters most. I have a family I put before ministry that loves me very much. A friend of mine tweeted this simple thought that radically changed my approach to success. He said, “You can’t let God down because you’re not holding him up.” I used to live every day of my life thinking that I was going to let Jesus down if I didn’t build some huge ministry. I prayed every day, “Oh Lord, please don’t let me die without fulfilling my purpose!” Wow! No one can hold up under that much pressure.

I’m no longer worried that I will personally mess up God’s grand design in the universe if I never reach “mega-status.” I’ve come to realize that God just wants to bring His life to me and then through me. We must above all be faithful in that.

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Dad_s_Twitter_Pic2Dale Sellers has been in ministry for over 30 years serving in many leadership positions as well working in the corporate field. He recently launched Dale Sellers Leadership Inc. to assist organizations in the areas of leadership, inspiration and evangelism. He has gained a wealth of knowledge from his three decades of experience. He and Gina have two married daughters and one who is a student at Clemson University. You can contact him at dalesellersleadership@gmail.com.

Photo Credit: cafemama via Compfight cc

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