Weight

I’ve been feeling a lot of pressure. While I can’t see it, I can feel it.

Weight.

Something pressing’s down on me. Many things, actually. And they’re not bad things. They’re good things. In fact, they’re God-ordained things.

Serving my wife, stewarding my kids, taking care of our home, investing into people, building the local church, growing kingdom businesses that influence communities, creating art that changes hearts.

Every one of these topics have high price tags of time, energy and money. And they each have severe ramifications if I make mistakes.

Legitimately.

And yet they weight me down.

So is the weight something I’m to be afraid of? To fear?

How about to avoid? That seems to be the most common advice I give myself. That’s the advice most well meaning people give. Avoid the weight. Look for ways to offload it. It’s unhealthy. It’s not God. If you’re not at peace with it, look for where you’re being disobedient.

But what if not giving myself to any of those things is the disobedience?

I’m also inspired by a quote form one of T.D. Jake’s famous sermons, The Weight of Glory:

The conduit from laity to leadership is discomfort.

What if the discomfort of my life is the very thing that qualifies me to lead? To stand in front of my family, my friends, my church, my businesses, and say, “Follow me as I follow the Lord.”

I’m inspired by the life and letters of the Apostle Paul, knowing that affliction is the gateway for glory.

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

What if the very tactic of the enemy is to get me to believe the “burn out” lie? To subtly convince me to “take it easy.” To “quit” one thing or another “because it’s hard, and I’m so tired.”

If anxiety and burdens are the enemy of the first-world Christian, how can I consciously avoid lines like this in what most scholars believe is the first written text of the New Testament?

And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. 2 Corinthians 11:28

I can feel the loving eyes of the Father staring at me as I complain about my circumstances. As I moan about one issue or another. About how hard I have it. The past several days, it’s been a minute by minute awareness. He’s checking me. Testing me.

•••

This past Sunday was the most frustrating tech Sunday at New Life. Ever. Four days before, our building was struck by lightning, so by Sunday, my tech department was finding more and more ghosts in the systems. Lights stopped working, lyrics stopped going up on screens, audio sends weren’t feeding. And I have no hair left to pull out.

Meanwhile, on stage, Jamie Wright was talking about victims of sex trafficking and how The Exodus Road is working covertly to rescue them.

Could God be speaking any more loudly to me?

•••

I think I’m mining gold now. I think I’m arriving at a divine conclusion. I feel God forging it deep within me. And I’m becoming profoundly certain of a heavenly truth.

The best way to keep from spoiling our position is to correct our attitude.

And what is my attitude to be?

That I live like a king. That pastors dream about having the “problems” I do. That since I’ve been given so much, much is required of me (Luke 12:48). Anything less than my very best not only belittles my calling and my position, but mocks the one who knew I can stand here and lead. And serve.

I’ve never met a grateful person who was burnt out.

Keep going today.

Don’t give up.

Tomorrow will take care of itself. You just be obedient today.

Souls are waiting on the other side of your obedience.

Ultimately, it’s obedience that the Holy Spirit is looking for (Psalm 40:6, 1 Samuel 15:22).

ch:

  • Erica D Lehman

    Ever since I found out all you do a few years ago, I’ve sometimes wondered how one guy can be all these things. Nearly ten years ago, when I was a young teen and 90.1 was WWJS, I found out about you when you mentioned your band on the station. You were advertising a concert. I didn’t know the rest until after I heard you at JCC in the student lounge and went to this site.

    • Christopher Hopper

      Thanks, Erica. Those were great days!

      It’s with the help of the Holy Spirit that we can do all He’s called us to.

      • Erica D Lehman

        The WWJS days or the student lounge concerts in fall 2010? I was the one that said I like spaghetti and seat danced.

  • sarah novak

    One of the best gut punches I have received in a while. Perhaps i feel so weak me cause i haven’t been working my strength. Perhaps my weight wouldn’t be so heavy if i found the joy in it.

    • Christopher Hopper

      I think joy can be found even in work that doesn’t bring us happiness on the surface. It means digging much deeper, though, and finding joy in the most fundamental elements. Like, “Thanks for the clean water that I’m mopping this crusty floor with.” Certainly there’s something to be said for joyful work; but I often think God doesn’t release it to us until we’re faithful with the work that’s harder to appreciate.

  • Sverker Blyth

    “You just be obedient today” … these are the words I’m gonna take with me from this post …

    • Christopher Hopper

      So glad it’s a help to you, my friend.

  • Rebekah

    Boom son. Couldn’t have been a more timely post.

    • Christopher Hopper

      For all you do for me, glad I could type a few things that serve you. You’re an amazing part of New Life, Bekah. Thanks for all you do every day.

  • WayneBatson

    There are other kinds of “weight” that some of us carry…things that definitely are not ordained. LOL Fortunately, I have good friends who hold me accountable to such weight. And 11lbs of it is GONE. Praise God.

    Good post, broski. It is a bit of a gut punch for Americans to take. Lots of your words have a strong “feel” of truth to them. Not to be ignored. You remind me a lot of Paul with your work habits (not so much your affect which is, I think lots more loving than Paul…see Paul’s interaction with Peter, lol). But you have stakes in so many things. Paul was a tent-maker, a preacher, a church planter, a husband, a mentor, etc. etc. You’ve got tons of that going on.

    However, as a caution from a friend with ten more years of life under his belt than you have, I have to warn you to search out other truths as well. After all, we’re told to follow Jesus, not Paul…not Apollos…or Theodophilus. ROFL. The more like Jesus we are, the closer we are to the ultimate goal, right? Not telling you anything you don’t already know, but Jesus worked hard, but he also took breaks. He often told the disciples, stay here while I head up the mountain. He enjoyed and recharged in solitude and prayer. He had big meals with friends.

    God, when he made the world, took a day to rest. No, God wasn’t tired. But he rested and gave us a Sabbath as a commandment. Why? I’m not certain, but I suspect because God knows we’re finite. Even depending on His power, we are physically, mentally, and emotionally…finite. We need the rest. And we need time to enjoy God’s creations…some “It is good” moments.

    And also, I think of your family. You have four little ones soon to become not so little ones. Fast forward ten years, and you’re me. 3, 5, 7, and 9 become: 13, 15, 17, and 19. Eva is in 2nd year of college. Luik is a senior in HS. Judah has his learner’s permit. And even Levi is a teenager. Now, you and Jenny are far better parents than I have been. I can see it in the joy of your children, and I know how much love you and Jenny drip all over them. So in ten years, I doubt you’ll be dealing with the same struggles my family has, but…it’s possible. It’s possible that Daddy could become so busy with “Good things” that he communicates to his family that they are “lesser things.”

    Right now, you’re probably like “Get behind me, satan!” So forgive me, if I’m wrong and hindering you. But I’ve seen other “Type A” James-freakin-Brown-hard working pastors, pour themselves out, work so hard, only to hit a wall. One of them left his wife and Jesus behind…

    • Christopher Hopper

      Ha! Indeed. And you’re crushing it, bro. Well done.

      Yes—I find my Americanism needs some punching more often than not.

    • Christopher Hopper

      Oh, snap! I didn’t see the rest of what you wrote.

      Great stuff, and very fair reminders. I’m learning to rest more, and take breaks. I find great refreshing in them.

      I also love the painting of who my children become—thanks for that (even if it is a little unnerving!). Believing and praying the best for them, and that I’ll continue to be the man I need to be for them (thus why i listed them second).

      Yes—Jesus. I want to be like Jesus. I keep reminding myself.