The Lord is very calculating and intentional in His actions. When you feel the Lord call you to a specific task, there is usually a purposeful reason. The Lord trusts you are able to accomplish what’s at hand. He wouldn’t have called you, if He had not already prepared you and equipped you for the task at hand.
However, it seems the Lord isn’t in the business of making things easy for us. He wants us to do great things. He wants us to stretch and expand ourselves. He wants to see us get the best possible outcome for the Kingdom of God. Yet, He also knows, in order for us to stretch and expand, it often requires pain. It requires things that are out of our norm and even sometimes push the limits of what we think we are capable of handling. We must keep in mind it is not really about us; it is, in fact, all about the Kingdom of God.
This blog is a little different than the others. I want to share with you my personal experience, to some degree my painful experience, of the last few months of launching the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog that is a part of my Church Leader Made Simple program at RyanFranklin.org.
On April 5, 2021, I started a YouTube channel, podcast, and a blog all at the same time. Some people thought I was crazy to do so much at one time. However, what they didn’t know is I had been preparing for that one day for almost a year prior to actually carrying out the plan of a massive launch day.
I am, by nature, a planner and a learner. I had to learn all sorts of things in advance of the launch. I had to learn video editing. Note: It took me over 40 hours to edit my first few videos. It is hard to understand the learning curve and the work that goes into video editing until you experience it firsthand. I am still learning videography (which is SOOOO hard by the way!) and I’m still learning all the ins and outs, the lighting, the camera gear, the audio. The list goes on and on...
I read and studied books and watched other YouTube videos to figure out what to say at the right times, to determine how long or short they should it be, and ultimately to decide the topics on which I wanted to focus. Then, there was artwork and choosing the right “thumbnails” and determining the adequate number of pictures. There was audio editing, podcast uploading and blog preparation. I had to build efficient systems and routines. And my goodness! The money a person can spend on websites and equipment and monthly services! ON and ON and ON... and I think I’m tired just thinking about it all again!
People have no idea what goes into a ten-minute weekly presentation of this leadership content. Let me tell you about one thing I suspected, and actually planned for, yet STILL it caught me by surprise.
Through various hurts and pains in my life, at an early age I developed a fear of rejection and a fear of failure. I’ll tell you more about that at another time, but in short, I spent three years beginning in 2007 working to overcome these fears in my life. I made tremendous progress with the help of a great counselor. It changed my life. The negative effects of the pain subsided to a great degree. It was absolutely manageable. Over the last 10 plus years I would see these things arise in my life at certain times of high stress and anxiety, though not to a point where they would derail me as they had done in the past.
Consequently, I knew that launching this leader content - putting myself “out there” and being transparent and vulnerable to whoever wanted to listen – certainly had the potential to stir some of those things in me. So, as I was learning and preparing the logistical side, I decided to work on the emotional side as well. I literally spent six months in counseling preparing for the emotional toll I knew would inevitably come. I just had no idea how hard it would actually be.
Now, you have to understand, I was happy doing life and ministry in the background. I really don’t like the limelight. I don’t like – nor do I want - people knowing my personal business. I have not been personally active on social media in over ten years. However, I was following a prompting of the Holy Spirit in my life. I knew I had to do it, so I began preparing for it.
The combined stress of working a busy pastoral job, starting all of this, as well as doing leadership coaching on the side was a lot on my plate. Then you add to it the emotional toll of a fear of rejection and fear of failure. The whole of things really was quite a lot!
This experience was different than the unbearable seasons in the past. I could sense the internal growth of my character this time. I could feel the positive effects of all of the work I had done on my internal self over the past few years. Sure, it was lots of pressure. Sure, there were unhealthy things surfacing. Yet, when I look back now, they were things that needed to surface. Instead of feeling burnout or depression or seeking approval or trying to medicate myself in unhealthy ways, this time I knew what to do with the pain I was experiencing. I knew how to process it in a positive way. I knew, too, that I needed others in my life to help me through the pain.
Only on a rare occasion have I experienced that level of anxiety in the last ten years. When it would come, I could easily spiral emotionally for sometimes days at a time. My energy levels would dip. I would get moody with my family and those closest to me. I would feel the urge to move away from people and just be alone. Sometimes those feelings would last for days, not just an hour or two.
This time, it all happened as anticipated on some level. Lowered energy levels, moodiness, detachment from people – all the components were there. However, something was significantly different this time. This time, when it happened, it only lasted a few hours instead of a few days. I know you’re wondering why such a change took place in me. Let me tell you the biggest reason why: First and foremost, it was through the Spirit of God, through prayer and the Lord’s help. Outside of that, the biggest reason was because of the people in my life.
For the last couple of years, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time building a small team of people around me that are my resources, individuals from whom I can gain relational nutrients. These are the people I can process things with, people I can voice my most vulnerable emotions to and they can just contain it - providing encouragement, empathy, or whatever else is necessary in the moment.
In the midst of an amazingly difficult and somewhat painful time of growth in my life... and here’s a big key... I want you to get this!
I had a group of people around me that could meet my needs.
The difference was I knew how to ASK for the relational nutrients I needed.
It made all the difference in the world in how I came through that pain.
As usual, I want to end this blog with a few questions for you to use in evaluating your own life and ministry.
What BIG ministry, task, or undertaking has the Lord called me to do that I haven’t started preparing for yet?
Now, ask yourself, “WHY?” Why haven’t you pursued the direction the Lord has spoken to you?
What’s one thing I can do THIS week to begin preparing for it?
Process those questions over the next few days... and take a step (or two!) this week toward preparing yourself to make something big happen in your ministry.
Don’t let the potential pain of the situation or process worry you or derail you from making it happen. Embrace the things necessary and take a significant step toward success!
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