Blog/CYM Blog

All About Me

The words rolled off my tongue quickly and easily, as they do in probably half a dozen or so conversations a day. I was talking with a youth minister who was worried about why she hadn’t been able to do a better job of building a core team. But it could have been one of a thousand topics in youth ministry, and in life, and still related. Two things that talk about with others all the time, and yet I struggle with, are patience and trust.

I’m a planner. I believe in the old saying that luck is the residue of design. I’ve worked hard as a youth minister, putting in all sorts of time, getting my calendar sorted, the rooms reserved, the retreat spaces rented, the Core Team all on board with the plan, getting parents to meetings, and getting teens pumped. I want the ministry to teens to be successful – and by that, I mean that I want the teens to get to know Jesus in a profound, lasting way. But so often, I focus more on the job that I have done and still have to do, and less on the real work that God wants to do in my heart, and in the hearts of teens. I want the teens to encounter Jesus when I plan for them to encounter Jesus.

And then, as so often happens when I make it about me, it doesn’t go according to plan. A smoke alarm goes off during adoration and reconciliation (because we got a little incense happy), or the priest forgets to bring the monstrance (that really happened). Or when it rains for the entirety of a car-wash fundraiser. Or when the local high school football team advances in the playoffs when we were supposed to be on retreat. I so often reacted as if it were an attack against me and my plans, not trusting that God is big enough to handle these realities. If my focus is on Christ, I will turn to Him and follow His lead, responding with joy.

But why can’t I just trust in this God that has loved me immensely, given me all the good things I have in my life, and who was the One to call me to this awesome ministry in the first place?

Because I make it about me. Or I make it about wanting the ministry to be the best it can be, according to my plan. Or I make it about pleasing people. Or I make it about impressing people.

But if I were to keep my focus on Christ, if my heart and mind stayed on God, then those other distractions wouldn’t matter so much. And that right there is the rub. When my prayer life weakens, I trust less, and I’m less patient. When I don’t remember who called me to this ministry, and Whose ministry it is, I lack genuine trust. Forget ministry, when I get selfish or fixated on a desire that did not come from God, I lack faith altogether, and I lose patience.

When I’m feeling smart, I might sometimes say that I’m doing well on the patience part, but my trust is waning. Or the other way around. When it comes down to it, if we truly trust in Christ, we will be patient. Because God’s time is oodles better than our time.

Patience and trust are two things I ask for in morning prayer, daily. And when people ask me how they can pray for me, these are often my requests. Because I know I’m impatient. And I know I’m apt to make it about me.

But I also know that God is working on me. God is drawing closer, constantly helping me grow in patience, and grow in trust of his timeline instead of mine. I just wish He would hurry up.

About the Author

Joe Chernowski

Joe Chernowski is ridiculously blessed through his wife, Kelly, and family of 6 children. He spends his time dancing, running, playing, laughing, reading, and praying with them all. When he isn't at home with them or when he isn't at Mission District as the Eastern Region Director for Life Teen, he is probably out running. To hear more about his family & ministry shenanigans, check him out on Twitter @LT_joec.