A Simple Solution to the Comparison Trap : Heather Thompson Day
It’s easy, in fact, it’s human, for us to compare ourselves and our ministries to the ministries of others around us. And although it’s human, it’s not always healthy. In this week’s conversation on FrontStage BackStage, host Jason Daye is joined by professor and author Heather Thompson Day, as they explore what it looks like to embrace “today” …to faithfully and fully live into what God has for us today, and the incredible impact that has, not only on our lives, but on the lives of those around us.
Looking to dig more deeply into this topic and conversation? Every week we go the extra mile and create a free toolkit so you and your ministry team can dive deeper into the topic that is discussed. Find your Weekly Toolkit below… Love well, Live well, Lead well!
- Video links to this week’s episode – easily share with the ministry leaders in your church
- Audio links to this week’s episode – easily share with the ministry leaders in your church
- Additional resource links from this week’s conversation – so you and your team can easily find what is mentioned or referenced
- Ministry Leaders Growth Guide – key insights and concepts from this week’s conversation as well as engaging questions for you and your team to consider and process
- Full-text transcript of this week’s episode – review something you heard, pass along snippets, post tweets, create presentations to share, or use in whatever way you find most helpful in developing your ministry leaders
- Shareable Social Graphics – Feel free to post them on your church social accounts, your personal accounts, or use them as graphics in your communications
Share the video with your ministry leaders >> YouTube
Share the audio podcast with your ministry leaders…
- This week’s episode on Apple Podcasts
- This week’s episode on Spotify
Additional Resource Links
It’s Not Your Turn: What to Do While You’re Waiting for Your Breakthrough by Heather Thompson Day – Heather explores how we can cultivate perspectives and practices that will enable us to be more content, patient, and constructive as we learn to walk slowly and trust God to do his work in us
HeatherThompsonDay.com – Heather’s website where you can connect with her and learn more about her work and projects
Connect with Heather Thompson Day – Twitter | Instagram
Follow PastorServe – LinkedIn | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
Complimentary 1-hour Coaching Session for Pastors http://PastorServe.org/freesession
Ministry Leaders Growth Guide
Key Insights and Concepts
- It is perfectly normal, and you’re not a bad person, for comparing yourself to other people. However, comparing ourselves to those who have completely different experiences, resources, backgrounds, networks, etc, can lead to unhealthy views of ourselves.
- “Next” never comes. Every time you experience “next,” it actually only ever comes in the form of today
- If you are always looking for what is next or something better, you will never really live and never be fully engaged in what you have right now. If you are not faithful and fully present in what you have right now, you will miss it.
- Do not think that your calling will start once something better comes along or you end up robbing yourself, the people around you, and even God, from what He is calling you to right now
- Be faithful with what God has put in your life right now
- When you find yourself wrestling with feelings of jealousy about other’s lives or ministries, ask yourself why you are having those thoughts. Do not beat yourself up for having thoughts of jealousy, they are just thoughts. Thoughts come, but they do not define you. Take time to process through those thoughts in a healthy way, with someone you trust. If you just shove down these feelings, they can manifest in unhealthy ways.
- Remember, you are not in competition with other people who are spreading the gospel
- God cares about all of the small moments in your life: all of the opportunities that are in front of you today, all of the people and conversations and events that make up today.
- “When the world asks, “Where is God?” it is not an indictment on God, it is an indictment on his people. God is invisible, because he chooses to be seen through his people, his image bearers. So if we aren’t revealing the character of God, and the answers of God in a broken world, we are no longer fulfilling our end of the bargain, that is not on Him, that is on us.”
- Pray each day that God will open your ears and eyes to what He is doing right in front of you that day
- The only moment that you truly know you have to be faithful is this moment. Nothing is promised beyond it, so embrace it fully and faithfully.
- Your life, and therefore your prayers, are always connected to those around us. You do not have to look far to see where God is at work and how you can show up in those spaces as an image-bearer of God.
Questions for Reflection
- How often do I compare myself, my life, and my ministry to others? How do I feel about these comparisons?
- How do I process my feelings of jealousy? Do I work through them in a healthy way? Ignore them? Shove them down inside of me? Are there changes I need to make in this area of my life?
- Am I getting caught up in what is “next” and missing out on what God is doing right now?
- Am I living fully into what God has put in front of me? How so? If not, what do I need to do to change that?
- Do I acknowledge that I am not my thoughts? Do I understand that dwelling on unhealthy thoughts can be detrimental to my emotional and mental health? How do I balance these two realities?
- Do I have someone I trust with whom I can talk through these feelings?
- Have I been robbing myself, others, and God, of my calling by not engaging fully in each day?
- How can I be more present in my ministry each day?
- Who is my “competition,” really? Do I struggle with clearly defining who is and who is not my competition?
- How am I revealing the character of God each day?
- Reflect on your recent prayers. What does the way I am praying say about me? Are there changes I need to make in my prayer life? If so, what? When will I make these changes?
- Do I spend time considering how my life is connected to those around me? My family? My church? My neighbors? My community? As I think through this reality, what comes to mind?
- How can I be faithful with today?
It’s easy, in fact, it’s human, for us to compare ourselves and our ministries to the ministries of others around us. And although it’s human, it’s not always healthy.
In today’s conversation, I’m joined by professor and author Heather Thompson Day, as we explore, what does it look like for us to embrace “today” …to faithfully and fully live into what God has for us today, and the incredible impact that has, not only on our lives, but on the lives of those around us? Are you ready? Let’s go.
Hello, friends, and welcome to FrontStage BackStage. I’m your host, Jason Daye. And every single week, we bring you a conversation that’s designed to help pastors just like you embrace healthy leadership in both life and ministry. And that’s exactly what we’re going to jump into today. We are blessed to be a part of the pastor surf network. And we take time every week with every single one, these conversations, to provide extra tools for you and your team to dive more deeply into the topic that is discussed. And you can find all that information, those extra tools, at PastorServe.org/network. Now, we want to welcome those of you who are joining us on YouTube. If you give us a like and comment below, share your name, the name of your church, we’d love to get to know our audience better. Our team is praying for churches all around the world. And so you could drop that in there. And then whether you’re on YouTube, or your favorite podcast platform, please be sure to subscribe or follow so you do not miss out on any of these great conversations. And as I said, we have a great conversation today. I’m super excited to have Heather Thompson Day joining us today on FrontStage BackStage. So Heather, welcome to the show.
Heather Thompson Day
I’m excited to be here.
Yeah, we’re excited to have you. Now Heather, you’ve had the opportunity, speaking into lots of people’s lives as a professor, you’ve written a half dozen books, I think maybe more at this point. But one of the things that you’ve kind of brought to light, and which I really appreciate I came across your, one of your books is called “It’s Not Your Turn.” It’s a fantastic book that helps us think through, what do we do while we’re waiting for our breakthrough? Right, which I think is is something that all of us in ministry, at different times in kind of different seasons of ministry, we sort of are processing through trying to figure out exactly what’s next. And oftentimes in ministry, right, we’re in ministry, because we have a sense of urgency about the mission. And so oftentimes, we want to kind of jump forward, and we want to dive into our next. And we’re not necessarily always ready. But that can cause some, I don’t know if it is anxiety, some friction, some tension in our own lives, because we’re driven to reach in and make it to that next season. One of the things that you share that you talk about you write about this book is that you make this statement that we’re always in competition with one another, because we have constant access to one another, which in the world that we live, we know this, you know, through social media and for ministry leaders, for pastors, it is very easy on a Monday morning, after you’ve had a long weekend, and you may not feel the greatest about what maybe transpired at your church over the weekend, and you’re sitting there and you start scrolling through Instagram and seeing all these other posts of other pastors, other churches. So talk to us a little bit about this idea of today, how we’re always kind of in competition mode.
Heather Thompson Day
Yeah, so in communication theory, which is the field that I teach in, we actually, there’s four sources to our self concept, which is our idea of how we know who we are. And one of those four sources is called social comparison. So it is normal, and you’re not a bad person, for comparing yourself to other people. It’s actually one of the ways that we decide who we are, is by looking around a room. So you’re actually hardwired to do that. And so I think one of the best things we can do is have compassion for ourselves. In that process, you know, I just think it’s different. Of course, we used to be hardwired maybe to compare ourselves to the people in our classroom, which depending on what type… at my school, trying to think, there was probably like maybe 200 kids in my class, maybe only half of them were female, right? So I’m comparing myself to about 100 people, whereas now we’re comparing ourselves to 1000s and 1000s. And it’s not even just like people we actually are in proximity with in our classroom. I’m comparing myself to to Sarah Jakes Roberts, which I have nowhere…me and Sarah Jakes Roberts have not even lived close to the same lives. We don’t have the same resources, we don’t have the same networking, we don’t have the same relationships. But I have access to her on my phone. And so my brain can’t help but compare myself to somebody who has no affinity to me whatsoever. And so this is, this is what we’re dealing with. And I don’t think it’s necessarily going to go away. I, I love social media. I think there’s so much good that can be done with it. But I would I have personally pulled back for these types of reasons. And the fact that the algorithm favors totally adjacent views that are meant to make you super angry, you know, so that kind of stuff, I think, is we can only take so much, and you can only feel like you’re behind for so long. You know, it’s exhausting.
Yeah. Yeah. No, you know, I think that’s interesting. As you’re talking about this idea of we begin to compete and compare ourselves with people who are not competing with us. Ironically, we compare ourselves and compete with people who probably don’t even know we exist, right? And yet, we in our mind… I love what you said about thinking of this idea of how we compare ourselves to others, who have come from a completely different background, have a completely different set of circumstances, have a completely different set of resources behind them. And yet, somehow, you know, as a pastor, I could be in a small rural community, where literally, there may only be 8000 people in my entire city, and yet I’m comparing myself to a, you know, megachurch or gigachurch pastor in an urban setting that has 8000 people show up on a weekend. And somehow I’m trying to compare myself to that, and I’m beating myself up over it. Can you talk to us a little bit about this idea of –because you said that it’s natural for us to compare ourselves to one another– what are really kind of some of the dangers of comparison? Can we touch on some of those?
Heather Thompson Day
Yeah, I think you kind of said it, actually, in your intro when you were talking about the word next. And I think we have to be very careful, because this is honestly what I came to, as I was writing this book. This book took about, it was like, probably seven years of experience. I didn’t, didn’t take me seven years to write it, but it’s the culmination of seven years of my own experience of waiting for next. And realizing that next never comes. Every time you experience next, it actually only ever comes in the form of today, right? Essentially, we never really experience tomorrow, we only ever really experience today. And so how would we live differently if we started to adjust our perception to say, there is no next. There’s only right now. And if I’m not faithful and fully present in what I do have right now. I’ll miss it. I’ll never really live and I’ll never be fully engaged in what I have right now. And this is something I don’t know if everybody experiences like this, but I know I deeply struggled with experiencing life this way, and not experiencing what was right in front of me because I was waiting for something better. And I thought my calling started when something better came. And I robbed myself and I robbed the people around me and I robbed God of what he had called me to in that moment. And so as I’ve started this journey of just being fully present in wherever I am, and believing that I’m here on purpose, that you and I are having this conversation, it’s the most important thing I’ll ever do. Right? When I step into spaces with that mindset, it changes the way those spaces go. And it changes me from within. And I hope it changes the people who are a part of those situations, right? When I teach my class, as if it’s the most important thing I’ll ever do, it absolutely changes what my students received from me in that class and changes the way I am like wired and experience the world around me while I’m in that situation. So I don’t know, next never comes. It’s never going to come. All you have is right now and how, how many breaths do you have today? This one, you really only actually have this one. And so how does that change the way I just breathe? How does that change the way I’m in relationship with God at all times? I’m telling you, it makes life so much sweeter. And I am so glad I think that I’ve discovered this and this, like really heartbreaking way of constantly feeling like I was behind. I mean, I wish I hadn’t done that. But the reality is, I think I’m living a fuller, sweeter, more present life right now. Because of that journey.
Yeah, I love that Heather and I appreciate you sharing your story in the midst of this and how you process through this because I would imagine that they’re probably many who are watching along or listening along, who are in a state where they are more focused on the next than they are in today, as you said. And you know, thinking about, you know, what’s to come down the road and, and even looking around again, you know, looking around at the experiences of other ministry leaders or other pastors and opportunities that have come their way. And sometimes in ministry, you know, for pastors and ministry leaders, we might feel we are underappreciated, we might feel like we’ve been passed over, you know, another pastor or ministry leader was offered a, you know, a ministry opportunity that we were hoping we would experience right, and so we kind of sit in that. And deep down, we often will feel that, you know, just fatigued because we feel like we’re just treading water sometimes, you know, in that waiting period. Can you talk to us a little bit, Heather, about what we can do? How can we, I guess, kind of flip this, this idea of comparison and competing? Because you talked about the fact that that there is some good in comparison? How can we flip that from the dark side? How can we use it for good? What do we do in these moments? When we are like you said, kind of, it’s not not our turn yet. And we’re in the waiting?
Heather Thompson Day
Well, I think what I want people to understand is it’s always your turn, that’s essentially the premise of the book. The only moment we have is right now, It is always your turn to start living your life. And there’s things you can do right where you are, when you start being faithful with what God has put in your hand, rather than looking at at what he hasn’t. I also think I’m learning still, to just sit in it and to acknowledge it and to say, this makes me feel bad. And is that okay? Is it okay to feel jealous? You’re a human being right. And I think it’s more what happens when we stop being unhappy that we’re unhappy. Unhappiness loses its power over us, right? When we stop trying to resist what we think makes us a bad person and start realizing, hey, like I am a human being, and thoughts are going to happen to me, I am not my thoughts, thoughts happen, I am not my thoughts. We are actions and the things we choose to stew on over and over and over again. But just like we can’t make our blood stop circulating thoughts are going to happen to our brain. And often based on past experiences, which I talked about one of the chapters when it talks about fear, right, we’ll… a thought will happen to me. And I’m like, this isn’t who you are anymore. Why is this thought entering your brain? But is it possible that, based on my past experiences, I spent many, many years with those types of thoughts? And am I gonna just wake up one day and never think that again? No. And so when a thought happens, I like to just say to myself, now I’m a communication professor. So I often talk out loud to my brain, which is weird, but I think it’s very, very helpful. And there’s a lot of research, I think I talked about this in the book actually, about saying things out loud to your brain, because it literally will immediately reduce the stressors and the hormones that create your brain to feel unsafe. Right. So I’ll just say out loud, like, Hey, why are you feeling that way, Heather? Is it possible that it’s based on this? Do you feel threatened by this person’s success? Is there some truth in that? Maybe? Is that okay? Does that change what God has for you? Right? So just, instead of avoiding our thoughts and our feelings, what if we process them like healthy people? Who can we talk to and be honest, and I know that this is especially… I’ve read the data, right? So I know, I work a lot with the Barna Group. I know that this is especially hard for pastors who have very, (my husband pastored for several years,) who have very few places where they get to be themselves. I know that it is easier for me to say out loud, hey, I’m struggling with jealousy than it ever is for a pastor who has so many people who want you to be the pinnacle of where they could be, right? Like, that’s the goal. And so if you reveal that you’re not even where they think you are, that can be a really difficult experience. But I mean, my goodness, I hope pastors have each other. And so I think I would say it’s probably very similar to I obviously do Christian writing. It’s a weird thing to feel in comparison to people who are spreading the gospel. Yeah. And if we think about it, and I think we have to say it out loud, because that’s how, of course the Holy Spirit can step in and work with us through it and help us process it. I think it’s normal, but we should always right. And I think most of us probably know that deep inside like, I want your book to be a best selling book. Oh my goodness. I want people to read these truths, if that’s going to change people’s lives. Amen. We’re actually I just read this morning, um, I mean, Malachi like, we’re all on the same team, do we not all say Our Father, Our Father who art in heaven? We are all on the same team. And so it’s not actually a competition. And all we can really do is compete with ourselves. And so how do we set goals for ourselves right and not be judgmental towards ourselves when we experience feelings like jealousy? I’ll tell you this one story. This was last year, I had this, a friend of mine in the Christian writing space, her book went on the New York Times bestsellers list about it, maybe it was like two months before my book came out. But I just remember seeing that and I was like, Okay, I am so happy for her. But also, that is my dream for myself. And I felt that immediate, my first reaction wasn’t, yay, my first reaction was, what about me, right? And so I go upstairs, and I just, this is what I do. God is one of the only people I’ll be fully honest with. So I go upstairs, and I go in my room, I shut the door, and I just say, God, like, I have these deep feelings of jealousy right now. And, you know, I don’t want to be this person. And I really felt like the Holy Spirit said to me, Heather, I’ve never asked you to stop being a person. I’ve asked you to have a relationship with me. And I just like God has always so much of the Holy Spirit means comforter, right? He’s always so much more comforting to ourselves than we are to ourselves, right? And so just being honest, we have to, we have to get it out. You have to process those thoughts, who are the people in your life that you can share that with? If you can find an accountability partner I have, I will tell my husband, all of these embarrassing things that I’m experiencing and thinking, just because I know I have to process it, I have to do something with that energy, or else, if I shove it down, it will manifest itself in other ways in your own body. Right? Right. So who or if it’s a spouse, if it’s a really good friend, if it’s another pastor, we have got to find people that we can be a human being with. And also with ourselves, can we allow ourselves to be human beings? Because I promise, at least in my experience, God has allowed me to be a human being. I’ve not had to be perfect for him.
Yeah, yeah. And I think that’s beautiful. Heather, because especially in ministry, oftentimes, like you said, pastors and ministry leaders are, are elevated, just kind of naturally elevated. And so there’s a struggle with trying to always look like we’ve got it together. Yeah. Which is debilitating when it comes to actually growing in Christ, right? Because we’re so busy putting up a facade or putting on a mask, to try to make it look like we got it all together, because we don’t want to disappoint people, that we miss out on the actual growth that the Holy Spirit wants to do in our lives. I love just the idea of us removing this thought, from our mind, just kind of this the idea that it’s not your turn, like you said, just kind of setting that thought aside and embracing that present, right? And, as you said, just leaning into, where am I today? Where does God have me today? What is he doing in my life? And what is he calling me to do through my life? Right? And just living in that, instead of looking down the road, like we so often do and wishing, “oh, you know, I wish I was in a bigger town or I wish I was pastoring a larger church, I wish I had a more, you know, engaged, you know, ministry” or you know, whatever it might be in our minds. This idea of what does it look like for us to settle into, right where God has us? And Heather, it sounds like you came to that kind of that realization that you were looking, you know, out to the horizon, rather than looking right around you. Do you remember what may have caused you to pause and really recognize: “wait a second, I don’t have to worry about it being my turn one day, I just need to live into today”?
Heather Thompson Day
Yeah, I remember the day. And I talked about this in the book. I went to lunch with a friend on campus. Her name is Tatiana. And I was, I had just had “It’s Not Your” turn rejected. And it was by a publisher who sought me out. So especially like painful because I thought this is it. Right? It was an almost, I’m so tired of almost moments, right? So many almost. And so I was telling her about this rejection, and I just remember her saying, you have to stop thinking that your life starts when you get to some metaphorical there. She said Heather like she this is what she said. She said, Your God is too big. And I was like, what what does that mean? Of course my God is big. She goes My God is small. Like my God is just as much present within me in this lunch with you as he is if I’m speaking on the stage. He cares about the small moments of our lives and your anointing begins the day you believe you have one, and I got goosebumps as she as she was talking to me. And I just knew this is the Holy Spirit, having lunch with you right now. And I walk across campus, and I just thought, I’m going to teach this class, as if it’s the most important thing I’m ever going to do in my entire life. Like, I’m going to just try to live in this moment, and God, if you never do anything more for me than allow me to have six students, I had like five or six students in this class, it wasn’t like a big amphitheater. If you never give me more than this opportunity, how do I just stand in it, and bring you so much glory through it. And I just remember showing up to that class and the way that I would show up if I was to do a presentation, right with several 100 people. And a student came up to me right after class who had never talked to me before, and said, I just want you to know, I’ve been praying over something and something you said in class, I can’t remember what it was, something you said in class gave me the answer that I’ve been praying over about what to do after graduation. So thank you. And I remember just sitting in my office and saying, Oh, my goodness, like what if I just mailed it in? This student has been praying to hear from God. And of course, God chooses to colabor with us, and then we go home, and we say, “God didn’t hear me” and it’s not on God, it’s on us. Right? When the world says, Where is God, it is not an indictment on God, it is an indictment on his people. God is invisible, because he chooses to be seen through his people, his image bearers. So if we aren’t revealing the character of God, and the answers of God in a broken world, we are no longer fulfilling our end of the bargain, that is not on him, that is on us. Right. And so I realized how many people have walked away from an encounter where God had strategically placed me and I missed the boat. And I never want that to happen again. There’s… I read afterwards, this incredible quote. I watched this message that Martin Luther King Jr. gave to a senior class, a couple, I think it’s right before his death, just a few months before he’s assassinated. And he says to them, this is a high school of black seniors who aren’t going to necessarily go and have these big opportunities in the middle of a civil rights movement in America. And he says to them, if all you do after you graduate from here, is become a street sweeper. I want you to sweep those streets with so much passion and so much integrity and so much intentionality that all of Heaven has to stop and say, Oh, my God, look at the street sweeper. Right? And so I’ve said, How can I live my life in that way? How can I teach a class with so much passion and so much intentionality, and so much integrity that all of Heaven has to stop and say, “Do you see Heather teaching this class Lord?” I had this moment, my husband was preaching a sermon, it was in the parking lot during COVID. And he just so exemplified this for me, he was going to do a sermon that I really did not want him to do, he was going to say something I did not want, it just I just didn’t, I felt like let’s not engage in this conflict. And he felt very strongly that he was supposed to, and he I watched him get up in front of like, 50 people in the parking lot, right, and two of them pick up their chairs and leave as soon as he started saying what he said. But I watched him say this thing that he just felt convicted that the Spirit was telling him to say, and I was like, if he’s not willing to do that in front of 50 people, like, why would God ever give him 2000? We really need people who are willing to turn the podcast mic on for five people, right? Because that’s integrity. Integrity is not turning the podcast mic on for 2000 people, because anybody would do that. Everybody loves showing up when people are clapping for you. That’s not hard. And that’s not an anointing. And that’s not integrity. Integrity is the person who gets up week after week after week, to a crowd of 10 people, 15 people who does the Bible study and really truly isn’t sure if anyone’s going to come. I know that feeling. But we are called to live a life of integrity. And so I’ve just been convicted more than like, God can always give you talent. That’s not hard. I don’t think God is looking for talented people. Right? America looks for talented people. I don’t think God needs talented people because he can add gifts to you. But what he cannot add is a heart of surrender, and purity and integrity, and that’s what makes leaders. And so, can we stop thinking about what’s next long enough to be fully present with where he has placed us right now? So that we can reveal the image of God to people who desperately need it, whether it is five or 2000?
Heather, man that is gold and you’re preaching here, sister. Yeah, so good, so good. And I honestly, I love that word, because that is such a deep word of commitment. And it’s a word of faithfulness, right? It’s this idea that as you said, if 10 people show up or 1000 people show up, God has put you in that place at that time. He’s giving you a, you know, he’s placed a call on your life, an anointing. And he’s done that for a reason. He’s asked you to step into it. And who are we to question God as to, you know, where he has placed us at any given time. We’re just called to faithfully step in and to trust Him and to walk with him. So I think that’s absolutely beautiful. And what a word of encouragement, because the last few years have been challenging, the last two years especially, for pastors and ministry leaders, I mean for everybody. But you know, for pastors and ministry leaders, watching along today and listening, and just the stepping back and that idea of, again, living fully into where we are in this moment. What does it mean for us to surrender and just faithfully step in? And live with that integrity, as you spoke about, regardless of what tomorrow might hold, you know, and the reality, Heather, as you were talking I was thinking, oftentimes when we’re thinking through of our present, and we’re thinking through of our tomorrow, and we tend to think of our tomorrow as being something that’s a progression, right, something that develops. So today, we might be doing this, but tomorrow, you know, or our future grows, it progresses, it gets bigger, it gets, you know, shinier, right. But that’s not always the case. And so Heather, as we are kind of wrapping down this conversation, I was wondering if you could just talk to us a little bit about the idea that tomorrow may hold less than what today held. And so there’s this idea of us pushing towards what’s next. But we can also flip that around and look back towards what was. Do a lot of the lessons that you learned, as you’ve been processing through this and going through this with the Holy Spirit, those same lessons apply whether we’re looking forward or backward?
Heather Thompson Day
Yeah, because, I mean, the reality is, I don’t have yesterday, right, yesterday, and tomorrow, all come to us through today. There was only ever this moment, I’m, I’m not being very metaphorical when I say this, because literally what you are sitting in right now, I promise you five years ago, you would have never thought you would even have. Most of us can recognize that we are sitting in our wishes and hopes and dreams for tomorrow today. So this is all we have. And so it’s changed the way I pray. It’s changed every facet of my life because every day for me feels like… I used to, I think, spend a lot of my time praying for “Okay, when my book comes out in nine months, God, here’s what I need to happen. And here’s what I need you to do. And I blahblahblah,” and now I literally just focus on “Hey, God, my prayer this morning, Lord, please tune my ears to hear your voice today. Just open my eyes that I can see what you’re doing around me today that I can fully receive it. Please strengthen my hands today that I may do your work.” I, have… the best practice for metaphorical tomorrow is showing up today. If I don’t hear God today, why do I think I’m going to hear him so clearly tomorrow? I don’t even have tomorrow. All I have is right now. So why are we waiting? Actually Martin Luther King Jr. says this too. He says the difference between a good man… this is in “Chaos or Community: Where Do We Go from Here?” He says the difference between a good man and an evil man is that a good man will wait. He says evil knows that you can’t wait. But good men will wait to think and to ponder and to see proof and to pray even with good intentions. He says until good organizes with the urgency that evil does, we will never win. And so how do we start realizing that we have this moment to be faithful? And what does that look like for you? And I am telling you, we don’t have to look far. I just had this conversation with my nephew who’s 14 years old. And he called me he’s like I want to, he was like I want to preach a sermon. And I want to and I was like, okay, but you know what you can do right now? Right now you’re a big brother to two little boys who really look up to you, so what does that look like for you today? You want to be used by God, I promise you right in your house. Caden, you can do that. And then you have two… you have two little cousins who really look up to you. What are you doing with them? How are you, how are you taking hold of the things that God has placed in your hand right now? Because the sermon, that may come, but the best way to get prepared for that is to show up today faithfully. And then he called this week, I thought this was so cute. And he said hey, I was wondering if my kids, London and Hudson,, could come over for a sleepover. So I knew he was intentionally trying to say, Okay, God, what do you want from me? How do I just even make my nephews, or my cousins, feel like they matter. Right? Like the best way I think, to just live in the reality of what God has for us is to have people walk away from conversations with us feeling like they’re valued. Because that changes what they’re going to feel confident and capable of doing with the Holy Spirit over their lives. So how do we start doing that? It’s our daily bread, not my daily bread. The prayer when they say, teach us how to pray, literally, it is always connected to the person next to you, every time. You want to know what my prayers looked like, Jason? It was all me. All me with the occasional “help my mom and dad and my husband, and my best friends who I love.” But what are we doing for the people all around us in our communities? Because it’s supposed to be connected? If I don’t eat, if they don’t eat, I shouldn’t eat, because it’s supposed to be our daily bread. So what does that actually look like in the spaces that he has placed in our hands? So you don’t have to look far?
That’s so good. Thank you for helping us kind of think through what does it mean to kind of pull back and ask God, what’s happening right here? Where are you at work around me right now? How can I, you know, engage in that? How can I make a difference? How can I make an impact? How can I be present? Because oftentimes, and I think it’s, you know, we kind of feel we’re a little more important than we actually are oftentimes. So you know, so So we’re like, oh, I’m too busy. I got all this going on. And so you know, we’re having coffee with with someone. And we’re actually thinking of the 12 other things that we need to do right, rather than slowing down, and like you said, I mean, it’s beautiful. I love that story that you told that was in your book about how this kind of, you know, that day that this kind of struck you and where you walked into your classroom, and you just said, I’m not worried about what’s next. I’m focusing on what’s right now. And I think that’s just a good word for all of us, regardless of where we find ourselves, but definitely for pastors and ministry leaders, to say, You know what, God’s at work right now, the Holy Spirit’s at work right now, right here. And what does that mean for me? How do I engage in that? I love that story about your nephew as well. Super sweet. Yeah. Love it. Great example. Awesome, Heather. Well, it’s been so good to hear from you. This has been just a treasure as you’ve opened up your heart, as you’ve shared your experience, and as you’ve provided a ton of encouragement, I think to all those who are watching along and listening. So Heather, if people want to find your book, or your other books, or want to connect with you, perhaps on social, how’s the best way for them to go about doing that?
Heather Thompson Day
Easiest way is just go to HeatherThompsonDay.com.
Perfect, perfect. And we’ll have that at PastorServe.org/network. We’ll have that with the show notes here. So, man, Heather, once again, what a joy to spend to have you with us. Thank you for sharing your heart. And thank you for the encouragement that you’ve brought into our lives today about embracing today and living fully into it.
Heather Thompson Day
Thank you, Jason.
All right. God bless you. Now, before you go, I want to remind you of an incredible free resource that our team puts together every single week to help you and your team dig more deeply and maximize the conversation that we just had. This is the weekly toolkit that we provide. And we understand that it’s one thing to listen or watch an episode, but it’s something entirely different to actually take what you’ve heard, what you’ve watched, what you’ve seen, and apply it to your life and to your ministry. You see, FrontStage BackStage is more than just a podcast or YouTube show about ministry leadership, we are a complete resource to help train you and your entire ministry team as you seek to grow and develop in life in ministry. Every single week, we provide a weekly toolkit which has all types of tools in it to help you do just that. Now you can find this at PastorServe.org/network. That’s PastorServe.org/network. And there you will find all of our shows, all of our episodes and all of our weekly toolkits. Now inside the toolkit are several tools including video links and audio links for you to share with your team. There are resource links to different resources and tools that were mentioned in the conversation, and several other tools, but the greatest thing is the ministry leaders growth guide. Our team pulls key insights and concepts from every conversation with our amazing guests. And then we also create engaging questions for you and your team to consider and process, providing space for you to reflect on how that episode’s topic relates to your unique context, at your local church, in your ministry and in your life. Now you can use these questions in your regular staff meetings to guide your conversation as you invest in the growth of your ministry leaders. You can find the weekly toolkit at PastorServe.org/network We encourage you to check out that free resource. Until next time, I’m Jason Daye encouraging you to love well, live well, and lead well. God bless.
Shareable Social Graphics
Strengthen Your Church
Strengthening your church, for us, begins by serving you, the pastor!