There are quite a few misconceptions out there around what it looks like to be an entrepreneur. Thanks in part to social media, its often portrayed as strings of meetings in hip coffee shops and lounging in palatial, well lit and stylish home offices. I work at a desk in a four foot by four foot alcove sandwiched between the garage door and the laundry room. It is not lost on me that I sit editing books sandwhiched between the room with the vehicle that takes you places and the room where you clean up the messes.
Given the small and precarious nature of my work space, my desk is also rather small. There’s room for me, my laptop and a stack of books to reference for whatever my newest project may be, plus my light. Every Sunday night I clean it off to get ready for the week because somehow my desk is where everything that is broken, needs repaired or needs attention falls. Notes from school about upcoming field trips and testing, the stuffed dog split at the seams and in need of a few stitches, the magic wand that needs super glued back together, the bills that have been paid but need to be filed for tax purposes, the small stack of hand-me-downs to be passed onto friends all end up being piled on my desk. Sometimes the Sunday night stack can feel daunting as I figure out what to do or how to solve all the things that have landed on my desk.
In some ways this is not much different than ministering a church. Much of ministry is visioning for the future, planning preaching and teaching series, but there is also the part where all the broken, ill fitting and untended things land on your desk as a pastor. The program that has lost energy but not the die-hard commitment to keep doing it the way it’s always been done. The staff person that’s struggling to buy into the new phase of organizational transformation. The board meeting process that was inherited from another time and place that doesn’t work and needs to be reimagined. The metaphorical and literal desk of ministry can rapidly pile up high. And as leaders if we don’t have a way to examine those items and figure out what to do with them, they can clutter the rest of the work we have to do.
The greatest temptation as leaders is to think that we must hold all mess and all the solutions to the mess ourselves. But this season of Lent, particularly Ash Wednesday, reminds us that we are both limited and limitless, flawed and holy. We don’t have to hold it all ourselves, because we are held by God and God holds all of our messy, untended and brokenness in loving care. If we are held by God, then the solution is not held by us, but by God.