Last time, we began a look at the seven indicators that a pastor is feeling insecure. As we have said, pastors face the same internal challenges and have the same need for acceptance and significance as everyone else. So, when they are wrestling with such issues, one or more of these indicators will likely be occurring inside. The first, that we discussed last week, is Comparison. Today, let’s consider Compensation.
- COMPENSATION You feel like a victim and must now compensate for your losses or inferiority.
When we feel insecure, we can find ourselves trying a bit too hard to overcome those feelings. The need to prove ourselves or take tighter control of our situation can drive us to some unhealthy overreactions.
Imagine Pastor Bob is in a difficult meeting with his leaders. Pastor Bob, who went through some similar moments at his last church, thinks his team is losing confidence in him. His team is concerned that their pastor is carrying too much responsibility and looks weary. But Pastor Bob thinks they’re trying to seize some of his authority. So, rather than work with his team to find a healthy balance, Pastor Bob reacts in anger and threatens staff changes. He asserts his authority by canceling planned meetings and making decisions arbitrarily, with no input from his team.
Pastor Bob is compensating for his own fears and diminished sense of worth. He is unable to accept the well-meaning help from the team that loves him. Instead, his insecurities push them away, damaging trust and forcing his leaders to consider whether more drastic steps need to be taken.
When insecurities take hold of your heart, you can easily misinterpret the words and intentions of others. Insecure people seldom hear what people really say and feel. Instead, they tend to hear what they’re afraid people are saying and feeling, thus affirming their fears. And once this begins to happen, subsequent decisions and actions aren’t usually good ones.
Danger: You fail to trust God’s control by taking matters into our own hands, and by forcing issues. You over-compensate for where you feel you’re weak.
Example: Genesis 27, 32 (Jacob)
- You scheme how to get ahead and how to gain recognition.
- You begin to depend on personal politics to advance yourself.
- You fail to recognize God’s blessing on you, in your pursuit for more.
- You fight irrational battles to get what you think you deserve.
- You may stoop to dishonesty and deception to get results.
What does the scripture say about this issue?
“Do not fret…do not be envious…trust in the Lord and do good. Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him and He will do it. Rest in the Lord…do not fret…cease from anger…” (Psalm 37:1-8)
If you see such compensation in your own behavior, Pastor, take a step back. Remember that those you lead love you. If you feel threatened, get some perspective from someone you trust. Ask them to help you understand your own world more clearly.
Remember that insecurities are often attached to past experiences. So if today’s situation stirs those unresolved feelings, we will tend to see the past in our present, when the two circumstances aren’t related at all.