Probably the most asked question I get in interviews and by pastors I’m mentoring is, “If you could go back and change anything in your ministry, what would you change?”

Usually I’m thinking, You don’t have enough time for me to actually answer that question. I’d change tons of things.

However, at the very top of the list would be my driving desire to be “loved” at all costs.

I have a lot of friends in ministry that are addicted to this pride-swelling choice as well.

For most of my life and certainly all of my ministry, I’ve been addicted to pleasing everyone. It didn’t matter if it cost me my personality, my family, or even at times, my vow to speak truth. I just wanted to be “loved.”

  • I would ignore the sincere compliments of others to be obsessed with the few critics.
  • I would abandon my boundaries and go above and beyond to “help” someone while ignoring my family.
  • I would put off the tough leadership decisions trying to keep all sides content.

Why? Simple. I wanted to be “loved.”

But let me tell you something. Leading with a desire to be loved is dangerous. Parenting with a desire to be loved can be destructive. And if you spend your life trying to be loved instead of being loving, it’s going to lead you to all kinds of unhealthy extremes.

Part of learning humility for me is to understand I simply can’t please everyone. Not everyone is going to like me, love me, or think I’m great. They’re just not.

I feel like I’m growing in this area. I’m learning the freedom that comes along with seeking to love, instead of always desiring to be loved.  The first leads to meaning and significance while the latter  is an emotional black hole that can never be filled.

I pray you will learn to live in the Kingdom and be freed from the sheer stupidity and vanity of going through life trying to make sure other people think the right things about you.  If you depend on other people loving everything you say or do, you will end up doing and saying nothing. I pray you’ll receive the fact that you are loved in the eyes of God in such a way that you can then go out to lead and live, seeking to truly love the people around you.

Enough about me. Does anyone else struggle with this?


LET HOPE IN by Pete Wilson