Have you ever tried to fit a square peg into a round hole? Literally or figuratively? Have you ever FELT like you were a square peg being pushed into a round hole? Have you ever tried to force yourself into a hole you weren’t designed to fit into?
In church leadership, I’ve seen all of these scenarios. In my more recent arena of church planting, I’ve seen what appears to be quite a bit of this. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad. Which is right, the hole or the peg?
Many times in my ministry career, I felt like I was a square peg being forced into a round hole. I felt like I didn’t fit in the particular situations I was in, yet I always felt called by God to be there. I found myself many times taking the role of the “maverick” and trying to push the envelope and change the culture for the better where I was. Sometimes that worked out, other times it didn’t. It is easy to miss the point in those situations.
Square pegs in round holes can find themselves internally struggling with God’s molding process. They can find themselves questioning the situation they are in, and in turn questioning God’s sovereignty.
“What sorrow awaits those who argue with their Creator.
Does a clay pot argue with its maker?
Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it, saying,
‘Stop, you’re doing it wrong!’
Does the pot exclaim,
‘How clumsy can you be?’ (Isaiah 45:9 NLT)
It may be that God needs to take you through a process to round out some rough edges. Don’t fight against what He is doing, but embrace it and trust that God knows His stuff. Don’t let pride keep you from being molded by your Maker.
At the same time, you can have other people who are trying to mold you into THEIR vision of what you should be and do. If they are godly people that have a vision from God that is clear; if they are trying to help you pray through a process; if they have God’s mission and purposes and your good at heart; if they are pointing you to God’s Word and you sense the Lord speaking, then by all means listen. Allow God to speak into your life through His messengers and servants. BUT if these things are not true and these people (even people in the church) are trying to change you to fit their own agenda, then maybe exiting that hole would be best for you. But God may choose to leave you there as His instrument. I’ve been there and it isn’t always fun, but He is honored and His purposes are fulfilled if we just trust Him.
One problem I have seen in regards to church planting…which is a big temptation that none are immune to…is to jump out of a “square peg/round hole” situation out of frustration, anger or pride and jump into church planting. The logical conclusion is that since you aren’t fitting there in that hole, just go create your own hole. Not necessarily the best option…especially if you aren’t sure that you are called. I know in my life, God used a lot of frustration and restlessness to get me to a point where I would make the jump into church planting. I resisted it for years on practical terms, but finally was obedient. However, what I’m talking about here is the frustrated church staff member or even pastor who just wants to “do his thing” or who is going to “show ’em how it’s done.” They’re tired of the round hole and just want to be free. Many a church planter has done just this. BE CAREFUL. You might just be jumping into a more frustrating round hole that you weren’t designed to fit into. You can carry a lot of anger, bitterness, frustration and other baggage with you.
Maybe God has a vision for you to do that, but the timing isn’t right and you need to be patient. Think of Abraham, Moses and a host of others who had to learn this lesson the hard way, because they took things into their own hands.
If you feel like a square peg in a round hole, PRAY. Seek God’s wisdom as to what He is doing in your life. SEEK Godly COUNSEL…then listen to what they say! Get into the Word. Hear from God. Get away and listen to Him. If God is shaping you, don’t fight it. If He is telling you to stay where you are and be His instrument, then do it. If he tells you to go plant a church…and you are sure he is telling you to do it…and your wife and family are totally on board…then do that. But don’t do it for any other reason. You’ll just be putting your square peg self into another round hole.