Age: 42 // Favourite Food: complete organic whole-foods nut! Will probably die with a chunk of haloumi in my hand 😉 // Dream Job: Personal shopper – if shopping was an Olympic sport, I’d win gold for Australia // Current Season: Senior pastoring Calvary Christian Church with husband James; parenting twin 9-yr old boys Joe and Ben; living in Townsville but also pastoring campuses in Cairns and the Sunshine Coast, so LOTS of travel! // Met Jesus: 20 years ago, as a very accomplished sinner, working as a cop on the Gold Coast // Favourite Verse: Psalm 139 always undoes me – He had a plan, even when I was dancing on bar tables! // Instagram: @sam_mac
You don’t normal envisage an exciting new season in God beginning with a snotty session of foetal rocking on the couch, but there I was. What catastrophe had put me there? A list of expectations, both real and imagined, that scrolled through my head as we prepared to take on senior pastorship of Calvary Christian Church in Townsville. Not, as some may suspect, the lack of a department store within a 4 hour drive (…although that was pretty horrendous too!)
What I was experiencing was a crisis of confidence, and in the most epic of fashions. It was actually pretty embarrassing. Have you ever had one of those moments? When the ‘rational you’, tucked up in a corner of your brain, is looking down on ‘psychotic you’ with horror? I knew was being completely irrational, but that didn’t make the fear I was choking on feel any less real.
‘They’ll expect me to be perfect/inspirational/smart/eloquent/gifted/intuitive/parent-of-the-year’, I sobbed to my husband.
‘Hon, all I want you to do is run a weekly ladies coffee meeting,’ he soothed as he edged slowly towards the nearest exit.
‘But I’ll SUCK at that’, I wailed. ‘I don’t even LIKE women’s meetings!’ OK, that part was true.
‘Babe, don’t you think that God has planned this season out for both of us?’ he rationalised. But I couldn’t see it. My focus was solely on my own inadequacies and insecurity.
The weekend before we flew into Townsville, we were in New Zealand where James was speaking at a conference. The other keynote speaker was a man I’d not met before. Nor did Martin have any idea of what was going on in my world. Towards the end of conference, he grabbed me between sessions and said, ’Sam, I don’t know if this means anything to you, but God told me to pass you this message. He wants you to know that who you are is what they need.’ And with that he wandered off.
I plonked down on the couch in the green room like I’d been slapped. I hadn’t brought my fears to God. I hadn’t prayed. I hadn’t trusted. I had thrown a tantrum and dwelled on ‘worst case scenarios’. I’d acted like I was dong this new season alone. I’d ignored all the training and life experiences that He had woven through my life to perfect me for this very moment. I felt ashamed.
But in that moment, the Holy Spirit welled up in me like a warm hug. God was my greatest supporter and I was smack in the middle of His will. These new challenges were not hurdles but God’s vote of confidence in me.
Was I able to feel that way consistently from that point forward? Ha, nope! But I made a decision that day. If God Himself told me ‘who you are is what they need’, then my job was to believe it. God was releasing me to be my ‘best self’, nothing more and nothing less. Some days are easier than others, but I never stray from the mantra God gave me that day. It’s now my life message, and I’m grateful for the experience that provided it.