On Being a Late Bloomer

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A few years back I was honored with an alumni pastor award from my seminary.

I recall feeling really humbled. When you witness moments like that in someone else’s journey, you tend to see the “completed” picture in front of you. And for some who were in the audience that day, perhaps they saw someone who had accomplished something.

Yet as the one experiencing it, I couldn’t help but reflect on all the twists and turns of the road that got me there.

I thought of the brokenness that marked so much of my journey. Looking back with the clarity of hindsight, I recognize a person lacking self-awareness. Dysfunction in my relational and family dynamics resulted. Ministry relationships driven by my insecurity were a thorny fruit to eat.

Failure wasn’t just what I deserved but it became who I was. Some of my dysfunction manifested outwardly but much of it was internalized in entangled depression, self-loathing, & lack of self-control.

What I’m saying is that no one would have pointed at me in those years & declared, “Yup, there’s a leader who’s going to make something of himself.”

Yet, here I stand.

With God’s grace & mercy, I have taken steps in unearthing much of what sourced my wounds.

I’ve also grown more accepting of the good parts of me. Part of that is embracing that I am a late bloomer.

What used to be an unrelenting sense of regret at the years I’d wasted is now a growing acknowledgement of God’s sense of timing in letting things develop the way they have.

I can be notorious in my high expectations for others but in the temptation of those ungracious moments, God reminds me to be patient as He has been for me throughout my winding path.

When I want to write people off, God reminds me that I should have been written off countless times in the past. Yet what He and others have continually and kindly afforded me is the time to grow into me.

Knowing myself with greater self-clarity, if things would have come easier to me than they have, I don’t believe I’d be the leader I am today.

I am a late bloomer who believes the best is yet to come.

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