If you realize that you are in the hands of the One who made you...
If you realize that you are in the hands of the One who is all powerful, then you can live in peace even during the toughest times. You can have the patience required. You never have to lose your temper. You never have to worry. Just do what you can do as well as you can and let God take care of the rest.
As a pastor, I struggle with the customer service mindset. The idea that we are to please the customer.
Someone comes to our church, and I preach a message that runs them off. I don't think that I preach in a harsh way, but I don't neglect to teach on tough issues. Issues that would be best to leave untouched if I was in the customer service mindset. In the customer service mindset, I would just avoid them or even co-opt their beliefs and express them in the message. People like nothing better than to hear what they already believe. Why not just give them what they want?
A visitor who has come to the church a few times schedules a meeting with me to hear our view on a few issues. If you have ever been in the ministry, you know how churched people coming to your church usually works. You've experience these sorts of meetings. I don't blame them for wanting to find out if they will fit in well before they have made a serious time investment. However, the weird thing about all of this is that I believe God sent these people to our church for a reason. I am constantly praying that God will send people to our church. I believe He often does, but then the churched instincts of those He sends sets in. They will ask me during the meeting about their pet doctrine. I will usually explain, in as lovingly a way as I possibly can, that I don't hold that position. The customer service mindset tells me to agree with them, but I can't. And this encounter usually marks the end of a relationship that could have grown and been used by God to help further His kingdom here on earth. Why not just give them what they want?
I can't grow this church by appealing to the societal pressures to cave and the religious pressures to conform.
As a matter of fact, I can't grow a church.
In the midst of all these thoughts, I came to the strange realization that the customer service mindset isn't a bad one to have. It's just that I have now realized that only One customer matters. I must please Him. I must serve Him. I must cave to His truths.
And then, I can live in the peace of knowing that I am in the hands of the One who made me.
You may not be facing the same pressures in the same way that a pastor faces. But you are placed in similar situations that this same principle can be applied. The world will tell you to conform, yet you only have One to conform to. The world will try to get you distracted, yet you only have One to stay focused on.
Those who follow Jesus passionately will often find that they don't fit comfortably in the world of religion, nor do they fit comfortably in the world of the lost. Yet we are called to worship God in the midst of both and help transform them to His image. We can't change the world; He can change the world through us.
In the midst of all the awkwardness and perceived isolation that comes from pursue God's plan for this world and our churches, we must realize that we are being exactly who we were called to be and are never alone. We are loved.
We are servants of the all powerful God. He will do what He can. He will take care of us. Live faithful.