Blind Spots And The Default Setting

I have blind spots.  I am always surprised to discover them.  I usually feel a great disappointment when they are revealed.  I wonder how long others have noticed my blind spots.  How long have my obvious shortcomings been clearly seen by others, and not seen by me?

My blind spots are usually revealed to me through circumstances that don’t go as well as they should have, or that have gone really badly.  Sometimes (not usually) the faithful comments of a friend bring them to light.  Sometimes they are discovered through the stinging barbs of an enemy.  Either way, it is good to finally see those blind spots.

In a parallel fashion, I have a default setting.  As a man, a husband, a father, a grandfather, a pastor, and a friend, there are certain things that I easily and regularly gravitate to.  I’ll just reference the good things at this point, and will do so without pointing them out in detail.  There are some good things that I regularly and easily do as a pastor.  They are not hard for me to do.  I don’t have to convince myself to do them.  I don’t have to remember to do them.  They come naturally, and part of the gifting that God has placed upon my life.

That being so, (the default setting), the other side of the default coin is that there are many things I don’t naturally do.  I forget to do them, they are unpleasant for me, they don’t come easy, and I will put them off as long as possible, if I am fortunate enough to even remember that they need to be done.

New trajectory of thought…

As a pastor, I have noticed that sometimes, when our churches need a change…when things are stagnant…when the people are unmotivated…when church life seems sleepy…that we as pastors will do more of what comes natural to us, and we will miss what we ought to be doing differently. We will end up doing more of the same, instead of a different thing that is needed.

The scholar will study more and determine to teach better than ever, when in reality, mobilizing saints might be what is needed.  The evangelist will decide that what is needed is a new harvest to bring excitement into the church, when in reality, the saints need some good Bible teaching.  The relational pastor seeks more relationships, instead of realizing that some administration would go a long way.  The type A guy comes in earlier and stays later, while not realizing that the people in his church would just love to have lunch with him.

We tend to not discover our blind spots easily, and when change is needed, we often resort to our default setting, instead of doing something new and different.

I agree that…

We ought to staff to our weaknesses.  We ought not to be too hard on ourselves about some of these things.  No one has every gift, and that is what the Body of Christ is all about.

THAT being so…

How can we as pastors discover our blind spots and avoid going to deeper into our default setting?  How can we avoid the ruts that the old corrupt nature falls into?  How can we seek to enrich our churches with whatever is needed, when in fact, we can’t supply all those needs on a personal level?

Rather than suggesting those answers…let’s hear from the collective. How have you guys made progress in these areas?  Let’s share our testimonies.


3 replies
  1. Trip Kimball
    Trip Kimball says:

    Bill, very good, honest post. Wives are invaluable to pastors, as far as the blindspots and default mode… if we’re open to them.

    I’ve learned (too often the hard way) that I need to listen to criticism even when it is off or overkill. Am I at least willing to consider or look at whatever the issue is from a fresh perspective? I tend to react with self-justification or rationalization of some sort, but reflecting on it on my own.

    Another way I’ve found the Lord dealing with me is in the process of discipling others… like, “…are you listening to your own teaching/ counsel?”
    Thanks Bill

  2. Tim Brown
    Tim Brown says:

    Bill – take me to lunch and I’ll be happy to point out your blind spots (except I don’t see any – but I’ll still take the lunch).

    Great post – I resonate with defaulting to your strength. It’s so easy to do. You asked the question about avoiding going deeper into default setting. Here’s something that’s current with me. We have been given another night to broadcast on our local access channel. I thought that I might double my efforts and produce a program much like the one already running. But I have been thinking about speaking with three young men in the church about designing, filming, and producing a TV program according to their vision. I am really excited about this – the opportunities for their use and growth and the possibilities of community impact. So, one response to your questions is to get out of the way and let someone else loose to move in a certain area.

  3. Josh Olson
    Josh Olson says:

    Oooo… I like where this is going.
    Great thing to think about, Bill. Defaulting to your strengths can be a great thing or something ultimately disastrous to your self and others.
    But, at the the same time, what a grand opportunity to reach out to those in our fellowships that have these “natural” talents and gifts that they are using already and giving them the encouragement and room to exercise their talents and gifts and watch God be glorified as they enjoy what they are good at and have a passion for (praise God for you being able to see that, Tim)!
    I’ve already had this conversation with a number of people in the last few days.
    Seems to be the theme for the year, so far (though it’s only a few days old). 🙂

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