But wait, pause, think for a moment before you answer that question with “Well, of course, with my own.”

Many, many years ago one of my mentors was pastoring a very conflicted congregation in which several members had no filters when it came to telling him about how things ought to be and how they weren’t. He once told me that you can listen to differing opinions only so long before you begin to wonder if they’re real or not. What he didn’t say was that you can listen only so long before you begin to wonder whether or not your perceptions are realistic … before you begin to doubt yourself.

I’ve worked with too many ministers who are living in the doubt-filling perceptions of others, and with too many who are living in the near arrogant-filled perceptions of their own. Both are in need of a good reality check.

Just as physicians refrain from giving themselves their regular check-up, good reality check-ins depend on regular visits with someone other than yourself. It is good to check-in with yourself from time to time, to ask yourself questions like, “Whose voices keep echoing in my head?” … “What words do I keep repeating to myself?”  … “Why do I keep pausing – or dwelling – there?”

Then go talk to someone. Am I really that quiet in the pulpit? Am I really the care-less jerk I’ve been painted out to be? It may be you need to work on how you represent or present yourself. It may be you actually need to work on what’s been presented to you.

But you’re not going to know until you do a real reality check!