Oh, shoot. I totally forgot about Pioneer Woman. Were you expecting Ree?? I am so sorry! But I’ve got Pete! Three cheers for Pete!
(Okay, I totally just made that up. Well, not the part about the girly sunglasses. He tells all in his new book. But he didn’t really say that. From now on, all the words in italics will really and truly be Pete’s.)
Let’s start over. Hey there, Pete. We’re going to dive right in if that’s all right with you.
(It’s all right with him.)
You talk in the book about how stuff we do for God can become an idol that we worship more than God Himself. It hurts to admit it, but I totally get this. How do you keep from this kind of idol worship in your own life?
Great question. A lot of times in our life we get so wrapped up in the “doing for God” that we forget about the “being with God.” It suddenly becomes how much I can get done and how many people hear my message. When the words “my” and “I” come into the conversation when you are speaking about serving God, then there’s a problem.
For example, the flood that happened here in Nashville recently. Our staff was out everyday that next week physically cleaning up homes and spending time with those that were devastated by the flood. We challenged them to replenish themselves every day before going back out. Taking time to “be with God” so the focus of the day never wavered.
(Pete’s church pulled together in an incredible way, helping out their neighbors in need. They even got some national TV coverage, which leads me to my next question.)
Let’s be honest. You get a lot of praise from a lot of people and, frankly, I think you deserve it, but what I’m interested in are specific ways that God keeps you humble. Care to share?
I do get a lot of praise, but with that comes criticism. I’ve found the two almost always go hand in hand. While I appreciate the input from everyone, I usually try to eliminate the highest praise and the worst criticism. That leaves a balanced portion of praise and criticism that is encouraging and constructive. And, while I can still learn from people on the edge, their praise and or criticism doesn’t carry the same weight because it’s directed at one of my messages, or one of my books, or one of my interviews. They don’t get to see the totality of my life or see into my heart.
I allow the people in my inner circle to speak freely to me and their praise and criticism carries a weight that I don’t give others. This is the only way I know how to be accountable but not go crazy from all the opinions of others.
I can totally relate to this, and I’m going to come back to your words when I’m tempted to let criticism crush me and keep me from doing what I know God wants me to do.
Okay, back to the book. Another part I really, really like is where you talk about shalom–“all things the way they are supposed to be.” You say that according to the Bible, we’ll experience shalom. But not yet. You also say, “Some people–usually called idealists or dreamers or visionaries–have a more acute sense of shalom. They feel the disconnect between what is and what should be more intensely than others.”
Whoa. I have always felt this way but had no idea how to express it. Where did you come up with this idea, and are you one of those wacko dreamer-people?
Ha! Yes, I’ve been called a wacko on more than one occasion. You know I really have nothing to back up my idea other than just personal experience. There are some people who seem to be more sensitive to the fact that things are not the way they should be. I feel this most intensely when I’m walking with people in our church who have had one personal tragedy after another or when I’m serving in a place like India. I often pray, “God, never allow me to grow numb to the disconnect. Never allow me to grow numb to the pain of others. Never allow me to grow numb for my desire of ‘shalom.'”
Nice. I like that. Okay, moving on to your better half for a minute. (Hi, Brandi!) I think it was Angie Smith that said you “married up.” I happen to love your wife (forgive me, but I read her blog religiously and yours sporadically), and I think Angie might be on to something. Brag on Brandi for a moment if you will.
First of all I think you should read my blog more regularly. Secondly, you are right. I did marry way up. My wife Brandi is truly my anchor. My life can get crazy at times and she has been with me through every single up and down experience we’ve had in ministry. I fell in love with her from the first weekend we met and that love continues to grow over time. She’s the most patient, caring mother I’ve ever seen. I stand in awe of her daily for how God is using her life.
That’s awesome. Really, really awesome.
Okay, another personal question. I’m always interested to know what kinds of dreams and aspirations God planted in people’s hearts at an early age and if they’re living those dreams now. I wanted to be a mommy and a writer. And maybe a librarian or a missionary. What vision did you have for your future when you were, say, in 2nd grade?
Well, I wanted to be a rock star. I had the band name picked out and everything. We were called Fragile Crate. We were horrible. Then I wanted to be in politics. I was sure of this one as well. The aspirations that I believe God placed in my heart were to be in a vocation that helped people. Whatever I did, I wanted to help people. I eventually discovered that politics probably wasn’t the best use of my time if I really wanted to help people.
Are you sure Fragile Crate was horrible? Really? Could it possibly be that you used up all your creative genius naming your band? Because wow.
So, I’m curious. Any more books in the works?
Yep, actually writing one right now. Still not far enough along to really nail down the title but I’m getting excited about it.
Ooooh! Can’t wait! Thanks so much, Pete, for taking the time to hang with us for a bit. We really appreciate it!
(He says we’re welcome.)
Oh, and I guess I should mention that I read the whole book and loved it. God really used it to knock my socks off. I could write another whole post.
So, tell me: what one question would you like to ask Pete? I’ll choose my three favorites and see about getting you some answers from Mr. Wilson.
(I haven’t exactly asked him if he minds me doing this, but I did read his blog twice this week, so that should count for something.)
p.s. I got a free copy of the book, but nobody paid/bribed/threatened me to write anything nice. Free will, baby! (this qualifies as one of those legal disclaimers, right?)