Our Family life has been CHAOS the last few weeks…well more like months…well it kinda all started to get weird in 2006. See it’s like this, I thought I had things all figured out in 2005…I was finishing Seminary, then I would be comissioned, and get my first “Real” church as a probationary member of the UMC clergy…WELL…as the good book says, “the best laid plans of mice and men…” That never happened, and I thank God every day it didn’t!! I was so in love with the institution that I had forgotten who had called me to ministry and why! I was so into being “clergy” and the meetings and retreats and theological lunches and POWER that went along with all that that I did VERY little ministry AT ALL!
It wasn’t until I was stripped of all titles, teaching a Bible Study to a room full of homeless, near homeless, hopeless, hopeful, unstable, kindhearted people who sometimes smelled of alcohol and streets that I remembered who I was called to be. Pastoring is not about being in the right clergy group in the appropiate attire, or about how many hours you study to make sure that your sermon is in line with the Book of Discipline’s Social Principles, pastoring is about giving a teaspoon of hope to someone who might otherwise not make it until the next time you meet. That bringing of hope is not limited to the context I served in, it is also what we are called to give the family like mine who struggles each day not sure of what new setback, financial or personal, they will have to deal with tomorrow. It is to bring hope to those who work each day and are doing well, but understand that there is more to life. It is even to those who have the means to be unaffected financially by the world of today but who understand that there is something missing in their lives that “creature comforts” are not filling.
Now HOW is this the confession of a Control Freak? Well it is simple…no matter how often God lets me know that being a pastor is NOT what I expected and no matter how many times God shuts doors on the old model of what I expected life Post-Seminary to be…I KEEP looking for a way to stuff ministry back in to the box that says “Paid Profession” on it! AND when it won’t fit, my inner voice of doubt begins to chew away at my call. That pesky inner voice buzzes like a bee in my ear with doubt, anger, sadness, uselessness, failure, rejection, and a laundry list of other Soul Sucking, Ministry Killing words that open tiny wounds and then I feel plunged into hand sanitizer!!
So, how can someone who stuggles every day have anything to say to others who are stuggling? Well, that can be answered with a song I believe we sang every single day I attended Harding Academy from 2nd-12th grade…”Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you…” So, I keep seeking, and everytime I bump into a word from God, I share it and strive to use it to replace one of my pesky words my inner voice uses.
I am pretty sure I will never be in control, doesn’t mean I am not gonna keep trying to wrestle control away from God, but maybe, someday, I will begin to understand that God is not leading me to a place where I will be miserable but relax and trust that God is leading me to a place I never expected that is just perfect!
Let Us Pray: Loving and Patient God, Help your children to trust that you are here with us each moment of each day and that IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES you will be present. Remind us how many times in scripture You or Your messangers told us to “not be afaid” so that we may trust that all WILL be well, even if we can only see the next 5 minutes of our lives with any clarity at all. AMEN