Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Mama's Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Pastors

So it's been one of those months . . . And a conversation I had recently with someone who informed me that " . . . some people have REAL jobs" is still echoing in my mind. And quite honestly there are days when I do wish I had a "real" job. A real job with regular hours (and perhaps only 40 of them!). A real job where you most often know what to do next because everyday isn't a new challenge. A real job where you have the authority to do what you feel is right without having to convince a hundred or more (or a thousand or two) people that this is the right move while they threaten that they or someone else (usually nameless and faceless) will leave. A real job where you get merit raises and awards for doing the job well.

All that to say that some days I miss having a "real" job!

One of the most annoying things for me about some folks who object to women pastors is that they seem to think that we might dream up a need to be a pastor. Only people who have never been a pastor or part of a pastor's family could ever think such a thing! Why would anyone in their right mind chose this life? (Reminds me of a friend who said that the UMC requires psychological testing for candidates for ministry to ensure that we are crazy enough to do it!)

However, truth be told, I wouldn't/couldn't do anything else. Despite the frustrations and the bad days (weeks, months . . ), God has called me to this ministry and I am privileged to have a front row seat watching God at work in the world and in people's lives. And when folks say, "I just don't know how you can go to the hospitals and the funeral homes," I realize that they don't understand how powerfully God is at work in those places and times! When they say, "I don't know how you can stand up there and speak," I realize they don't know that I failed at every public speaking attempt in my life prior to ministry! My ability to simply stand and speak in front of a group is a result of God calling and empowering me to do it! For the past 10 years, I've found myself time and time again in my car going to do something I didn't particularly want to do and was scared to death I couldn't do because God called me to go. And the amazing thing is every time I do, I find God went ahead of me and enabled me to do whatever I was called to do-despite myself.

Strangely, funerals, hospitals, and counseling are not the things of ministry that make me want to pull out my hair and run away. Generally, it is the much more mundane tasks that wear me out: meetings, meetings, complaints, whining, and did I mention meetings? Nonetheless, God is also at work in all those things too! And when I listen, I learn and I am changed.

And I am grateful to God that I have a calling rather than a "real" job. (NOTE: I believe ALL jobs can be callings! Being a pastor just happens to be my calling!)

But it has been one of those months, so I truly appreciated Lillian Daniel's article at Faith and Leadership and most especially enjoyed the video she shared:

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