I had a rough day at work. I’m a claims adjuster, which is actually a very rewarding job – I help people who are hurting. Ususally their house has burned up or the water heater popped and flooded them out. I’m not bragging – I’m just telling you straight up if something like that happens to you, you want me as your adjuster. I will put you back the way you were before, quickly, efficiently. I’ll take the majority of the stress of it all completely off you. That’s what I do and I do it well.
My heart, though – it longs for something else. I don’t think about it much because it actually makes me sad when I do. I used to be a pastor. When I’m in a joking mood, I tell everyone I’m a claims adjuster, which is basically the same job as a pastor, it just pays more. I miss it. When I sit and think about it, I remember all the good times, all the people I’ve met and who have allowed me to be a part of their lives. I really miss it – even the hard stuff like funerals, hospitals, jails…I just miss it.
I was the same kind of pastor as I am a claims adjuster. That right there was the problem I think.
I came home tonight after a really long day, got out the computer and got on facebook and to the right where the ads are, I saw the picture above, with the caption, “47 and ready to be a pastor? Earn a degree at a Christian college!”
I already did. I already was a pastor. I did everything I could to bear everyone else’s heavy load, and I just about killed myself doing it. There’s a big difference between calling a local contractor crazy because he can’t add up his estimate right (or even spell most of the time) and being all things to all people all the time.
I was on 24/7. At one church I even lived right across the street from the church building. People just drop by, or someone can’t get in, or the alarm goes off, or so on and so forth.
For 15 years I was everything to everyone. I should have been pointing them to Jesus. I should have been teaching them to stand on their own. All I did for those years was tighten up training wheels, AKA enable codependency.
Yes, I preached, I taught, I led. Looking back, compared to what I know now, it was incomplete, immature. I can’t go back in time and teach myself what I didn’t know. But I can do it differently moving forward.
Believe it or not, I’ve learned a lot about people and ministry being a claims adjuster. A big part of my job is to take as much on myself as I can. That’s the job. But I always take time to educate people – here are your options, here’s what your policy says, this is what I need you to do for yourself.
I tell people exactly what to expect, and then with them make it happen. I don’t push it back on them – I empower them to do it – I give them permission to help themselves. It makes people feel good, too. I get great feedback and try to help the people around me at work see that they don’t have to, and really can’t, bear the whole thing on their own.
That’s what the church I am a member of has done for me. I am responsible for my own spiritual growth. Not my pastor, not my wife, not the teacher in a class I go to on a Wednesday night. That’s what I need to do for others going forward – make them see they are powerful children of God – they can have their very own relationship with him, they can pray, they can study his word, they can minister – all on their own.
Do I still want to be a pastor? Is water wet? Do bears bear? Do bees be? Uh, yeah! And I think when the time is right, I will be.