Monday, September 22, 2014

On Flying

I'm a little embarrassed when I look at the date of my last post: August 20th.  Yikes.  Writing infrequently is definitely not my goal.  And it's not that I haven't had ideas of what to write about.  I have a steady flow of things I want to share and that I think are worthy of passing on.  Rather, the reason I haven't been writing regularly is that I've been doing a lot of reflecting regarding my life and my work lately and haven't quite felt able to put it into words.  Especially words that will stick around forever.

That's the interesting thing about being a pastor, at least for me.  How much are you able to really share with the people you lead and hope to inspire?  Everyone has an opinion about just about everything we do, including how open we should let ourselves be.  But I know deep down that I have to be true to myself and in order to do that, I have to give myself permission to be real, like it or not.

Most of the time, it seems much easier to face the world when you feel like you have your ducks in a row and everything pulled together.  But to be honest, I don't think I've been at that place for a long time.  I simply do not have it all together and will likely never have all my ducks in a row.  There are just too many things vying for my time and attention each day.  But what I can do is have my priorities straight, and my big rocks in place.  For me, those big rocks are faith, family, and fun.  And staying healthy.

One of the things I've been noticing in my pondering is how easy it is to fall into the cult of productivity.  What I mean by that is how we want to have something to show for our work, and to prove our worthiness at the job, so we (I) end up running from one thing to the next, trying to "get things done." 

I think part of my falling into this mentality is an attempt to answer people wondering what we pastors do with our time.  The more I'm at this, however, the more I find myself yearning for time to simply make connections and to get to know people for who they are aside from when they come to plan a funeral service or wedding, get their child baptized, or worship. 

The other thing I've been thinking a lot about lately is how many of our congregations have fallen into the realm of doing things for the people of our congregation.  My passion is equipping families to pass on faith and practice faith at home and in their daily lives.  But no matter how much I care about this, and no matter how hard I try to come up with ways to do this that are accessible, engaging, and meaningful, when it comes down to it, I can't do the work of putting those things into practice for anyone else. 

If we want to have a faith that is vibrant and active, and if we want our kids to have a faith that centers and sustains them, then we each have to make that decision ourselves and put things in place in our lives to make that happen.  There are so many things that the world tells us our kids need to do in order to be as successful, productive, and well-rounded as possible.  So we focus our attention on those things that will help them get into college, get a good job, and earn a good living. 

Yet what about when our child is bullied at school or doesn't make the team or doesn't get into the college of their dreams?  What about when they lose their job or their house or a relationship they've invested in falls apart?  What are they left with?  It is their faith that will help them through those times when life seems to fall apart despite their best intentions.  It is their relationship with God that will help them know who they are apart from what they produce or do.  And isn't this what we want for our kids more than anything?  I know it's what I want for mine.

So there you have it.  A few thoughts for a Monday morning.  I can guarantee that I'll write again soon, and much more regularly.  Sometimes putting things into words has a way of freeing things up inside and letting them go.  Now comes the fun part of seeing how they take flight.

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