Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.
1 Thessalonians 4:11 & 12
For a lot of years, my over-riding passion was to be in a place of ministry. If I were honest, I would have to say my intentions were mixed. For about 8 months, God openned the door to be an associate pastor in Delaware. I worked in music and with the youth of the church. I dearly loved the job. It felt like I was doing what I was created to do and be. Although there were opportunities as a volunteer throughout the years in a variety of other communities of faith, and I used my talents in the best manner I could muster, I always felt divided between my responsibilities as husband/father and those of ministry. The pastor position allowed me to focus on ministry. Ultimately, we couldn’t make it work financially. I was crushed. We moved back to Kansas City and my marriage began a slow death spiral.
One of Greta’s major complaints during our marriage was that I was never satisfied. She said that ministry became my mistress. I can see truth in that thought, yet also hear my own reverberating heartbeat to be who I believed God created me to be. I spent years trying to make it happen from my own planning and scheming. I don’t mean to say I was devious, my heart was good, but I now think that what was beneath the surface, was a heart striving to believe in it’s own worth.
I still do battle with this demon. Last week, I received an opportunity to post on another blog: http://www.graceisforsinners.com/life/exposed/ about marriages dealing with infidelity. Greta has been honest about the last three years of our marriage in her own blog, and I thought it might be an opportunity for us to help someone else. Honestly, I also hoped for some increased traffic on my own blog. But things didn’t work out for Greta to post, and it didn’t happen. The author of the blog, Serena Woods, called this “affair week” and has allowed people to tell their stories. It has been a beautiful example of God’s grace in healing pain and bringing change in people’s lives.
I had hoped to be part of the story. I was disappointed. But God has been talking to me about why I was disappointed. I feel very vulnerable in saying this… I still seek outward acclaim to fill an inward need. I want to be liked, in order to feel loved. The striving for outward success in a ministry context, can take the place of the very humble, practical Jesus.
I am a long ways from ministry. And that is probably good. I am working two part-time jobs, in order to dig out of the financial hole I am in. But that is OK. I must meet this challenge head on and find the value in the experience… to find God in the experience… and learn to love the life He has given me to live. I don’t know what my future is. I hope to love again. I hope to be loved. My days are simpler. My hopes are also. I want to know the fullness of a quiet life… The richness of knowing the people I meet. The confidence gained from digging out of a hole due to strength, effort, and patience. I want integrity.
I want God to say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
All the rest is just gravy…