Where I’m At

It has been almost a year since things went haywire for me. Maybe things were screwed long before then – but December 25th, 2012 will be a date that will always live on in my mind as the beginning of an unfathomable nightmare.

At the time I had no idea that I was heading into such a horrific storm. I knew something had gone wrong, but I didn’t know what, I couldn’t understand why, and I didn’t know that I wouldn’t be able to fix it.

I rarely journal during the good times. I journal profusely during the bad times. One can see in my journals the growing awareness of the nightmare as the months pass – January, February, March, April, May – and then in June it becomes full-blown panic.

After that – I don’t even know how to describe it. I’ve written over one hundred pages since the beginning of this year in my journal…not hand-written, typed. Not on little journal pages – 8.5×11. Print it out and send it to the publisher – it’d be a lengthy book.

But where am I now? On Sunday, the 24th the congregation chose to retain me as pastor for another year. On the 25th I began a thirty day personal leave to focus on recovery from the trauma of this past year and preparation for the year ahead.

I feel mixed anticipation and dread. Anticipation is primary, but the dread I feel is substantive.

I anticipate what we can be. I can see it, I can feel it, I believe it, I know it. I know it.

Dread. I have weaknesses – areas of leadership I am not particularly proficient at. I’m passable, but not good. I can get along, but not excel. Over the past year the wounding I’ve taken has brought me from pass to fail in these areas of weakness.

I don’t think I can heal from these wounds quickly…and even if I could…I know that it would only restore me to passable – not make me good. So, I am more cognizant than ever before that I can’t do it alone…not that I have been doing it alone…but that I need even more help.

I hope and anticipate people stepping up and stepping in. If I’m Moses (and I’m not) I need Joshua and Aaron to hold my arms up. I dread finding myself alone.1I will go anywhere and do anything with friends. I will fight an army, play a sport, work at a task that seems hopeless, absolutely hopeless, if someone will stand with me.

So, over the next few weeks I’ll be seeking to heal and to prepare. To strengthen my areas of weakness…but more than anything, I’ll be looking to ask…and this is an area of my weakness…to ask others to give more. To give me a year – one more. A year of self-sacrifice and self-discipline, of sweat and tears.

And what payment can I give for this? At one level I must admit I follow the one who says, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” (Matt. 8:20, NIV) I cannot give more than what He offers. At another level, I know that I have never experienced such fulfillment as one receives from giving one’s energies with a community of others to a worthwhile cause (and what more worthwhile cause is there than the sharing of the Gospel?). But the latter I cannot guarantee. It is there whether there is success or failure (as some would see it, I believe the journey is success) – but only if there are those who walk alongside each other.

This is the last year for me. If the vision cannot begin to show tender sprouts by the end of 2014, I will know that it will never be – or at least, that I, I am not equal to the task.2I do not mean that I am quitting the pastorate after 2014. I mean only that if I am only able to maintain what is and not move forward – I will call it quits…but if we can move forward, even if it is just the sprouts poking out of the ground…then I will stay, stay, stay…as long as the Lord allows (I personally am an advocate for life-long pastoring, rather than moving from congregation to congregation). On a practical note, we will have run out of finances to keep going by 2014 if there isn’t some forward movement – but even if the finances somehow came without the forward momentum…I’d still know that I was incapable of the task set before me.

 

Footnotes

Footnotes
1 I will go anywhere and do anything with friends. I will fight an army, play a sport, work at a task that seems hopeless, absolutely hopeless, if someone will stand with me.
2 I do not mean that I am quitting the pastorate after 2014. I mean only that if I am only able to maintain what is and not move forward – I will call it quits…but if we can move forward, even if it is just the sprouts poking out of the ground…then I will stay, stay, stay…as long as the Lord allows (I personally am an advocate for life-long pastoring, rather than moving from congregation to congregation). On a practical note, we will have run out of finances to keep going by 2014 if there isn’t some forward movement – but even if the finances somehow came without the forward momentum…I’d still know that I was incapable of the task set before me.

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