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What Else Would YOU Do?

I enjoyed a lunch appointment today, catching up with a Pastor friend who has just come off of his first Sabbatical that lasted about three months. We got to talking about an aspect of vocational ministry that I have come to believe over time can be unhealthy and disruptive to the full life God intends for even Pastors to live.

The concept is this …. if you were NOT in vocational ministry, what would you do for a living?

There was a time that I couldn’t think of anything else I could do. I didn’t believe I had any transferable or marketable skills. Vocational ministry can become a “trap” in a sense, leaving you to feel as though there is literally nothing else you can do to make a living.

Honestly, not only was there a time I COULDN’T think of something else I could do for a living, but I WOULDN’T. If I talked about it, people would be nervous, wondering how serious I was. If I spoke it out loud, God would hear it, and He would NOT be happy. I am, after all, following HIS call on my life. To talk about doing something else would be an insult to Him, wouldn’t it?

Um, folks ….. that kind of thinking was actually a piece of my burnout experience. Both leading up to it AND recovering from it.

Leading up to burnout, I didn’t realize the importance of being free to talk to someone about how I felt about this. I didn’t need to, and still don’t, talk to anyone and everyone. But you gotta talk to SOMEone. Find a person who is not going to condemn you, judge you, doubt you or rebuke you for thinking that there may actually be other things you could do with your life.

Recovering from burnout, I came face to face with the reality that I just might HAVE TO do something else to make a living. If I didn’t have the courageous leaders around me at our church, who stood beside me and allowed me to recover and get well, I would not be writing this blog to Pastors today! I happen to know that my story of recovery is the minority. MOST Pastors who experience burnout lose their “jobs”.

It was during the long journey back to stability and greater emotional and spiritual health that I began to learn that God’s call on my life is irrevocable, REGARDLESS of what my vocation is! It took a while, but today I can actually talk pretty freely about a handful of jobs I think I would enjoy trying.

I’m too old for my first choice these days. I’d be out patrolling the streets and fighting crime with the finest!

How about you? If you were NOT in vocational ministry, what would YOU do?

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