Self-Worth, Ministry, and Misery—2

I ended yesterday’s post telling about my ministerial jealousy and how I became very tired.

In fact, I got so tired that I would wake up, have breakfast, and take a nap. Then I’d wake up, have lunch, and take a nap. Then I’d wake up, have dinner, and take a nap. And so on. I decided to self-diagnose “extreme tiredness” and the first thing I stumbled upon was leukemia and now I had another thing to worry about.

Finally I went to the doctor and he ran some tests and told me that I was hypoglycemic. He told me to eat only protein and to start exercising hard on a daily basis. This did help but only so much. Even so, I really did want to please the Lord and I was reading my Bible daily. I even apologized to a youth guy for being jealous of him!

But I was still a bitter, tired, frustrated mess, and I did so poorly in school that semester that I got put on academic probation even though I dropped everything but one class!

Then one evening I was in a pool playing Marco Polo with some high school students and, while underwater, I suddenly felt a sharp twang in my left shoulder. Two thoughts occurred almost simultaneously: “I’ve just dislocated my shoulder” and “Do not be a mule without understanding!” (Psalm 32:9). That later thought struck me harder than the former.

When I surfaced I announced, “I’ve just dislocated my shoulder!” One of the high school students said he knew how to reset my shoulder, so standing on the deck while I was still in the water, he started yanking my arm upward. We soon realized that he actually had no idea how to reset a shoulder. It got reset in the emergency room and I was given a shoulder immobilizer which meant that I couldn’t run or do any other kind of meaningful exercise. So now I had hypoglycemia and was constantly tired, was getting Big Macs but throwing away the buns, couldn’t exercise, couldn’t sleep comfortably because of my shoulder, was jealous, bitter, and felt like a ministry failure.

I was broken.

I knew I had been building my self-worth on my ministry success and I now realized that this not only displeased the Lord—He wasn’t going to put up with it! I appreciated that! Really. I felt loved. A day or two later I resigned from being a youth minister—effective immediately (sorry CE director—I could have handled that better!). I took stock of my life and I repented for loving this world and for looking for glory from other humans.

I don’t think I recited my “youth pastor of a mega-church, associate pastor of a mega-church, pastor of a mega-church…” mantra thingy ever again.

I was changed. Not even remotely perfect, but different. And I started getting better but there was still more to learn. You see, you can’t just stop lusting after the wrong things: you need to start lusting after the right things and that was still to come.

But now I was out of ministry and out of a job.

More tomorrow.

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2 Responses to Self-Worth, Ministry, and Misery—2

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