I wrote earlier this week that maybe my brain was trying to get me to quit.
On second thought, maybe my brain is just trying to save me...
My heart is broken for a church-planter friend of mine who finds his world falling down around him. Last Sunday they gave the news to their community of a resignation, a marriage in trouble, a family in crisis.
I don't know all the details of his situation... but it made me think this week about the great position that we pastors find ourselves in and often take for granted. We love what we do (usually!). Problem is, sometimes, we love it too much...
The sad truth is that too many of us pastors who would never look at porn, have a handle on our thought life and keep miles away from infidelity nevertheless are cheating on our spouses with the Church. At the very least we can say that many pastors are having an emotional affair with the Bride of Christ, and that's not a good thing...
Here's a gut-punch question that came to me this week, and that I really don't even want to type: If you are a pastor, does your spouse know beyond a shadow of a doubt that regardless of how much (or how little) you have to work right now, you'd rather be home with your family?
(Notice the question is not "would you rather..." but "Do they know...")
My wife and I have been having some good talks about "us" lately. I don't think we're done yet, but so far, so good.
I love doing pre-marital counseling, but mostly for selfish reasons. To be honest, it's always a kick in in the tail. And I need some kicks in the tail, and the absolute best (read: least-threatening) are self-imposed ones. Moments of clarity about yourself are much less threatening to your pride than insight shared by third parties... Mostly because it's difficult to get defensive with yourself.
One thing I have noticed is this- when you are first married it is almost easy to ask that very important question "How are we doing?". Easier by far, than it is, say, 5 years on. Early in a marriage asking "How are we doing" is a way to get some good husband points. Of course there will be things to work on, but you're still under the benefit-of-the-doubt warranty and course corrections are easier.
Five years on, it's a different story. The warranty has expired and you know that when you ask the question the answers will mean change and work. And there's the fact that every answer is a little knock on your pride- another area where you just haven't been getting it done, and likely haven't been getting it done for awhile.
To be perfectly honest, the first thing I did when I got the news about my friend was call my wife and tell her I love her. Because I do. And I'm working harder on showing her.
I love my church, but I'd walk away from it in a heartbeat for my family- my Amy, Jack and Jane. And what warms my heart is knowing that I have a community that would want that for me as well- not expecting me to be at everything, elders who are bugging me about taking more vacation, not less and encouraging me to be gone some Sundays, etc.
So even as my heart is grieving for my friend, I'm profoundly thankful for this life God has given me. I don't deserve it and sometimes worry about screwing it up... But it's good, and I couldn't wish for anything else.