I spent the morning working and hoping to add more prayer partners for our church planting network. Truth be known, I just needed more prayer for me, right now.
Today's blog might seem a little self-serving. But, today I need that.
About a year and a half ago, I determined that I needed to follow God, so I left my "cushy" full-time youth pastor gig to substitute teach for crumbs and do part-time... er quarter-time ministry to gain adult ministry experience and seek God's direction and timing to plant a church. Initially, it was amazing to see God make ends meet. I have no idea how He did it. Money just seemed to appear. Help came from many different places, most often not solicited. It was neat and great to trust God, though I had no idea how it was gonna work out. My faith was growing. I had even prayed about the future and where God was leading. God had answered me and was stirring new gifts and passions in me. Then all of the sudden, okay, maybe not all of the sudden, but over a couple of months, things changed.
That "God-directed" future took a turn and a door was closed, where once it had been perceived to be wide open and inviting. In the midst of that, I was offered a position that paid almost twice as many crumbs as what I was making subbing, plus provided a consistent paycheck! Wow! Praise God. He has amazing timing. I knew however that this job was not going to pay all the bills, that we would need to find another way to fund God's movement in our lives. There seems to be hope in that, but for today, my bank account is failing.
I'll be the first to admit, we or I should say, I have not been the wisest with my stewardship. Don't misunderstand, I've been a consistent giver to the Church and sometimes, others, but I've also been a consistent giver to too many banks through unwise percentage rates. But God is helping me get a handle on that. Our movement to this new journey in life has forced us to do that, if nothing else. Can I be honest for a moment, I kinda just want to go to Buca Di Beppo's without wondering how we're gonna pay for it. :)
In addition to that, winter depression (SAD, yes I know) is something I've struggled with over the last 12 years or so. Some years have been better than others. Last year, I hardly felt any effect at all. Others have been bad enought to want to quit ministry alltogether, move to Florida and live on the beach, as a bum. Well, normally it hits in late February or March. After too many sleepless weekends on youth retreats and lock-ins. I've had none of that this year and it's been bothering me for about a month now. I've been really wanting to start working out again. I've had a few weeks where that's happened a few that it hasn't. I've just been so tired and lack much motivation to do much. Not internally, mind you. I'm excited about where God has us. I have much vision and determination and passion to move forward. I'm loving this venture.
It's not really a circumstance thing. It's biological. I know I need to lose weight and work out too, but when you don't have energy all you want to do is eat cookies and lay on the couch. I have days where I persevere and I work out, but they seemed to be followed by too many days where I don't or I can't.
Let's add a bit more. A couple of weeks ago we were in Indiana for Thanksgiving. We arrive and there is a family dispute before we ever get there, to which we try and laugh about it and just roll the eyes. But, somehow, I got sucked into it. I tried to stay out of it, but I got sucked in. And a time or two, my emotions got the best of me. Amazing how family does that, huh? Anyways, we made it through the holidays and on our last night, an hour before we left my parents, I had, had enough. Emotions were exploding inside of me. I had to let it out, but I had to be a good little, Christian pastor type too. So, I let it out. And we left. I didn't say too much. I didn't attack. But, I did show a bit of displeasure. And we left.
Sometimes, I wish I didn't have emotions. Sometimes, I wish I could control them. I guess that would make me a robot. Or definitely something less than human.
So hear I am a week or two later, trying to figure out how and when to reconcile with my dad, who, of course, was who I was upset with. I've got this sinus cold for the last week or so that I've been battling. It was so bad Tuesday that I went home sick from work. I mean, if I'm going to get up early and go to work, at least I can work all day, right? So, I went home, got some medicine from the doc, and some rest.
I start feeling a bit better, so I make to work the next day, only to start the day with a mysterious phone call that we need to meet with my boss(es), payroll, and a union rep about my work hours. HUH? Where'd that come from? What's this about?
All of the sudden, I'm nervous all day. It has something to do with, maybe I'm supposed to be working til 4 pm, not 3 pm. It did. I was. We met and I found out that since the beginning of the school year, I was suppose to be working until 4 pm, not 3 pm. So, I'm like 93 hours behind. I've been being paid for those 93 hours, but I haven't worked them. AAAAAHHHHH!
Now I've got more than two weeks worth of work that I have to make-up. Sure, I've got plenty of time to do that. I think I'll do it tomorrow, when I'm doing nothing else. Egad! I was blessed with this job since I got off early and had plenty of extra time to work with church plant stuff. Meeting people, run errands, etc. Now I've got figure out how to rearrange my life again to fit everything in with one less hour a day or two (since I've got an extra hour to make up for the next 93 days of work). I was already so looking forward to having Christmas break off. Now doubly so, and I might even end up working a couple of days over break. That's sad to think about.
Okay, I'm done whining now. Today, I just needed to express why my spirit had been crushed. You may not care or you may be saying a prayer for me right now. Either way, it feels great to get it off my chest. Thanks for your prayers already.
I think I'm getting over my sickness.
I think I've got a plan for financial stewardship.
I think I'll feel like working out as soon as my sickness is all gone.
I think I'm gonna start a new diet next week.
I think, no, I know my wife loves me. She was extremely sweet and sensitive to me last night.
I think many people are praying for me.
I think that this day too, will pass.
I think my God is bigger than all my problems.
I think I'm blessed beyond what I recognize right now.
I got an email yesterday that was so timely and reminds me to just be thankful and it goes something like this.
Life Is a Gift
Today before you say an unkind word - Think of someone who can't speak.
Before you complain about the taste of your food - Think of someone who has nothing to eat.
Before you complain about your husband or wife - Think of someone who's crying out to GOD for a companion.
Today before you complain about life - Think of someone who died too early on this earth.
Before you complain about your children - Think of someone who desires children but they 're barren.
Before you argue about your dirty house someone didn't clean or sweep - Think of the people who are living in the streets.
Before whining about the distance you drive Think of someone who walks the same distance with their feet.
And when you are tired and complain about your job - Think of the unemployed, the disabled, and those who wish they had your job.
But before you think of pointing the finger or condemning another - Remember that not one of us is without sin.
And when depressing thoughts seem to get you down - Put a smile on your face and think: God is good, life with Him is better than it would be otherwise, and he is preparing a place for me right now as I type that will will cause everything else to just fade.