Arlen Hanson has posted a great heartfelt piece on his blog that truly resonates with feelings and questions I’ve been entertaining in my head. Here’s a portion:
“I don’t know how to change it. But it must change. When some of us started talking about a new community a couple of years ago, of being and doing church differently, of abandoning what had become the treadmill and rat race of the machine and always having to make it bigger and “better”, when some of us realized we weren’t making disciples and that we had become administrators and CEOs rather than pastors and spiritual directors…etc. When all that began to happen, I remember one of the things we talked about was time. Having more of it. Having enough of it to spend it with each other. Having enough of it to spend it with coworkers at the pub or the coffee shop, or with neighbors at a backyard barbecue. Having enough time for the kingdom…. And so we said “Simplify”… Easier said than done. Maybe it’s just me and I’m retarded, but on any given day, I don’t feel like my life is any different or any simpler than it has ever been. And that is really starting to bug me. Starting to bug me in the way a rock in your shoe just keeps bugging you until you can’t stand it anymore and you have to stop everything and remove the rock. This is a “rock in the soul” and it has to come out!”
Even though I have so much more to be transformed, I know some things have changed in me. Deep inner things. I also know the last two years have brought much needed healing for me. I’ve been able to disentangle my identity as a Christ-apprentice, a man, a husband, a father and a friend from the the mess I had become as a professional pastor.
But like anything, I feel like I’ve entered into a rut of least resistance. Financially, the last two and half years have been survival mode for our family. (I’m not whining, just stating reality.) So, in order to make ends meet, I’ve had to become busy. And reality has slapped me in the face.
The other day, my six year old mentioned how he misses his mom when he’s at school. I asked him “What about me?” And with sincere honesty he replied, “Not too much. You’re not around to do much with me anyway.” Crap!
Then a couple days later, my eight year old said, “Dad, I miss you. Your never home anymore.” Crap!
One of my dreams when I left professional ministry was to spend a lot of time with my kids. In many ways, they were sacrificed on the altar of professional ministry and I wanted to make up for it by being with them during this season of their young lives. But a life after professional ministry hasn’t changed this aspect much. And honestly, I’m not sure what to do. I’m not really stressed over it. God’s taught me too much recently. And, I don’t regret where I believe God has brought us. I needed it. I think my family needed it. But there are still a lot of things that hurt and need changing.