Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Beautiful Letdown

I believe I go into a slight state of depression when I finish a sermon series. I spend so much time and effort preparing the sermon, I get excited about sharing what I have learned, and then...its done. On one side it seems positive because I think it reveals my passion. I truly enjoy the time in God's Word, I personally experience great benefit and challenge from what I learn, I love our church and I want them to benefit and be challenged as well. On the other hand, maybe I put too much in it. If I am going to do this every Sunday, how do I avoid the letdown - the exhaustion of having spent so much of myself in the process?
Perhaps one obvious answer is my dependence on God. Do I trust that He who has called me will also equip me? Is His power perfected in my weakness? The Bible says "yes" in both cases so it must be so.
The reality is, my life has divided attention as I continue to work in the hospital but also move closer to full time ministry with an occasional taste of what is to come. It too is both good and bad as God is using this time to shape me. Lessons of patience as the process drags on, trust in Him as I continue to be evaluated and critiqued (both by others as well as myself), a deepening passion for his people who call MPC their home. Yet it is also exhausting...the divided road is more and more difficult to travel as I keep one foot on each path. The longer I go, the more painful the stretch. Word is spreading at the hospital, so naturally people see me differently. Some see me as having limited impact and may even discount me as I am "on my way out". Others avoid me because now I am "clergy". Still others may initiate conversations that otherwise would have gone unspoken.
It really is a stretching time for me and has been for a few years now...and I still have 2 more to go. I pray for rest and peace in the comforting arms of God. I confess the need for support and encouragement from family and friends. But I have to be careful here because unless you have traveled this journey, it is difficult to know what it is like. I must not expect too much from others and then be disappointed when they don't come through.
But God knows...this is His plan. He has set me on this path and He knows the journey well. My prayer is that I will be able to praise God as David did in Psalm 4 when he writes:

"I will lie down and sleep peacefully, for you, Lord, make me safe and secure."

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