Keeping Your Job and Your Sanity: Part III

Missed Part I and Part II?

During these months, I started to take solace in this quote: “I can’t apologize about where God is calling me.” I just didn’t know where God was calling me.

That seems direct and to the point. But the issue is also much larger. If I place all hope in myself, I am not allowing space for God to move. Perhaps God is saying that my journey here is over and is placing a call on someone else’s life to carry the baton. In my overfunctioning, my blinders were keeping me focused straight ahead, running forward with everything I had in me.

I eventually left and moved onto another ministry position. My “official” reasons were many, and made much sense. Looking back, I realize that burnout was probably the biggest reason, although I don’t know that I was aware of it at the time. I was only part-time. Why did I think I could do all of that, without even so much as a weekend vacation? Without some sort of stress-reliever.

My new position was temporary, and I often wondered if I should have stayed in that first church and tried to push through. I wondered when I left if that church would survive -- that was the overfunctioning talking.

With space between that time and now, I see that the church has moved ahead, and others became empowered when I stepped aside.

A former student in the youth ministry took the reigns of the youth ministry for a season. Talks about the new building moved ahead. That video projection ended up in the Sanctuary. New families began attending the church. Another couple stepped up to lead the college-age/stage ministry.

I thank God for my time there. I learned so much, and as I moved into a new ministry position, I knew myself better and could position myself to not fall into the same traps. I knew my boundaries of time, of communication, of needing a personal day off.

Overfunctioning? I’m done with it! I hope I never find myself thinking that the future of the church I work in is based only on the success of the ministries I oversee. I have to create that space between myself and my job, differentiating my sense of self from my work. When a day is good, I can celebrate. But when a day is bad, I need to separate myself from the situation.

And I learned about conflict and anxiety. The deacons who cried “foul” were simply anxious. The problem was not me, and I see that now. But I did not have the experience or the maturity then to know that. I laugh at that story now. If I keep living stories like that, I might have to write a book!

God is working in the midst of what I do. And God is working in the midst of what I don’t do. As long as I am in tune with God’s call for my life, then the rest will fall into place. Sometimes that might include leaving a ministry position. Other times it will mean staying even when it hurts. But God provides, and that’s all that really matters.

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