For years I've dealt wrestled with being consumed with work, although there have been periods where I seemed to find the balance. (Please note: Let me say, this is not a rant about my current job or even my last but its more about who I am and where I am at.) I will say that I'm grateful to have a boss that frequently urges his staff to take a sabbath (as he actually reminded us this week, again). When will the work be done? Why does it take me 2 to 3 days to unplug when I'm on vacation? The questions I also wrestled with.
I never really knew how to put the struggle into words until I read Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell a few years ago. He pointedly urged the reader (that would be me) to kill the super pastor within. I write this because I know I don't struggle alone. There are more pastors and leaders who struggle with the same tendency. Here are a few exerpts from that book that I want to share with those of you this post is resonating with:
and here is a great truth that we all need to hear...
“I had this false sense of guilt and subsequent shame because I believed deep down I wasn’t working hard enough. And I believed the not-working-hard-enough lie because I didn’t function like superpastor, who isn’t real anyway.
So I had one choice - I had to kill superpastor.
I had to take him out back and end his pathetic existence.
I went to the leaders of our church and shared with them my journey as it was unfolding. I told them if they needed to release me and find a superpastor, I understood. If we don’t know who we are or where we are trying to go, we put the people around us in an uncomfortable position. They are doing the best they can with what they have - but sometimes we haven’t given them very much have we?…”
I meet so many people who have superwhatever rattling around in their head. They have this person they are convinced they are supposed to be, and their superwhatever is killing them. They have this image they picked up over the years of how they are supposed to look and act and work and play and talk and it’s like a voice that never stops shouting in their ear.
And the only way not to be killed by it is to shoot first.
Yes, that is what I meant to write.
You have to kill your superwhatever.
And you have to do it right now.”
So what next? Well, here are a few action steps I've written for myself:
“…[sometimes] the talk seems so shallow. Like nobody is talking about what really matters. I think this is a direct effect of the state of the souls of many pastors and church leaders. So many leaders in Christian communities are going so fast and producing so much and accomplishing so much that they become a shell of a person. There is no space to deal honestly with what is going on deeply inside them…”
(photo courtesy: Brad Ruggles)