Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Real, honest thoughts on Ministry.

Sometimes ministry is just plain tough.

Sometimes parents beg you to teach about sex, then get upset when you "said too much." Other times, they wish you would have said more.

Sometimes girls get their feelings hurt when you don't text back, and that can get dramatic.

Sometimes kids call you when you're asleep and need to talk. For hours.

Sometimes parents are very quick to criticize and question you, but very slow to encourage.

Sometimes you go weeks without the smallest "Thank you."

Sometimes you get in really awkward situations that really have no "right" solution.

Sometimes you spend your entire weekend "working." And the next. And the next.

Sometimes you have to have really uncomfortable, confrontational conversations that no longer make you "cool" and "fun".

Sometimes you just say the wrong thing. And people get offended. And they remember it. And talk about it. And remind you about it. For months.

Sometimes you get bold-face lied to. Because kids don't want you to "know."

Sometimes people manipulate you because they know they can.

Sometimes you spend hours praying and preparing for a lesson only to start speaking to a group of students who really act like they DO NOT care.

Sometimes people hold you to an absolutely impossible standard. And sometimes you feel like they're impossible to please.

Sometimes you just can't take one more conversation about boy drama. Or mean girls. Or why I hate my parents. Or why she makes me mad. Or how I feel insecure. At least not without pulling your hair out and losing your mind.

Sometimes you can't help but look at your pay check and wonder where the rest of it is.

Sometimes you get judged for being too young, or being a female.

Sometimes people say you're too open with the students, while other people say you're too closed off. Sometimes they say you're too conservative, while others complain you're too liberal.

Sometimes you get hated for having to create a dress code. And sometimes the parents are the ones who hate you the most.

Sometimes you just get so overwhelmed with the burdens you carry with your students. Other times, you feel like you don't have anyone you can truly confide in with your own burdens.

...Sometimes, it's just plain tough. And sometimes you just get to the point where you wonder, "Why am I doing this? Why am I putting up with this? Why am I still here? Why am I trying so hard?"

It sounds awful, right? I mean after all, you're not working for those people... you're working for the Lord! Well, yeah. That's true. And good. But that doesn't change or erase the fact that you still have those times. You still have those thoughts. You can still go back and count the number of times quitting and moving on to a "better" job sounded so good. (And I promise you, ask anyone you know working in ministry. If they're honest enough, they'll admit the same.)

I have moved into my 5th year of ministry this year. It sounds crazy to me to even say that. FIVE YEARS??? Really? I'm pretty sure I was still in middle school five years ago.

It's been a journey. There have been great weeks, great months, great years, great days. And there have been weeks where I just knew I was ready to tell the Pastor why I just can't keep doing this job anymore. There have been months where I felt like I was doing nothing but messing up, ticking people off, and saying all the wrong things. There have been days where I've been so heavy-burdened and discouraged that I didn't know if I could even finish that night.

It's not always fun. And it's definitely not easy. There's so much more to it than people can see, and SO MUCH more to it than you can possibly know beforehand.

But I have learned not to quit. Not to give up. Not to bail. While I want to sometimes, I can't. Because sometimes... sometimes it's great.

Sometimes you get to be there as a kid turns to Jesus for the very first time and experiences what his grace and love feel like. And you get to smile with them, hug them, and just rejoice in your heart as they cry their eyes out at the overwhelming peace that comes over them.

Sometimes your not-so-fun conversation is just what a student needed to finally turn away from something that was literally ruining his or her life.

Sometimes you get to deliver a message or teach a lesson that you know truly changed a kid's life.

Sometimes you get to be the first person to know about some exciting news.

Sometimes you get to rejoice when a family makes it through a terribly situation.

And at just the right time, you get that encouraging email, Facebook message, card in the mail, phone call, or (my personal favorite) $10 Starbucks gift-card that just reminds you that what you're doing matters. And people notice. And they care. And they appreciate you.

And that you can't quit because you're not finished. These kids still need you, even if you do mess up and say wrong things and give wrong looks and forget to answer texts sometimes.

Sometimes it's tough. But all the time, it's worth it.

[Sometimes, I just have to write something like this to simply remind myself.]



Morgan Paige said...

i agree with every.single.one of those...the goods and the bads. it tough...but so worth it.

Anonymous said...

Young lady, I am very proud of you!! Happy 5 years of the toughest job in the church!!

-Shane Wanamaker

Toya said...

Almost 22 years for me as a minister's wife and the good ALWAYS outweighs the bad! ALWAYS! Our God is always faithful and during those tough times, He is teaching us, growing us, and asking us just to "abide" in Him. Though I'm sure I stink at it, I LOVE being a pastor's wife! YOUR pastor's wife! :) Happy 5 years (and fyi, you were NOT in middle school 5 years ago! it was college!) :)

Anonymous said...

Excellent work. A nice objective look at what you do and believe it or not I have been through some of those same moments as a teacher, nurse, and adult trainer, so I understand!

Rebekah said...


and so apt that the memory verse i chose to focus on the next two weeks is james 1:2-4.

did i mention i love this post? ;)

Kati @ "along for the ryde..." said...

It is kinda crazy how writting a blog post ab something JUST FOR YOURSELF can make u feel better already! Great post! Keep up the good work!

Megan said...

Being in ministry myself, you are not the only one who has thought those things. However, it is always more rewarding than it is tough. Even if it is just for one student, it is so worth it! Keep up the good work! They are blessed to have you!