A day of lessons

So, yesterday was too emotionally draining for me to even write about. I got home at the end of the day and just crashed…

Reflecting, I’d like to share a few things from a “pastoral” perspective. I don’t always feel like a pastor. I often don’t know that I can even define what it is that I “feel” like. A hybrid, a mutt, a chameleon, many times even an outsider, but a “pastor”… I don’t know man… I just don’t know…

I’ve wore other hats that were much easier to define…The cop hat was a piece of cake, I could turn off my emotions, walk into a crime scene and eat a cheeseburger. I rarely lost sleep over something I encountered or saw. I had a gift of separation. I didn’t need to talk about it, most of the time I didn’t even think about it again until I had to. I clocked out and checked out… Separation was like a gift and most of the time, it was easy…it was just my job.

Maybe it’s that I have spent a life time hiding insecurity, burying emotion because it made me feel like a wuss. Maybe i’ve learned from society that the only acceptable emotion for a man to experience and convey is anger and as a result embraced a lesser version of me for the sake of conformity to what is expected of me (or what I have come to believe is expected of me). Maybe that has even affected my overall view of what or who I’m supposed to be as I walk out this paradigm I have of what ministry is or what it looks like…and I wonder how much of what I have bought into is actually just BS…

Like many of you, I could certainly point out in detail what I think is BS in the church as a whole, but i’m not talking about them, I’m talking about me… What views about me, about God, about what it looks like (or maybe even more so what it doesn’t look like) to be what I dream of being have I bought into that has caused me to (or will cause me to) be less than the best me that He created me to be…? What BS is holding me back?

This pastor hat is a really tricky one for me…and only recently have I really even been able to embrace the idea of it… People have certain expectations of me, I have certain expectations of me, God has certain expectations of me and i’m not sure that they all coincide a majority of the time.

When I wore the cop hat justice was my drive, when I wore the pastor hat compassion was my drive, when I let my guard down and briefly put the pastor hat on when I should have been wearing the cop hat, it almost cost me my life. When I’ve mistakenly put on the cop hat when I should have been wearing the pastor hat, it has at times cost me my influence…

It’s weird because I’m much more comfortable turning off the emotion and pressing for justice, but it is unmistakable to me when I’m honest with myself, that I am wired for love and compassion for people even though the emotion associated with it makes me incredibly uncomfortable and at times I want to run from it…What a dichotomy…

Yesterday was a pastor hat day in a way that is still teaching me multiples of lessons. I got a call from a celebrity who needed a “pastor” to bring spiritual clarity on some things that he was encountering with his career and then I went from having lunch with him to meeting well into the night with a family at a funeral home whose son passed away tragically and unexpectedly. Multiple times yesterday I heard the words “Thank you pastor”, “Thank you for meeting with me pastor”, “Thank you for being here for our family Pastor”, “If you will stand there with me I think I could do it pastor”…pastor, pastor, pastor… and unknown to everyone I’m encountering is that the title “pastor” so often feels so foreign to me because I have a mental image of what that looks like and every reason why I really don’t fit the image… (or maybe in times past haven’t fit the image). I could tell you in 30 seconds 20 reasons that someone else is better for the job than me and yet, here I am wearing this ill fitting hat while somehow making a difference in spite of myself and learning hands on what it may actually mean for me to be what God has called me to be…

In both of these instances yesterday it was a relatively unimpacting previous encounter for me that postured me for influence in their lives now months later. “When I met you in LA I knew I liked you, I could tell you were the real deal…”, “What you don’t know pastor is that you had an impact on our son. He liked you because you were different. You’ve even hugged his neck before…”

I’m weighing today the eternal impact of seemingly inconsequential footprints that we have the opportunity to leave on a daily basis… The smile in passing, the willingness to pray for someone when they are hurting, the intentionality of hugging someone’s neck when you have no idea what they are dealing with… and what the cost may be of missing these opportunities…

As I drove home last night I was cognizant of the wind from my open car window blowing the tears across my face. I was emotionally drained weighing all of the days events but incredibly mindful of their impact on those I encountered…on me…

People are hurting…From the celebrity trying to work it all out, to the family and friends who are grieving, to the “pastor” who is trying to make sense of it all while feeling overwhelmingly inadequate and ill equipped. Apparently, our lives often do make a difference…and probably a greater difference than we presently realize…

And this is just my world…My sphere of influence…a short day in the life of another christian purposed and positioned by God to make a difference on a given day… I still don’t know where I fit in the overall “pastoral” scheme of things…But i’m very aware today of the importance of people like you and me being present, aware enough of our surroundings and willing to fill in whatever gaps that God needs filled…

In a day of lessons, my reflection and “walk away” is, “Your footprint counts…”

1 Comment

  1. Edie Frank

    excellent Aaron…..I read this to Sam and we both were shaking our heads in agreement with so many of your thoughts / insights/ and honesty. We thank you for sharing . We thank you for causing us to reflect on what God has called us to. We thank you for taking YOUR PLACE and by doing so encouraging, teaching, leading, helping so many of us find our way….to take our place! We love you PASTOR Aaron. Always, Sam and Edie

    Reply

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