I’ll begin this post like my last in this series: My name is Dave. And I am an insecure pastor.
Insecurity, defined, is the lack of confidence in oneself; the state of being open to danger. For generations, pastors have been fearful to admit this struggle, let alone, talk about it openly. I’ve been told it will damage the platform we preach from. It’ll compromise the office and title.
I think it does quite the opposite.
As stated in Confessions of an Insecure Pastor Part 1, it’s time to bring it out in the open. Then enemy works in the shadows. Jesus brings light into the darkness. If we’re gonna attack what grows in the darkness, it’s time to bring it into the light.
Another area of insecurity in pastors is in our schedule.
I’ve stated before that I struggle with my schedule. I get the work-ethic honestly from two hard-working parents. I don’t take it for granted. I see it as a gift. But, like any gift from God, I need to be a steward…a manager of it. But my schedule can get so out of whack. Can I tell you what drives it?
It is crushing to me for people to think I’m not working hard. I used to wake up in a panic (I still do from time to time) thinking I should be in the office even though it didn’t open for 4 more hours. I’d fret over people thinking I wasn’t being productive if I didn’t have an appointment EVERY night of the week. I found myself bragging about working on my day off. Every thought, action, tweet, comment, were all laced in an insecurity over what people thought about how hard THIS pastor was working. It’s from there, I went into an unhealthy schedule driven, not by passion and calling, but by a stifling sense of insecurity. I couldn’t enjoy time with my wife. I treated time with my kids as “babysitting” instead of parenting. I’d spend most of my vacations battling depression over the guilt of being away.
I needed healing. I needed a refocus. I needed to rediscover where and who my security rested in.
The past few years for me have been revolutionary. I’ve discovered there are moments I was missing out on because my insecurities got the best of me. Rest and recreation where a waste of time in the past. They were moments that stole from me. A new, healthier mind now sees them not just as blessings but as necessities for a pastor.
I’m still driven. But it’s out of a different heart and mindset. I’m working on stuff in the early morning way before the office opens. I have evening appointments. But everything is driven by a healthy passion and drive while maintaining a healthy balance.
Here are 10 moments that insecurity will convince you is a “waste of time”:
1. Consistent devotional life. Don’t let your time in the Word preparing for your congregation supplant/replace your time to receive. Stop serving out of a dry well.
2. Romance. I define “romance” as “serving your spouse’s love language.” Go on dates. Spend time with our spouse. Whatever speaks to your spouse, discover it and DO IT!!! Don’t let it be said that you are better serving your congregation than our spouse.
3. Time with kids. Be more of a parent than a pastor. You don’t babysit your kids. you spend time with them. They need to know they are the #1 kids in your life. (Check out my thoughts for pastors about their kids.)
4. Rest. Not the same as #5. You need moments of rest where you have unplugged and pulled away from the office. You need to discover what gives you rest and allows you to relax. Some of you deal with sickness because your body cannot rest and recoup properly and, therefore, cannot fight off viruses. Resting isn’t a waste of time. You need to convince your mind of that.
5. Sleep. Not the same as #4. You need sleep. If you don’t, your body will not put up with it. Like #4, some of you deal with sickness because you are depriving your body of sleep and it cannot recoup properly and, therefore, cannot fight off viruses. Get to bed at night. Find a way to fit in a power nap. Get some sleep.
6. Networking. You are not the epitome of ideas and creativity. You need pastors (both in and outside of your DENOMINATION and pastors in and outside your GENERATION) to talk to. You need people to celebrate “wins” with as well as lament “frustrations” with. I’ll admit, it’s easier to find people to complain to. It’s hard to find other pastors who will legitimately let you share “wins” with who won’t get grumpy out of pastoral competition. Find people who will celebrate with you. Find pastors who will challenge you. Find pastors you can challenge.
7. Recreation. Fun is severely underrated. It is NOT a waste of time. Go to a movie. Play golf. Do something on your own. Do something with your family. Find something fun and just get out and have fun.
8. Vacation. Staycations are okay IF you can unplug and actually “get away from office stuff.” But you need time and relocation away from the pastorate. I’ll admit, these are tough for me to do. It’s when my depression wants to take over the guilt of not being at the church. Fight the forces of guilt and enjoy time away with your spouse and family. God will bless it and, therefore, bless you.
9. Sexual intimacy. It’s not a waste of time to talk about. It’s not optional for you and your spouse. To deprive your spouse because of busyness or desire is to give the enemy a huge place of temptation. There is no one else that can meet this need in your spouse but YOU. Far too many pastors who have fallen because sexual intimacy isn’t handled correctly. If a healthy sexuality is fostered in your marriage, you create a connection that has amazing benefits on every level: spiritually, physically, emotionally, and mentally.
10. Health and exercise. Too many pastors are severely unhealthy. Personally, I don’t think it’s a good testimony with our congregations. I’m not after a certain size or shape. I’m about endeavoring to be healthy. I run for three reasons: First, I enjoy the time outside away from the office. It’ll break up my day. Second, I do quite a bit of praying when I run. The atmosphere of God’s creation is, to me, the best place to talk to Jesus. And third, my body belongs to the Lord and, therefore, I need to be a steward.
That was a longer list than I anticipated. But the healthier I get (I’m still working on it), the more I rediscover deeper passion and excitement for what I do. The enemy wants to use insecurity to steal, kill, and destroy your ministry. Jesus came that we might have “abundant life.”
Walk in abundant married, family, and ministry life by being a good steward of your time. Be the pastor He has called you to be.
Thanks for letting me ramble…