As I read through Trevor’s intro post for the week, it hit me.
Truth be told, I have been going through a month-long funk that has been reticent to take its leave. This valley has felt misplaced because I always felt this time of life was what I really wanted moving away from youth ministry after eight straight summers of craziness and thousands of miles underfoot. I remember the mid July fatigue that would set in knowing I was only halfway done after several weeks of camp with VBS and mission trip ahead.
You see, one of the reasons I wanted to exit youth ministry was the crazy summers. I felt like it was unsustainable. Each year I saw fewer and fewer guys my age who could put up with the grind.
Yet this summer I have felt unsettled. Though in so many ways I am in a healthier place spiritually, emotionally, and physically than I was even a year ago, I find myself to be wanting. Am I just a typical 30-something malcontent or is there something else going on here?
Not sure, really. But as Trevor pointed out, the real stuff of life is found in the small things in life – the washing of dishes, potty training, mowing the lawn, and the like. This is where it hit me.
For so many years, I think I have been seduced by the escape and notoriety that a youth ministry summer provides. There is no better time of the year to feel needed and validated as a youth minister than in the summer. You are depended upon for so many things and so many folks seem to admire your dedication to their teens as you work 80 work weeks.
Yet my job could not be more different now. Much of our focus is on the school year and doing our groups on school campuses as students live their normal lives. So the summer time is, by design and purpose, pretty light. Most of my time is in the office writing and researching and spending time recuperating from a crazy school year. I get to spend more time with my family and take better care of myself.
And, it is driving me crazy I think.
Because at least for me, I was deriving my identity from something that wasn’t very real to begin with. While youth ministry summers involve tremendous spiritual growth, they often don’t last into the school year. And they offered an escape from real life that I am currently dealing with….now.
So maybe what I really needed was a healthy dose of what is real to get my head on straight. This is what real life looks like.
It is about day to day relationships and dealing with a stubborn 2-year old.
It is about caring for a pregnant wife who has cravings for sonic at 9’oclock at night when I am getting sleepy.
It is about taking the time to read and reflect about what I am doing instead of going from event to event.
This is really, really real.
And, while it drives me crazy I know something better for my family is afoot. My identity and purpose (or at least where I find them) are changing for the better these days.
What about you? How have you handled a career shift or life change? Have you struggled the same way? I would love to hear what you have to say. Leave a comment and get the conversation going.