I’m sitting in my living room on a Friday morning. I had great hopes to sleep in today, but I just couldn’t. I thought that maybe I could go upstairs and begin to work on one of my many dreams, but I found myself stuck.
As some of you know, I turned 40 on October 3. Many years ago, I envisioned that I would be very stable in ministry and have a doctorate by now. This would be the time I would be moving toward an empty nest, and I could enjoy some financial stability. Life took several different turns, so the aforementioned things are probably off in the distance by another two decades. What does a man do at this stage of life?
I must be honest with you. For a few years, I just gave up. When divorce seemingly shot my finances and career down the drain, I felt like life was over. With many telling me that my call to preach isn’t worth anything since I’m divorced (or acting like it by their actions), I quenched the passion to proclaim God’s message. Since some of my dreams cost money that I don’t have, I quenched the desire to accomplish any of it. Why set myself up for disappointment, right? I’ve already had enough of that. I found myself so low that I didn’t see myself as valuable at all to anyone, especially God. I let my health go and simply started existing. After depression and panic attacks, I knew I needed to take my life back.
At the age of 40, I still have dreams. I dream to pastor a church again full-time. I dream to write at least one book. I dream to be financially stable. I dream to have a podcast. I dream to have enough calm in my life to be able to sit down at the piano again regularly and redevelop my skills for my own enjoyment and God’s glory. I dream to be at a healthy weight again (10 pounds down in the last 2 1/2 months😀). My family needs more than a man who is just going through the motions. They need a man who knows who he is in Christ and is enjoying that to the fullest. When I am there, I can give my wife and children my best.
Has life knocked the wind out of your sails? Do you feel stuck? God doesn’t want you there. Unfair things in life happen. Divorce happens. Financial hardship happens. Sickness happens. The hateful actions of others happen. The enemy loves to use these things to help you feel worthless and useless to God and others. Start dreaming again. Set achievable goals. Celebrate every little victory. Accept that some dreams won’t be achieved. Here’s the hard advice – be patient. One of the reasons I stayed stuck as long as I did is because of my impatience. Rather than wait on God and trust that He would do His perfect work in me, I was so worried about my growth deadline (a self-imposed deadline as to when I should make my comeback based on what I thought others expected of me). I tried to make things happen in my own strength, only to make things worse and set myself back even more.
You may wonder why I so openly share my stories. I share because I know that many people aren’t this transparent, especially people in ministry. We fear a search committee or church member might read what we write and cast judgment on us and our ability to minister or, worst case, fire us from our ministry position. I write this in hopes that it might benefit someone. Why? I don’t want you to feel stuck or stay stuck.
While I may not have a physical pulpit, mine is in the homes of hospice patients and people who seek my counsel. I see people who think that “stuck” is their destiny. They stay in relationships with people they’re not even married to because they’re afraid of being alone or having to pay their own way. I see people who won’t further their education because they believe they can’t do it and their lot in life is to do something they don’t love or enjoy. Life doesn’t have to be that way. If GOD has put something in your heart, you won’t be at peace until you do it.
As I close this post, my prayer for you today is that you find the courage to get unstuck. God stands ready to dust you off and give you the grace to move forward. Here’s to a future of obeying God’s will!