Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Why Do I Stay?

Why do I stay in the ministry if it makes me so unhappy?

First, this blog gives an unbalanced view of my life. I do find some joy in what I do. This is the stuff I can’t say anywhere else. It’s better than a journal because it makes me feel less alone. So this blog makes my life a little more possible. By the way, thanks for reading and responding—you help me more than you might think.

Here’s a list of reasons why I stay in the ministry:

1. Because I can’t sing or dance (ba dum baah)! I have tried other things like social work and sales, but I truly suck at them. I end up being a minister no matter what other job I’m doing and that doesn’t always fit well with other occupations. (It’s sort of incongruous to quote scripture when you’re selling frilly underwear to a young woman—but that’s another story).

2. Because the church loved me when I needed them. When I was a nerdy kid, the church loved me and valued me. When I was sick, some people from a church rallied to help me. The church has also hurt me, like a dysfunctional family hurts each other, but the church is still my home. I need them and they need me.

3. Being a minister allows me opportunities to do things I couldn’t do elsewhere: writing, public speaking, teaching, studying, thinking, and music (I really can sing, but I was telling the truth about the dancing part).

4. When I don’t know what else to do, when I'm completely frustrated, when I’m dead on my feet, even when God seems far away, I still think it is right to help others.

5. Everything else bores me. I’d rather be frustrated than bored.

6. I would miss it terribly if I quit.

7. It may not always feel like a calling and I may not always be good at it, but I think I was born to do this.


  1. It may not always feel like a calling and I amy not always be good at it, but I think I was born to do this.

    I'm not currently serving in a church. I opted for an AmeriCorps position instead for one main reason: I think that most churches are more concerned with self-preservation than they are with serving the world.

    Sometimes, I feel like Jonah, as if I'm fleeing my call to the church. I don't know if I was born for the ministry or not ... time will tell if I end up back in it. What I do know is that I agree with #4, but I couldn't find a way to do that like I wanted in any church jobs I could find.

  2. That's an important point about churches being more concerned about self preservation. I have a whole rift on that that I'll probably get to.

    If we think of Christianity as a movement rather than an institution, then one can see how your service at AmeriCorps is a way of glorifying God and representing the church.

    I want to say if you feel guilt, you can get over that. If you feel pulled back to work for the church for other reasons, that's probably worth sifting out.

    But you are in no way like Jonah, who had a clear call from God to do a specific job that he did NOT want to do. You on the other hand are looking to serve God, but it's unclear to you how to best do that.

  3. Thanks for the encouragement. It is appreciated.

  4. You know, not enough people take a step back to figure out what the reasons are that they do what they do.

    Perhaps they would be less likely to leave a position that may give them satisfaction. Or help them to leave one that doesn't.

    I'm a big fan of lists....