When thinking about a framework for laying out my personal story, I thought of Moses. While I don’t rate the same biblical or prophetic pay grade as Moses, the great movements in his life remind a bit of mine, only not in the same biblical proportions. Okay, the Moses comparison is a reach, but I had fun with it. See if you can relate.
Moses providentially found himself a member of Pharaoh’s royal family. I found myself, proventially, a leader in the institutional church. Honestly, I felt it a great honor and a holy calling to be a pastor.
Moses was afforded many privileges as a member of the royal family. I had the privileges and benefits of being a pastor. It provided me a place of belonging and purpose. Unfortunately, my identity became summarized by my vocation. I was a leader, a communicator, a caring professional, a team builder, and an advocate. I still am all of those things because they reflect who I am at my core.
The not so pretty underbelly of my vocation was a co-dependent relationship with needy people. They seemed to enjoy their need and I enjoyed being needed.
All was not well in the palace as I began to recognize its limitations, its resistance to change, and its preoccupation with itself to the exclusion of others.
My life in the palace came to an end. I didn’t kill an Egyptian. Instead I had a way of taking on difficult church situations and staying loyal against all odds… for years. The last church went through about every kind of. difficult, divisive, transitional situation you can think of. As we were on the cusp of what most in the business world call success, a couple of families decided I was a bad guy and wanted spread the word to everybody else; but me. That killed off our fledgling church on the verge of “success” and flung me into my own personal dessert.
I couldn’t figure out what to do with myself out in the dessert and I kept longing for the palace I had once loved. I tried various vocations which only proved I really did hate doing them. I was angry about it all. Sometimes, I was flat out depressed. Nothing made sense. As Moses must have been plagued by his murder of the Egyptian, I kept replaying the events that led me to be in this predicament. But somehow as I wandered around in my new digs, my opinion about the palace changed drastically and I no longer wanted to return. Like Moses, I found out that God was there in the dessert.
Moses found himself and his sense of purpose as a reluctant, revolutionary leader, who lived an edgy life of taking on the Pharaoh and leading some pretty fickle people while listening to God and being his prophet. I, on the other hand, am just trying to figure out what to do next.
My heart, which was once captured by the sense of calling that came from being pastor, eventually became devoted to being a writer/advocate. I don’t want to go back to the palace and I certainly don’t want to go back to the dessert. Instead, I want to be the guy who is using his skills to find a better way forward for those are disenfranchised by our culture, kind of like Moses became a representative for the likes of his countryman who was beaten by the Egyptian soldier. Hopefully, I have learned that it’s better to be an advocate for the oppressed than to kill the oppressor.
I like this new direction in my life that is still true to core of who I really am.
This post was originally published March 11, 2010.