Pretty dramatic title, right? I cannot believe it has been over a month since I last blogged. Since then, the following has happened:
- Resigned my job as Life Group Pastor at RLM
- Resigned my job as Adjunct Instructor of Philosophy at PRCC
- Moved out of our house we own (now renting it) into my in-laws
- Working fulltime at a metal warehouse in Slidell, LA
Starting last February, God began to radically turn my heart in a different direction than pastoring. Over a decade ago, the Lord told me that Philosophy was one of my “mission fields.” That time has come.
I am ready to be a missionary, not a pastor.
Granted, a pastor can live like a missionary. EVERY CHRISTIAN, if he or she is a real Christian, is called (even commanded) to live as a missionary. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ but never think or pray about how you might share your faith with the people around you, you are compromised.
After teaching as an adjunct for the past two years, my heart was so stirred and became furiously alive as I had the privilege of interacting with students over questions that really matter. I found that whereas many of them would not have given me the time of day as a pastor, some would stay after class (especially after Philosophy of Religion lectures) to ask me deep, spiritual questions of a more personal nature. This set a fire in me that could not be quenched. “This is all I want to do” I kept thinking to myself.
John Eldridge writes, “Desire reveals design, and design reveals destiny.” Yep, that about sums it up. I cannot shake my desire to step full-time into the world of Philosophy and be the “salt” and “light” that quite often does not exist in that arena.
I started filling out applications in April for both teaching positions and doctoral scholarships in both Europe and the United States. Throughout the entire process, my wife and I felt very strongly that the Lord said that He was going to open a door for the Fall. In order to give both of my employers a fair, honest notice (so that they would not get messed over in the process), I had to go ahead and set a date of termination. Both of my bosses were extremely flexible in the process. I once heard a man say, “How you leave one season will determine how you enter the next.”
Up until the last moment, we kept hanging on to the idea that God was going to open a door for the fall.
He did not. This was very hard, disappointing, and discouraging.
Plain and simple, I missed God on this part of the puzzle. But something I have learned is that in the midst of this and after over 30-40 declined applications, my desire to be in the world of Philosophy for the glory of Jesus has only grown stronger. After several clouds and foggy days, I know now more than ever that this really is in my heart. I cannot stop desiring. I cannot stop dreaming. And maybe more significant tha nanything else, neither can my wife. If my wife would not have been willing to make major sacrifices, I would have had to give up my dream after a couple of months of nothing working out. However, unlike most women I meet, she does not want things and stuff and the American dream. She wants adventure. She wants my dreams. She wants us to go for something unique and live somewhere new.
So, though I seem to have missed God on the timing of it all, we are moving forward, hardhat and all. Sidenote: be okay admitting that you miss God when you do. I have so sensed Daddy God’s pleasure over our wilingness to step out and trust Him even though we have not had it all “right.” We are filling out applications every week hoping to end up either in the Northwest, Northeast, or Europe. I desperately want a Ph.D. It is a must for academia. Until a door opens, we will be inhabiting this in-between season that quite honestly, has caught us by surprise.
But the question remains: Will I seek God and His glory in and through my life (and my family’s life) every day? Or will I demand of God that He open a door for me and let me do what I want before I really trust Him and seek Him again? These are real questions of an existential sort that are too often skirted with superficial answers from dishonest hearts. I have battled and am still grappling with this. God did not do as I thought.
So we shall see. My parents and a few friends have been really, really supportive. My wife and I have decided for bettter or for worse, that we are dreamers. In Genesis 37, Joseph’s brothers mocked him with the words, “Here comes that dreamer.” Are not Joseph’s brothers a perfect picture of the religious type of person? We have chosen to risk it all (and have already) and lose everything to go for it because safety and comfort are not all that they are cracked up to be. I gave up “ministry” for a different type of ministry. For now, I am trying ot figure out what it looks like to honor Christ working metal.
Some days my heart is heavy because I am not yet getting to do my dream. Other days, I am okay. It has been nice for a change having a job that I can leave behind when I clock out. Will I be a pastor again some day? Yes, if and only if, God wants me to be. But as my dad has encouraged me, being a “pastor” can look many different ways. At the risk of sounding a little corny, you can take the man out of the pastorate, but I am not sure you can take the “pastor” out of the man. My heart is the same. Only the externals are changing.
So this is our story thus far. We are awaiting direction and hoping to have an open door by January. Please pray for us. I am convinced that God is looking for people who in deed, not just word, really are willing to walk by faith rather than sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). My wife and I are choosing the road less traveled (Robert Frost).