“I am in the wrong place”
This may be true or it may not be. Only time will tell. The problem is you come to the conclusion that you are in the wrong place far too soon. The minute trouble arises you start updating your resume. Wrong move.
In psychological terms, we choose fight or flight; but spiritually there is another option, we submit. Jesus neither ran nor fought when when faced with his destiny.
Jesus himself said He could could have called down legions of angels (Matthew 26:53) and destroy all who opposed Him, but He didn’t. He also didn’t run and hide. When the Pharisees and the soldiers came for him in the Garden, Peter was quick to violence, but Jesus call Him out on it and healed the man Peter wounded.
Jesus said, “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest Me as you would an outlaw? Every day I sat teaching in the temple courts, and you did not arrest Me.” Jesus wasn’t hiding or running, but too many youth pastors have a low threshold of pain and running to the next church seems like the better bet.
I was the fighter. I was fired from two churches, not for immorality our wrong doing, but because I just don’t like running. I’m not saying I was right, but that was just my default. I could have been patient, sucked it up, and learned something, but hardheadedness prevailed.
How To Kill This Excuse: Determined Patience
Determination is like a bloodhound, it picks up the scent and it does not quit until the perpetrator is found. What are we looking for?
Our True Calling
How did I know I was called to youth ministry? Well, first off I wasn’t much good at anything else and I after being fired from my second church I took a job at camp with no intention of going back to youth ministry. I was done. That was until my wife saw an ad online that her home church Birmingham, Al. was looking for a youth pastor.
After much prayer, I decided that I wasn’t going to let others end my career in youth ministry, it would be on my terms not someone else’s.
I was determined to go back into the fray and see what would happen. The church I returned to was my wife’s church and may have been the toughest church I had worked in. It was, at the time the longest I had stayed at a church, five years, but it was five years I was glad I put in. Those five years taught me about myself and what I really wanted and did not want.
After leaving that church I spent two years unemployed. That was a whole other deal. I thought again, many times, did I leave that church too soon, Maybe. Maybe not. I did not leave to run, but to explore what God was really calling me too. Waiting tables, house flipping, and grunt work gives you plenty of time to think.
I retired from full time youth pastoring in 2018, after 30 years. I ended my journey the way I and God wanted.
Time will show us our faults and then we must decide if we’ll spend a ton of time getting better at things we don’t care about or we can double down on what we are good at. The problem, in many cases, we fail at stuff and then we move on only to bring our deficits with us. Stick around long enough and let the chaos refine you.
Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. – Thomas A. Edison
Let time, patience, and prayer guide you. Don’t let your greatest strength be “giving up”.
If we are determined to not run we will figure out our strengths as well as our weaknesses. Determination and stick to it-iveness will build muscle and define our character.
The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand. – Vince Lombardi
What is at hand? What are you working on right now? What do you feel like quitting? Don’t, just yet. Work hard, study, and then check your passion level. It could be that you needed to break through a few barriers and get a few wins under your belt before you knew you could be good at X (Preaching, teaching, outreach, leadership, etc.)
If you quit, you’ll never know how close you were to finding out everything you needed to know about God, yourself, and your calling.
Remember, if you quit for the wrong reasons, your excuses go with you.