Routines are comfortable because we know what to expect and usually don’t have to exert ourselves beyond a set of prescribed boundaries. But sometimes we need to be stretched and challenged to make sure we’re still alive!
After working in pastoral ministry for over sixteen years I decided to take a leave of absence to complete a graduate degree. To do so I had to quit work and move my family over a thousand miles to a new location. Suddenly, I was without medical coverage, a paycheck and all the other perks that go with being employed by a corporate entity. That was scary!
Because we arrived several months before school started, I had to find a job so we could eat. The only thing I found was with a small landscape company that employed me to mow grass and weed flower beds in the hot California sun. It was both humbling and refreshing.
Instantly, I was thrust into the world of day laborers where titles and degrees didn’t matter–which forced me to reconsider own identity. I had been a pastor for so many years I was starting to believe that was who I was. But slowly I was awakened to the fact that my job title did not define who I was. Jesus did that when He died on the Cross. I am a child of God who has been rescued from self-destruction. My identity is wrapped up in Jesus!
Looking back on that experience, I now realize that taking that leave of absence was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Some of my colleagues advised me not to do it, but I needed to be challenged, stretched and motivated in new ways. And to make that happen, I needed to dare!
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