A few weeks ago a lot of people were linking to this article by Lydia Netzer about staying married for 15 years. We’re coming up on year 14, so I read it. It’s good. If you haven’t read it, you should. It’s not earth-shattering, and the trick in anything like this is not the reading of it but the doing – the remembering and the committing and the actually doing.
I collect articles like that for the premarital sessions I do. Gretchen Rubin has a good list of phrases (http://happiness-project.com/happiness_project/2008/01/this-wednesda-2-4/) to help a couple “fight right.” Newspapers often run pieces about things couples wish they had done with their finances before getting married. And while I am able to preside at these blessed weddings, my authority on matters of finance or mediation could use a little bit of back-up. So I was happy to add Netzer’s piece to my file of things to hand to couples to read.
One of the points that she makes is to stop thinking temporarily. It’s #10 on her list. And so it happened that I was in a meeting where I had to talk with the person next to me, and I found myself talking about this in terms of being a pastor. (Note: I don’t think everything on her list can be translated to the church!) I don’t remember what the initial question was, even, but I realized that I’ve been holding part of my vocational calling back, as in, “Maybe I won’t always be a pastor, and that’s OK.”
But what happens when I do that is that I’m not fully committed to what I’m doing, right now. I’m not entirely present and attentive to being the best possible pastor that I can be, right here, because I have one eye on the job listings, over there.
The conversation has left me thinking, well past the two minutes we had to respond to the long-forgotten question. How would my ministry change if I committed to thinking that I was going to be a pastor, not just for now but forever?