Restless

**This may be too honest. Just a warning up front.

Carrie pointed out tonight that I've been restless now going on 8 months. It started in July. I might even go back and say it started last July... a year and 8 months ago.

It's this magical little place called Selbyville that tends to screw with your head... and your heart. Last year I was there I was still full-time in youth ministry, working with Junior High students. I was on the porch of one of the rustic little cabins with a couple close friends, too late at night, talking about how burnt out I was. It was for real too. I was sick of the kids. I was sick of teaching and teaching and teaching and feeling like they never really got it. I wanted out of youth ministry, and I had never felt that way in my entire life. I had been involved in youth ministry from the time I was in high school... but last July I had no joy in it.

At the same time I was watching our worship pastor at the Chapel crumble. He fought clinical depression for a long time and he was falling apart on the job. His relationship with our pastor was splintering further and further apart--not because they disliked each other, but because, like a doomed marriage, they couldn't communicate anymore. It wasn't working.

I saw this, and I knew I was next in line. God, I'm prideful. But it was true. I knew I had what it took to step into the role and at least move the church forward in terms of their "modernization" of worship. That was what I felt God "calling me to". In February, our worship pastor left and I did step in. I was finally out of youth ministry and fully into the worship area.

I took on leadership of Sunday mornings and continued in the Saturday night role--playing the music I wanted on Saturdays and tailoring basically to what the church wanted on Sunday mornings... whatever that means, "what the church wanted." I think I nearly killed myself doing this. I didn't realize how unhealthy, physically and emotionally, this was for me until we hired our new worship pastor in August. I stepped back to only doing Saturday nights and found rest and some sense of balance again. But I also found a deep and ugly beast called pride that was jealous beyond all measure that I hadn't been consulted on who we would hire, and hadn't even been asked to step into the role myself. (It doesn't matter that I would have failed miserably in that role, my own pride wanted it.)

I wrote a song during that time that I thought was a breakup love song with some cool imagery about a magician:

The Magician
I’m not really here, it’s a vanishing act you see
And if I disappear, would you even miss me?

Did I see hope in your eyes, hope only that I’ll be gone?
Wonderment paint on the face, of the innocent young

So with a magic word, I’ll do this thing right
Just a flick of the wand I’ll be gone from your sight

And the world will be, full of mystery again
There’ll be no more you for me, and the show will end

The stage is empty now, it’s time to go
No more sleight of hand, and we’re all alone

There aren’t magic words, to fill up the gap
For you’re there in the crowd and you don’t know where I’m at
But if I reappear would we find our way
Somehow to pull back the veil, or just vanish away…


The more I sang it though, in my own basement, the more I realized it wasn't a breakup song. It was a song from the pit of my pride, trying to deal with not being "the guy on stage" anymore. I don't know that I've even now fully dealt with it.

Anyway, it was about this time that what I knew God had "called me to" (the worship thing) began to leave me empty. I started wondering why I couldn't do more. I miss teaching. I miss the relationships and hanging out with students. I feel like I sing every week and try to create a flow of songs that leaves people feeling like they've connected with God--whether I have or not.

Take this week for instance. I did these songs and felt like there was nothing there. In the middle of one of the songs I consciously thought that... "I'm faking this." At the end I was backstage (hiding) and putting my guitar away. A good friend that I love like crazy came and found me to say how great it had been and how God was so cool. He talked specifically about my prayer for the congregation and how it had touched him and someone he brought with him who didn't know Christ. I didn't have the guts to tell him I was a fraud.

Maybe this is too much of an emotional rant, but maybe it's also sort of therapy for me. The fact is, I'm worn out. I've been searching for the "right job". I look at ministry websites, check out churches, and try to find the perfect role for myself at my current church. And I think I cloak it with things like, "If God would just show me..." I feel utterly and completely restless. I feel like I work in a system with something that I don't necessarily, theologically believe in... a large, consumer-driven business that we sometimes call church. I know that's harsh and I know God loves passionately that place and is still using it, but it's just where I'm at.

I want to climb out of this, but I don't see a rope. I keep thinking about what it means to be "called" to something and I realize more and more that I have absolutely no idea what calling is. I don't know what I'm called to beyond the relationships with the people that I love like crazy. I have dreams but right now I feel stuck.

I must be driving Carrie crazy. She's a hero to me. She continues the light that I can't always see. Caedmon's Call has a great song about that, "Hold the Light."

I don't know... I really don't.

1 comments:

  David Burke

July 11, 2010 at 8:26 PM

I am so behind you brother! So excited to see you walk the talk. Can't wait to see what God has in store and how he will use you and your family. I am here for whatever you need bro!