Most pastors I know dangerously blur the lines between their identity as God’s child and their calling as a pastor. Consistently blurring these lines can be deadly to the soul. For the record, I am one of the “most pastors I know.”
Here is a litmus test that my soul is on a unhealthy trajectory and I need to either take a break, work harder on my day off or reset my approach to ministry:
1) When church matters are the last thing on my mind before falling asleep and the first thing when I wake up.
2) When I fail the Dallas Willard litmus test, “Are you more irritable than usual? Are you more impatient than usual?” If I ask myself these questions and find myself getting angry at Dallas Willard, that’s a sign.
3) When for several weeks in a row, I’ve said to my wife, “wow, that was a big week!” And by “big week” I mean: intense issues, or several nights of work. Its amazing how easily I can forget that I’ve had 6 or 7 “big weeks” in a row.
4) When I cultivate a growing indifference to people’s problems and pain as a defense mechanism for my own heart.
5) When I can’t seem to read my Bible without thinking of a sermon thread, or talk to God without only talking about church matters and church people. Whatever happened to enjoying God and His word instead of using both as a work tool?
6) When I fail the question, “Do I relate to God more as his employee or his adopted child?”
Care to share your litmus list?
I’d love to post more, but this week I’ve failed too many of these, so I’m heading outside to walk the dog and enjoy the gift of being alive.
(this post was first published in 2011 and dusted off for a redux in 2015.)