Have you ever known deep inside that something needs to change but don’t know what the change should be?
Have you ever known the right thing to do and just really didn’t want to do it?
Have you ever felt God put something on your heart and then quickly work to justify why you shouldn’t do it?
Honestly, I didn’t want to go into ministry.
I started down the road of personal training through the Cooper Institute at the same time I was working on my ministry degree at Oklahoma Wesleyan University.
The truth is I was kind of hoping for a back door out of the ministry before I even started.
Most would say I shouldn’t have ever entered the ministry feeling that way. That is probably wise.
Growing up in a pastor’s home I had seen the hypocrisy in the church firsthand.
Let me be really clear. My parents are amazing! They truly do love people, even people who treated them poorly. For me the problem wasn’t my parents, it was the church.
I watched my dad love people who I would overhear talk about him behind his back.
I observed people who would give to “God’s work” when really they were trying to manipulate their will in the church using their money as leverage.
I grew up watching people I knew drive $60,000 cars to church who looked the other way when a barely surviving missionary made a plea for help.
I worked with people in our church that would “bend” the truth to manipulate business deals during the week and lead on Sunday. Really? Even as a kid I could smell the stench of hypocrisy.
Oh, I was no saint either! Maybe I didn’t like these people because at some level I knew I was one of them.
Did I feel called to the ministry? Yes. Did I want to do it? No.
My heart was off track and I didn’t like the people I would have to work with.
Then it happened…
During those years of wrestling with God I was hit with depression. I don’t know why, but I just couldn’t shake the darkness. If you haven’t been through it you won’t understand how empty and dark it feels.
One night while closing down a youth center I was working in I laid on a pool table and prayed, “God I am yours. If you get me through this, I will do whatever you want.” And He did. As mysteriously as the depression came, it went away.
The problem was I wanted the pain gone, but I didn’t want to change my life’s trajectory.
I wanted God to heal me so I could get back to MY life. Yet that is exactly what God really wanted to heal, the direction of my life. He wanted to heal the part of me that I didn’t want healed, my plans for the future.
Fifteen years later my heart is full. I love the ministry more today than ever before. People are still messy, I am still messy, but being right with God and faithful to his call satisfies so deeply.
If you are going through a season in life where you feel at war within yourself, I challenge you to watch the message below.