This is actually post three is my series on Coming Clean. Why is it only the second one I have published? My wife and I are working on the second one to get it where we both feel comfortable with having it out there for the world to see! Stay tuned…the second one may be here soon.
As I prepare to write this, I am praying that what is said would be clearly said and clearly understood. My goal is not to complain nor is it to offend. Having said that, I now realize that what all the books and articles I have read on being a pastor is really true: being a pastor is lonely.
Don’t get me wrong. I have friends. I hang out with people on occasion. I am around people almost all of the time. So how can I say I am lonely? Well, I want to explain this in two different ways.
First, no matter what people know or say, no one truly understands the burden of the pastorate but other pastors. By the way, I am truly grateful for my pastor friends. What this means in terms of loneliness is that people don’t really understand what I go through. I talk to a few people when things get questionable and the responses vary from “What’s the big deal?” to “I would hate to have your job.” But it is never “I understand.” It makes it difficult to explain things.
Also, on top of that, if the problem is between two “sides,” it is seldom if ever you find a neutral party. Or if they know both sides but you only know one, they think you are taking sides. Or what about the things that I’m not even aware of and still get blamed for? How can I talk about that without hearing things like “The buck stops with you because you are the pastor.”
I’m an introvert. I don’t mind spending an entire day completely by myself with no phone, no internet, and books! It is not that I mind being alone or am never around people. It is the feeling of being alone even in the midst of people.
Second, I have accepted the fact that because I’m the pastor that means I am the occasional hang-out guy, along with my family. I understand that I’m probably not going to be the buddy who gets calls and texts regularly…except from my wife and family (awful group texts at that). I understand that I’m not gonna be the hey let’s get together Saturday and hang-out guy. I understand that we won’t get invited on trips, double dates, weekends away, or those kinds of things. I understand that.
Before I continue, let me say that it is not like any of these things have never happened, but it is not a regular occurrence. Maybe it is okay because people (including me) might get the wrong idea if they wanted the pastor hanging out all the time. But it makes life lonely at times, for my family as well.
These are things that I struggle with….just like depression and the mystery second “Coming Clean” topic. And maybe you struggle with the same feeling sometimes. My prayer is that you will find companionship with the one who will always be there, day or night, no matter what: Jesus.
I have been reading through the Psalms lately and the authors were definitely in situations of desperate loneliness at times. But through all that they went through, they knew that when they cried out, someone was listening and would respond. If there is anything you take from this post, please take this: You are never alone; God is there with you! Will you cry out to Him?