I’ve known since 5 that I would be a preacher. As a kid, on Sundays after church I would come home, put on my bathrobe, get my hairbrush and tape recorder, and preach my weekly sermon.
I prayed to God that when He allowed to finally step out, to not let me fall, because I did not want to embarrass Him. I realize now that when God called me, He already knew every mistake I would make, every wrong turn I would take, every sin I would wrestle with, and every passion that had the potential to pull me away.
For every preacher that’s wrestling with your passions, I’m praying for you. I know you can’t tell anybody what you’re wrestling with, because people will judge you. So you hide it, behind big smilies and voluminous vocabulary vociferations. You don’t want to fail the people you serve, you don’t want to fail your families, you don’t want to fail yourself, and you don’t want to fail God…..but privately, you are failing. I want you to know that I’m praying for you and I’m here to listen. Am I perfect? Far from it. Do I wrestle with my passions? Every single day. Have I fallen since I became a preacher? Yes. But I’m a testimony of God’s grace.
So if you feel your passions pulling you, and you don’t know what to do, seek God and know you have a friend in me. Why am I posting this? Because I see so many preachers that I know and love drowning in their issues and no one will throw them a life preserver. I don’t want to drown. I want you to live. As God’s servant, many think you have super powers and that sin sees you and flees. The exact opposite is true.
You are often targeted, because your abilities and God-given skills are sought after. Your kindness often makes you susceptible to your weaknesses and your ego will cause you to seek what’s not good for you. This preaching life is rough.
But there are a few things you can do in dealing with your passions, be they sexual, drugs, ego issues, control, whatever…..
- Seek therapy. You need someone to minister to you. Therapy is a wonderful way to deal with the deluge of issues that your congregants place on you and your own internal issues. You need someone you can be honest with whom you have no ministry relationship with: a therapist gives you that outlet.
- Develop accountability partners. Vet these people carefully and once they have proven to be trustworthy, allow them to be your accountability partner. These are people that you can call and text when you are on the ledge and they will help back you down. I have three people in my life who I rely on to talk me off the ledge when I’m not strong enough to bring myself down.
- Live a life of confession. I live a life of confession. I am constantly telling God my issues and my therapist my issues and my accountability partners my issues. Why? One, it helps me normalize my issues. Now, some will read this and say “He’s giving himself an excuse to sin”. Quite the opposite. By normalizing my issues, it helps me walk in grace and compassion for others and their issues. Preachers really beat themselves up when they are dealing with their passions, to the point that many of them never recover from their falls from grace. God’s forgiveness not only forgives, it restores.
- Walk away from passions that pull you away from God. This is the hardest one. You’ve got to walk away from the things that pull you away from God’s purpose. It’s hard to let “it”, and you may even run back to “it” in moments of weakness, but fight like hell to walk away from it.
Preacher, your passions don’t make you horrible: they may you human. You’ve been tasked with the foolishness of preaching. I’m praying for you and I love you. Please pray for me and love me too.