2018 has presented some challenges and heartaches thus making it a year I shan’t look back upon with “undiluted pleasure,” as Her Majesty once quipped. It hasn’t been horrible, but it has been a year wrought with matters here or there that have been most unpleasant. Yet, throughout it all, God has been faithful and merciful. Some issues I won’t mention only because I’m private, but I will say that I cannot be more grateful for mercy, grace, love, and support than I am now that I have a bit of hindsight.
As we move to a new year, I ponder what can be done to make 2019 better. My wife and I have some personal goals for us as a couple and we as a family, the like of which include spiritual, financial, and life goals. We are learning, even more, the importance of discipline and communication. Surprises happen, and we must be prepared. We had found ourselves unprepared here or there in moments when we thought we were prepared. Live and learn.
Ministry has been overall sound, but there have been times where that age-old dementor has prodded my mind: are things going well? Am I doing any good? Have I reached the end of my usefulness? I perhaps am one of the most insecure ministers you might meet. I may act confident, but any boldness I have in ministry is either misguided or due to the trust I have in Christ. I still struggle to determine how ministry is going. There are times when I think everything is great, and times when I wonder if I’ve lost all effectiveness. I ride on the clouds one minute only to sink in valleys the next. This is nothing new, but something I’ve dealt with for years. Maybe it’s a part of what has made me good at the ministry if God would consider me such.
I will say that this January will be a milestone for me in ministry. Thus far, since 2007, my longest tenure has been two years and six months. I’ve always had this wonder whether or not I was meant for a tenure longer than 2.5 years with any one congregation. This January will mark two years and seven months with Glendale Road, and come Father’s Day, I will have been here three years thus breaking the curse of a short-term ministry at one congregation.
In 2019, I have resolved to turn down speaking appointments unless already scheduled. My wife and I spoke about this over lunch today, and while I enjoy speaking at other congregations, it does make for a hectic time since most of those appointments occur within June–August. Perhaps after taking a year sabbatical from speaking appointments will be refreshing. It will also save mileage on our vehicles and allow me to be home more, which has become special to us.
I continue to be as active as possible in our local Rotary Club. I’m now public relations chair, co-chair of the speech competition, and am assisting with a program where we build wheelchair ramps for those who are in need of them and cannot afford them. I don’t do the actual building, but organize some of the workers from time to time. On top of that, I still do my Sgt. at Arms duties.
Here lately, my work with the Sheriff’s office has consisted mostly of special assignments. I don’t mind doing them because it frees up the road units to do police work of another nature whereas this might thin the workforce on the street. I hope to do more ride alongs in 2019 as well as training here or there when available. I’ve really enjoyed this work and wish to become more active in it as time permits.
If I could have one overall goal for 2019, it would be to focus on transforming my mind. I could still do with increased patience. Making a concerted effort at this is what I suppose it will take. In addition to increased patience, I want to grow in a godly outlook. The things that upset me are usually things that, were I to allow faith to rule, would not be as problematic. I certainly want to be more joyful. I wouldn’t say that I’m a negative person, but I can be. I worry about too much. I need to just let go and trust God to do good with things.
I remain thankful for my family’s health, our home, and the life we have to live here on earth. It could be over at any minute. That wouldn’t be so bad. To be with Christ is something I continue to grow in desiring as each year passes. It’s something I look forward to one day and only hope that when it comes, I will be ready.