Our theme this year is “The Life.” Today we explore that with…..
The Life of a Juggling Minister
Alex Lockridge started a wonderful journey as the student minister at Corbin FBC beginning in November of 2012. His greatest prayer is that each student would fully discover and live into the person God created them to be. With a desire to spend every day immersed in reading, he has found that his children, Kayden and Kinley, are a more than welcomed distraction. Married to Maria for over 9 years, he can’t imagine a more perfect life partner and mother. Behind enemy lines, he has been a loud (and obnoxious) advocate for his beloved Tennessee Volunteers.
I can’t juggle, literally. I can’t possess three items at the same time and toss them in the air one at a time. If I get all three in the air, one at a time, there is no chance I catch all three. If you are a visual person I’m sure you can picture a failing juggler, but this blog isn’t about juggling objects. It’s about juggling life, priorities, responsibilities, and ministry.
I can’t juggle, metaphorically. I don’t multitask well, at all. If I sit here, typing, and a phone call comes, I accidentally begin to hi honey. Sure, I’ll pick up some eggs on the on the…see. There it goes again. Sometimes, I can execute walking and talking, but if the talking gets deep I need to stand still. If it goes deeper, I need to sit down. I can do one task at a time well. I like to think I feel so deeply focused on my task that I refuse to share the focus with other tasks—never mind the fact that I can’t split my focus over two tasks.
I can’t juggle, philosophically. I struggle to prioritize my time and schedule in a manner equal to my philosophical ideals of what of my priorities should be; of how my life should be structured. I believe my family should come first in regards to how my time is spent, yet my timesheet reveals many other priorities that prove my belief to be only an idea.
I can’t juggle, emotionally. I do one emotion really well: happy. When the balls of sadness, anger, fear, etc. are up in the air and all I’m holding onto is happiness, I’m doing just fine. When life requires me to balance my other emotions it gets ugly. If sadness forces its way in my life I’m a train-wreck of salt water and air gasps. If anger slips in I have to exit stage left because I’m afraid I’ll say something I shouldn’t. I just want one emotion, one ball. No juggling act, please.
Then there’s ministry. As you know already, ministry requires lots of juggling. I’m a minister to youth AND children. For someone who can’t multitask I should have read the not-so-fine-print more closely. Juggling is in my title! Regardless of title, all ministers have to juggle many different aspects of the church, of life, and of faith. I write this, today, because I want you to know that you can do it. You can handle this. You can juggle all 142 of these ministry balls. I say this with confidence because, somehow, I can, too.
I can’t explain it. With all the balancing acts required in ministry I find myself, day after day, surprised and content. I don’t accomplish everything in perfect timing, with perfect execution, or in perfect harmony. Some things I do really well. Others I do a satisfactory (thanks Kindergarten grading system) job. Sometimes I spend an appropriate amount of time with my family. Other times I buy flowers and new toys to appease all parties at home. I ask for forgiveness and it is granted. I tell myself to do better and usually I do.
How in the name of all that is holy and good do I pull this off? The answer is by the love and grace of the name of all that is holy and good. The ever-present God gives me confidence. The interceding Spirit gives me guidance and strength. The loving and leading Christ gives me the example and grace necessary to fulfill my calling. The same triune God offers you all this, too.
And, in the moments when this truth doesn’t feel like enough, when the juggling act is so overwhelming that we lose sight of the one truth that should always be enough, we are blessed with people who provide us with the extra sense of hope we need. My wife and my children consistently inspire me to believe in myself. My colleagues are there to offer a shoulder to carry the burden. My friends are there when I need a mental or physical break. The good people of the church always extend grace, and sometimes homemade goods(!), when I need it most. God has placed these same people around you. Lean on them when you need it.
I can’t juggle, and that’s okay. I am made strong in my weakness. Thanks be to God.