December 29, 2016

It dawned on me today... I have two very difficult jobs.

It dawned on me today... I have two very difficult jobs.

Now, if you know me, and you know my two jobs... you are probably thinking... "duh."

For those of you who do not know me or do not know me that well, allow me a moment to tell you about my two jobs.


The first job is a Public School Teacher. I teach math, currently Algebra II and Honors Geometry. These are both High School level classes. I have taught nearly every other math available, but these are my current classes. Now, I haven't really given credence to it before, but in case you didn't know: being a teacher is hard. It is strenuous and stressful. To be good at this job, you need to be on your A-Game every day... every minute of every day. You need to be creative, imaginative, kind, stern, intelligent, quick-witted, thick-skinned, aware, attentive, loving, and over-flowing with patience. And now-a-days you need to be able to create lesson plans that address the full spectrum of learning styles, the different levels of previous knowledge with each student, and coordinate all of this with the other teachers in your department. This is to be done while also finding ways to build good, genuine relationships with both the students and their parents/guardians.

Now, lest you think that this blog post has disintegrated into a complaint session, I feel the need to point out that I am genuinely not complaining, I am simply becoming aware of what many teachers and non-teachers alike already know... this job is hard!

But this isn't my only job!

I am also the Pastor of Edgewood Baptist Church. It is a small church, this is true, but I am still a pastor and it is still a church and it is still congregated with real people. And I need to emphasize, I am not just a preacher at this church, I am a Pastor. Being a pastor means that I am available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I prepare a sermon for nearly every Sunday morning service. I make hospital calls, answer phone calls, give counsel, do funerals, officiate weddings... but this just scratches the surface of the burden that pastoring a church entails. There is a weight of responsibility for the souls that enter Edgewood that I could have never imagined before I was a Pastor.

Once again, I am not complaining... this is about realization.

Either one of these jobs alone would be difficult, so say the least. Combined... Hard. Challenging. Demanding. Tiring. Draining.

I used to think that if I was a better person, this wouldn't be that hard. I was convinced that there were really good men out there, with their "type A" personalities, that could tackle the combo of these two jobs and still be a good husband and father. I mean, certainly there were people who could be Pastors and Teachers and do it well. So, for the last 7 and a half years I have been endeavoring to get better at these two jobs, thinking that when I dropped the ball in school or church or family, that someone else would've been able to manage this better.

...

But it dawned on me today... I have two very difficult jobs. Maybe not the most difficult on the planet, but surely they rank near the top... and I am stupidly attempting to do both.

Maybe my mistakes are not to be found in poor time management or inefficient sermon prep or a failure to be focused and responsible... Maybe I have just bitten off more than I (or anyone) should chew.

More importantly, now that I have realized this... What do I do?

(There will be a "Part 2" to these thoughts eventually... I just wanted to get the first part out there because other than my lovely wife, who can't help but feel all of this with me, and my assistant Pastor, I don't think that anyone knows how difficult all of this is...)