Confessions Of A Disabled Pastor

So I have been sitting on the couch for the past 10 days contemplating life. I’ve come to the conclusion that it was no accident that God allowed me to tear my ACL. God knew that for me, like Jacob, in order to stop stubbornly struggling, I need a little crippling from time to time. This has been a time to stop and smell the roses of reflection and catch fresh glimpses of insight. So before the rip current of the culture starts trying to pull me out into a sea of mediocrity I thought I would jot down some reflections, confessions really, of what I’ve seen about my own life as God slowed me down long enough to take an honest look. I hope they will inspire you to stop and reflect as well.

Life is busy, but rarely seems significant.

I didn’t work for a week and nothing significant happened, nothing. Well-meaning friends would assure me that everything was going great in my absence. Yet, looking at the Gospel accounts, Jesus couldn’t go away for more than few hours without everyone feeling the loss of His presence. Every moment of His life seemed to scream with significance and shout to the world that the Kingdom of God had come! It made me wonder if I’ve been exchanging true significance for the cheap substitute of busyness. If you take away the busyness how much significance remains?

More rest doesn’t bring more peace.

I’ve also had plenty of rest, but inner peace still seems elusive. The diminished stress just seems to have highlighted a deficiency of peace. I think the pace of life somehow blinds us to our incredible lack of peace. We are too busy to notice that we actually lack the kind of peace God promises. Maybe the reason we stay so busy is so that we don’t have to face the reality of our anemic spirituality?

The complexity of life tends to dilute purity of heart.

The challenge is that the pure in heart are the ones who see God. So, as my purity of heart diminishes, so does my vision of God. Complexity is addictive because it gives me an arsenal of excuses for neglecting what is truly important while also providing an avalanche of distractions under which I can bury the meaninglessness of my life.

It’s easy to lose sight of community amidst the throng of the crowd.

I long for a place that feels like family. I long for a place where we do more than sit next to each other, or work along side each other. I long for a place where we genuinely live life together and share our hearts and hurts, fears and doubts, laughter and tears. I have 1,300+ friends on Facebook. Yet, the more “Friends” I get the shallower my friendships seem to be. My friend Joseph came over the other night and we shared life and worked writing a worship song together. It was sweet. And I think that simple sharing of life in Jesus was the kind of worship God loves than any song that thousands might sing.

Jesus + nothing = everything.

The reality is, Jesus doesn’t need props. Something is wrong when worship needs a show to be compelling, the Word needs creative packaging to be interesting, and church becomes something I visit online. Pure Jesus – that’s what I want.  It is what produces a pure heart, pure mind, pure doctrine, pure religion, etc. Purity of life comes from an unadulterated relationship with Jesus.

6 thoughts on “Confessions Of A Disabled Pastor

  1. George its nice when God put us in a place to examine our walk. I had a great time two years ago with shoulder and knee, long process, long story but worth every minute I spent with Him. I do and always anticipate the growth and maturing He will do in me. Great to reflect and ponder on Him. Bless you my friend and continue to heal. Love Ya. Ray

  2. Jeremiah 15:16 “Thy Words were found, and I did eat Them; and Thy Word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by Thy Name, O LORD God of hosts.”

    Love you George!

  3. George, this is wonderful. Reminds me of the reflections I had as I spent two summers in bed recovering from bone reconstructive surgery on my feet. Amazing what you can hear from God when there’s nowhere to be but in bed or at home listening to Him. You and Nan will always have a special place in my heart for the season of life we spent together sharing our “hearts and hurts, fears and doubts, laughter and tears.” Thanks for being authentic and allowing me to be authentic as we navigate walking with God on this earth for such a relatively short time. Big hugs!

  4. Hi George 🙂
    I messaged you on FB but maybe I just should have told you the whole story… but first of all, how are you doing? When will you commence with physical therapy and rehabilitation? I am praying for you as I am also bedridden.

    On october 6, I was in a 6 car pileup, and 3 cars crashed me from behind and impacted me against a van that was in front of me and unfortunately, all the impact went straight and repeatedly to my head. Because of the impact, I began to have tonic-clonic seizures: 1 in the car, 1 while they tried strapping me to the gurney, 1 in the ambulance, 1 in the aisle of the hospital, and 1 while they were passing the meds IV to control the seizures. I was diagnosed with a severe concussion, brain swelling, and a severely contractured cervical and dorsal spine. Thankfully the ER doctor was also my teacher and the nurse was an old friend and I was well taken care of. I also had to get several CTs because I continued having seizures (2) after I got home. To make the story short, the only way for me to get better is resting, no stress, no school, no studying, no gym, just bed occasional walking, and relaxing and the duration is indeterminate because the concussion was severe and every body reacts differently.

    For me, these days have been awful…why? Because I can’t focus, speak, or think clearly. I broke down emotionally because the last thing I wan’t is to lose my semester in medschool. Many would say, “Debbie school isnt everything, you can catch up later, it is no big deal.” Well, for me it has been a journey of extreme sacrifice and endurance and it IS a big deal. Thankfully my teachers have been very supportive and have told me not to worry, that they will help me catch up, although my directives all want me to drop the semester, recuperate, and then begin again next year.

    You know my health has always been my Achilles heel. The last year has been no diferent (pneumonia, bronchitis twice, C-D-L-S spine contractures with severe cronic pain from the semi that hit me in december along with 9 months of rehabilitation and pain management, asma, migraines, infections, and on goes the list which is useless to finish).I had not had seizures like that in 7 years, which was when I stopped high school and went to “drumroll” School of E. After the neurologist told me on Wednesday that I needed bedrest for several months (which made me weep) I asked her, “Dr. If I tough it up, and with the help of my teachers I plough through the remaining 6 weeks, will I do myself harm?” She said, “NO, you will not do yourself harm or retrigger your seizures, but you won’t get better, not until you rest.”

    I made the decision to start going back to my classes this Monday. Why? because I would rather rest my body and mind once I pass my classes, than lying miserable in bed for months and doing puzzles all day tp keep my brain active instead of advancing my school which in itself is very long. So my plan is this: this week I am getting as much rest and sleep as possible, I am cancelling all extracurricular activities I used to have, I will drop my graveyard shifts in the ER and distribute the hours during the week, and rely on God to help my along with my teachers who have been very gracious with me and encourage me daily, and I am making charts of what I need to cover each week with a schedule so I get enough sleep.

    My hematology teacher (an internist) called me yesterday and I shared with him my plan and he said, “Debbie, come back to school, yes, you will struggle, you will be uncomfortable, your head will spin and you will have a hard time, but you will get through it. And I and the other doctors will help you and keep our eyes on you. Consider it ocupational therapy, and once the semester is over (Dec. 8), You can let your brain get all the rest it deserves and the brain swelling will decrease.

    Ha…so far for making it short. This time of frustration and dissapointment has helped me get back to my roots that no matter what I do or think I can accomplish, if I don’t have God as my ally, I can’t do anything. I am trusting that this is the best choice (despite many who think I am nuts, which I am) and If it is not the right call… I simply won’t be able to. But I want to TRY.

    Much love to you and Nan and Jackson and Eliana 🙂
    I miss you guys. Stay encouraged, you are a significant impact for so many, not just someone who teaches and has a crazy schedule. Consider me your pupil in the going-back-to-battle-wounded department.


    1. Wow Debbie, sounds like you’ve been through the ringer. I’m praying for your full recovery. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that when God sends you a speed bump, the best thing is to slow down before you crash into a brick wall :o). But you’re a big girl and it sounds like you’ve already made your decision. Just please don’t be so focused on your own goals that you miss His agenda. Love ya, George

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