Yesterday I did a Twitter and Facebook post. This is what I said:
Pastors: never wait for your congregation to feel sorry for you. You often must walk your path with lonely determination.
I received lots of feedback and emails. Some people applied it to more than just pastors with their congregations. Some applied it to themselves as members of churches. Others even applied it to personal relationships such as marriage and waiting for the spouse to feel sorry for them.
As a pastor there were many times I wished the congregation would understand me and sympathize with me. But only one or two people would. Maybe. Individuals. Rarely, if ever, the group. I learned that if I wanted pity, it may bring out the worst in the person or people I want pity from. In fact, some people despise it and punish it. Wanting pity, wanting people to feel sorry for me, is a waste of energy.
I discovered that I had to find courage to walk my own path. I had to find my own certainty. Once I found that and nurtured it, my need for pity decreased.This is not to say that I was never in need. Quite the opposite. There are times I am really hurting and could use sympathy. There’s something wonderful about being comforted. But I can’t count on it. I can’t wait for it to come before I move on. I can’t depend on pity to fuel my motivation. I can’t wait for pity, never mind praise, before I can live my life as I know I must.
In this was it is a lonely determination.
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