We are back in the area that we call home, thirty miles from Albuquerque and mountains right outside our windows. The size of the church is similar to past places that I served. As a pastor, I think many of us experience the highs and lows of ministry. I am no different from my fellow clergy persons. There are experiences in my past that I learned how to do things and what not to do. It is all part of the human process.
In my circumstance, it is easy to look at the new and compare it to the old. This view is not a negative judgment; it is merely a reality. My problem is that some of the negative stuff caught in my head still lingers in my mind’s crevices. One person acts like someone else, and wham, my body tenses as it waits for the scene of the past to mandate how the present will speak. Again, this is my reaction to what I experienced in the past. I need to redeem the part of me that holds on to negative messages. I must let go, but it is tough to do so.
As a child of God, I find that resentment is the hardest part of our walk. Ridding myself of sorrow is a constant struggle and must be handled, for failure to do so robs the current situation of my whole self. I am sure those who caused harm do not think about the damage done, so why should I? God ordains our calling, and so we minister right now, leaving our past behind.
What we do take forward are the truths that are revealed to us. Our calling compels us to share the Gospel by God and not by people. Sometimes there is conflict, and other times there is joy. We take all of these experiences and learn from everything, the good and the bad. Every situation informs us to move forward as we sometimes learn tough lessons on the journey.
And as far as the new surroundings, while it is great to learn from the past, I cannot let it dictate the present. Take what I learned, not how I reacted. This enlightened approach means allowing myself to objectively look at the summation of all experiences and say, “Thank you, God, for guiding me to this moment, confident that the lessons of the past may illuminate my ministry in the present.”