I’ve had a lot of conversations this week with the release of the book. They have been online, telephone, email, wherever. The contacts have been from pastors, teachers, spouses, friends from college, and pretty much across the board. I’ll comment on some of those at another time.
One theme that resonates through so many of the conversations is that pastors don’t want to reveal that they are depressed. This is also true generally, and especially in other service fields. But it seems particularly true with pastors. They mask their illness.
I know I did. I worked my tail off to put on a happy face, a “game face” with my congregation and family. It took incredible amounts of energy, and really made things worse.
But if possible what is even sadder than our self-inflicted super-pastor mindset, is that we are afraid of reprisals. I am afraid that I might lose my job, be kicked out of my congregation, that my district president won’t support me. So the very people who can and should and generally would try to help, are the ones who are kept in the dark.
Why? Why do we hide? And what will happen if we reveal to our families (Who probably already know), our congregation, and our brother pastors what is going on?
aka Todd Peperkorn
[RANT MODE: ON]
I am increasingly amazed at how pastors are depicted or considered less than human. It seems to me like every week I hear of some story about how pastors don’t have this problem or that problem because they have such a better understanding of the Gospel.
I’m sorry. I don’t buy it. If that offends your piety, too bad. IF you think that is a sign of weak faith, I’ll leave that judgment to Christ and not to you. The fact is that pastors get tired, stressed, burned out, depressed, and everything else that flows from nearly every other vocation. It is a part of our fallenness as human beings. We are not robots. I don’t have some secret gnosis or special insight into the Gospel that insulates me from the world. Far from me. In many respects as a pastor, I believe we are more susceptible to the trials and problems of the world. There is an expectation that everyone gets tired, stressed, burned out, bored, or whatever with work. We all go through it from time to time. But not pastors. Pastors don’t go through these things, because they have Jesus (and the rest of the baptized don’t?).
Fortunately, Christ uses our weakness even more than he uses our strengths. I can get tired, stressed, depressed. It’s okay. Christ is with me, forgives me, and draws me into himself.
[RANT MODE: OFF]