It’s kind of ironic, really. When I started writing Radically Normal, I was a bi-vocational pastor at The Gathering, working a second job at Starbucks. My big dream was to quit Starbucks, go back to fulltime pastoring, and get my book published.
Fast forward a couple of years and now my book has been published, but my church has closed and I’m back at Starbucks. I don’t know if I should take it as confirmation of God’s plan or simply his sense of humor, but I received my “author’s copy” of Radically Normal the same day as my first shift at Starbucks.
So what happened in those two years? There wasn’t a scandal; while far from perfect, I led this church with complete integrity. Rather, we went through many trials which slowly wore the church down. Even though the ones who remained were incredibly dedicated (and I’m proud to have served alongside them), there just weren’t enough of us.
Why didn’t God give me what I wanted? Why didn’t he rebuild my church? There were so many bright moments in the last year, I really thought he would. As it happened, I didn’t even get one day being the “pastor/author” I had dreamed of being – the day I got my author’s copy was also day after my church closed.
I loved The Gathering. I so desperately wanted my daughters to grow up in that church. I wanted to perform weddings for the kids that used to run around the basement after church. This closing was not my plan, yet I’m starting to understand how it was his.
Until all this happened, I’d kind of forgotten that being a pastor wasn’t my first calling. Even as a teenager, I believed I’d be an author someday. And the first time I said with conviction “when I grow up I want to be…”, I said I wanted to be a Christian speaker and teacher. It’s strange to see God bringing me back to that path without any striving on my part. [Note: Rereading this post a year later, I recognize I was suffering from pretty severe burnout when I wrote it – now I can once again see God’s pastoral call on me. See my post “Divine Deception” for a bit of a follow up .]
So what is next for my family? In addition to working at Starbucks again, I’m devoting my energy to this new role of “author/speaker.” I’m preparing for Radically Normal’s release, starting another book, and looking for speaking opportunities. We also think God may be calling us to a new adventure: Traveling around the U.S. and Canada in an RV on an extended book tour! More details to follow.
So even with all the disappointments and unfulfilled dreams, I know that God is good. My best always falls short of his best. That’s just the way he is.