I had a horrible, vacant, relentlessly self-centered father. I caught his inexplicable disdain and disapproval of me during the bulk of my formative years.
But boy, when I became a believer, did I ever want to go into the ministry - more than any other thing in my consciousness.
Ostensibly, it was to serve Jesus whom I believed had saved me with His loving hand. It was the least I could do - give my life up for the One who had done so much for me.
Or was it really for myself?!
Not that my motives were entirely set in one direction or the other. They were always at best, mixed. And so much was done unbeknownst to myself in terms of motivations.
But this I have come to see - that via my mega-insecurities, I probably should have done something different with my life. Neither I nor those around me were smart enough to see it though.
In the prime of my life I went off to seminary and sacrificed (by the time you add Bible school plus seminary plus internship) you have no less than seven full years of my life studying how to do what? Conquer my own insecurities! How? By becoming SMART! Smart about WHAT? About GOD things - the main things. Why? So people would look up to me and think well of me. And if they thought well of me, they would accept me. And if they accepted me, I would finally have my great goal - self-approval! Self-completion! A vicious utilitarian (unselfconscious) scheme.
Yet Jesus sacrifice was pure, self-conscious, the very embodiment of love.
So I followed that mixed pursuit my entire adult life. Fortunately I was never led into positions and power opportunities that so often turn abusive-latent. Many who taste and experience the power of self-completion through ministry become the most abusive and dangerous of all religious opportunists.
Only question that remains? Why does it take an entire lifetime to discover such about yourself? And at an age where you are too old and too set in your ways, and too worn out to do anything to change it?
If the Holy Spirit one day allows a break-through into the veneer of transcendence, and I perceive, actually embracingly perceive that the broken little boy is fully and unhesitatingly accepted by the Center of the Cosmos Himself, I might be able to stand down from this damnable treadmill. Or if I can witness true, unconditional love and acceptance, on any level. (I have hints of that it seems, yet I'm never as willing to receive as others are to give).
In the meantime, in the words of Solomon "watch the door to her house (yes, he was referring to "the strange woman", but I take just a bit of liberty here referring to ministry and self-approval), those who enter, enter into the house of death."