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I want to share with you one of the major differences in my life since I left the professional ministry. It became very clear to me while I was on my trip to Haiti. I landed in Miami and went to the hotel where the team was going to meet. We would all fly to Haiti together the next morning. But I noticed myself getting nervous before I met the rest of the team.
I now know what it was: I'd tried to be as open on my blog as possible. Naked. People have commend me for being so transparent. But I have to admit that it is often very frightening. There are costs to living so openly. And I have paid them. I received a lot of flack for it. Criticism. Judgement. Condemnation. During my years of being a professional pastor I had experienced rejection‚Ä¶ not just because of what I think, but for who I am. Talking with other pastors I realize it was more than usual. I was rejected not just from those who didn't like me, but even from those close to me. I have lost many friends over the years. I recognize that I had allowed this to make me feel insecure and cautious. Even paranoid. The pressure was always great to conform, behave, and be orthodox. I would live in edit mode, careful not to reveal enough about myself to allow others to reject me too quickly. I wasn't just worried about rejection, but I often felt my paycheck was at risk. So when I was about to meet the rest of the Haiti team, I was unconsciously predicting that I would be judged, criticized and rejected.
I was delighted that my fear never materialized. I felt respected, appreciated and even loved by others on the team. I could even let my unorthodox sense of humor loose. To live without constantly worrying about losing friends or my job because of what I think is new to me. I'm still finding my feet, but this greater liberty is an exhilarating experience.
This photo is of an orphaned boy at the orphanage we visited. He was playful and happy in spite of his circumstances. Seeing my photos helps remind me how to keep things in perspective.