I know that other professions (besides being a pastor) have high stress. Air traffic controllers, lawyers, and border patrol agents are just a few examples. But most jobs are set up to leave the stress behind them at the end of the work day. Yes, you can work overtime and deal with longer hours, but few individuals carry the stress of their jobs home with them.
Not so with pastors. My husband, when he’s not dealing with the day-to-day stress of his job, carries a huge burden for the souls of people under his care. He takes seriously his calling to be an under-shepherd of Jesus, tending to the flock and sharing the Word of God with a world in need. He’s had countless people tell him he needs to find ways to blow off steam, from his chiropractor to his family to his ministry coach. But I think the reason he doesn’t get too attached to a hobby is because he can’t let go of those worries over the souls that haven’t yet come to know Jesus, or the ones that may be heading in a direction that will take them far from God.
I’ve only seen him truly let go and enjoy himself a few times, and it tends to be when he can feel the wind in his face – piloting a speed boat, riding on a roller coaster, or driving with the top down. I’m really thankful that we found a second car and it’s a convertable, because when the weather is nice he can find some enjoyment away from the stress of life.
Thank God that it’s not all up to us. If it was solely up to him to tell every person on earth about Jesus, my husband would probably go off the deep end with worry. I think it’s my job to remind him that it’s not his responsibility to save the world, but to do what is possible to be done on any given day, all for the glory of God. Most days, I think he knows this. But I think he can sometimes forget. Prodigal Jon wrote an excellent post about that today.