The other night, I had a bad dream. Not a nightmare, exactly, but a bad dream. I don’t have these very often—no more than anyone else, I’m sure—but they kind of shake me up when I do.
It seems like my bad dreams are all somewhat the same. They involve me being back in the law office, having an important case of some sort, and messing it up, usually because I wasn’t properly prepared. They end with the judge being mad at me, my client being mad at me, my partner being mad at me, and me feeling bad and being totally embarrassed by my incompetence.
The odd thing is that I don’t remember having any dreams of this sort when I actually was a lawyer. You’d think that’s when I would have had them, when messing up a case was an actual possibility. I never did. It’s only now, when law is a remnant of my past rather than a present reality, that I’ve been bothered occasionally by this sort of bad dream.
I don’t know why that would be. I do know, though, that when I was a lawyer, I sometimes had feelings of self-doubt. I sometimes felt like I wasn’t smart enough, or wasn’t good enough, or didn’t know how to prepare well enough, to do a good job. I don’t know whether that was true or not, but that’s how I sometimes felt.
I rarely feel that way as a pastor. That’s not to say I think I’m the greatest pastor in the world or that I think I know it all or anything of the sort. I know I have a lot to learn, and I try to learn a little of it every day. I don’t often have those same feelings of self-doubt, though, because I now firmly believe I am where God wants me to be and am doing, however imperfectly, what God wants me to do. Knowing that gives me the confidence that God is in control and that, as long as I remain focused on serving God, God will bless my efforts, no matter how many mistakes I make.
I did not dislike my years as a lawyer. I was mostly happy during that time, and I see it as a necessary step in getting me where I am now. It’s just that there’s nothing like the feeling of knowing that you are where God wants you to be and are doing what God wants you to do. It’s a feeling I can’t explain, but one that is incredible to experience.
I hope all of you reading this have that feeling. If you don’t, though, I’d encourage you to think about why you don’t. Think about whether God might want you to be doing something else with your life. Pray about it, asking God to show you whether God has something else in mind for you.
The feeling that I am where God wants me to be and am doing what God wants me to do is the best feeling I’ve ever had. Compared to that, everything else seems like a bad dream.