On Yokes and Burdens

Did you ever think that in order to be saved you had to do something hard or something that you just couldn’t bear? That’s the devil talking. God wants all people to come to Him. He won’t ask you to do anything that He hasn’t equipped you for. When I went to my old church I thought that I was supposed to become a minister. My pastor suggested to me that I should take classes at his seminary. Most of those classes are geared for teaching people how to become ministers and teachers of the gospel. Because the pastor suggested this action, I assumed he knew something i didn’t about my qualifications to become a minister. I was anointed in the church to enter into the ministry and I began taking classes at a seminary in Detroit. The seminary is located along the Cass Corridor which is assumed to be one of the most dangerous places in Detroit. I drove there alone and would drive back alone just to take classes. I live about an hour away from the school. While I don’t regret going to that school, I regret that I told so many people I wanted to go in the ministry.

I have Aspergers disorder as I’ve mentioned before. This makes me practically socially inept and sometimes it leaves me quite incapacitated. Had I known back in 2005 when I went into the seminary that this was the case I wouldn’t never had begun the endeavor. I used to get very emotional in church. I would cry because I was overwhelmed with the experience – the lighting, the people, the movement, and the music. At the time I started at the seminary the doctors thought I had bipolar disorder. I asked my pastor, “Do you really think I could handle being in the ministry?” He said, “Yes, as long as you take your medicine.” The problem was the doctors were treating me for a disorder I didn’t have. I have autism not bipolar disorder. Those two things are very different and you can’t help someone who is autistic by giving them drugs.

Basically the church didn’t know what it was doing and didn’t think me going into the seminary could lead to any harm. After two semesters and some unfinished papers later I quit going to the seminary. I had several mental breakdowns after that. I believe that the church suffered, too. I was in my twenties and I fell into the devil’s trap of pride. Most people would say, “didn’t you know any better?” I would say no I didn’t and it’s very easy to deceive me since I have autism. I don’t think the pastor was trying to deceive me. In fact, I think he assumed that as an adult I would know what I was doing and have my own best interests in mind.

Looking back I should have known I wasn’t capable of being a minister because I was barely capable of keeping friends. Pastoral ministry is a very taxing profession socially. People that go into that field love being in groups, telling stories, comforting people. I’m not even good at public speaking. Needless to say I started to have a love-hate relationship with the church. While I loved God I was angry that this seemingly insurmountable task of being a minister was looming on the horizon for me.

It is now almost thirteen years later that I can wholeheartedly say that me going into the ministry was not God’s will for me. While I am still willing to serve God it will not be in that way. He has told me that His burden for me is going to be very light. That is what I would like to share with you. If I learned anything from that experience of suffering through church and the seminary it would be that striving and struggling are not of God. When He has a plan for you it will be made known to you in a very direct way. When Paul was commissioned for the ministry it was directly from God Himself, as were all the prophets and even Jesus Himself. If God wants you to do something He makes it clear. He’s not a hiding elusive God. He makes Himself very available to his children. The Spirit He gives us makes our paths straight and our burdens light. The Holy Spirit even prays for us.

A prideful part of me wanted to be in the ministry – my ego. I wanted to earn my way into heaven by working for God. I wanted to use my intelligence to gain recognition and earn a degree that would exalt me above my peers. For doing that God brought me low and debased me in order to actually bring me closer to the humility He wants His children to have. Never once in the whole time I was going into the seminary did I hear God speak to me about what I should do. I firmly believe now that if God wanted to put me in the ministry He would have given me instruction. All of the stress and burden I put on myself. When you become a teacher you are given more responsibility by nature of the occupation and even the Bible says this. If you are not anointed to teach don’t even try it because people are watching everything you do and judging your lessons in your daily living. Teachers are judged more harshly than the rest of the church. I went so far as to believe I was a prophet. Thank God I never told anyone. The devil was filling me full of lies and on the daily my faith was being tested. When I went into the hospital it almost felt like hell and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was. When I quit the seminary I decided I had better do all the fun things I wanted to do before I had to sober up and speak and teach. My actions were not wholesome. I was going to bars, drinking, sleeping around and spending and wasting all my money on crazy lavish living. If you can imagine, I was still in my early twenties and didn’t enjoy much of my high school years because I was too busy babysitting on the weekends. I’ll be the first to admit: I was a hot mess. In that time I had just broke up with an abusive boyfriend and I hadn’t sorted my emotions out.

I’m so glad I know now what is and isn’t expected of me. I don’t feel like I have to be perfect and I’m letting Jesus do all the heavy lifting because I am not capable of carrying a teachers burden. One thing I am good at is writing. I actually enjoy it and I can do it from home. If I can help people this way this is how I’m going to do it. Right now I’m almost laying on the couch typing this with my shoes off. I feel better. While I’m not qualified to teach I will say that I learned my lesson that God doesn’t ask us to do things that we are not willing to do. His Spirit should motivate and guide everything we do so that nothing we do is born out of struggle but rather we are living lives that reflect God’s glory and the Spirit’s power. We are not here to compete with other preachers and ultimately Jesus is really the best teacher. If you are looking to study God’s Word for seminary take into consideration the task at hand. If God hasn’t directly told you that you have been given the gift of teaching or prophecy don’t dare put that label on yourself. i can guarantee that that will be a way that the devil traps you into a commitment you can’t keep and at the end of that road you will experience guilt and condemnation for your failure. Listen to God and the promptings of the Spirit.