Farewell Quitting Season

Since we came back from our around Oz trip in 2009 and I launched into retic as a serious business I’ve had a period every year called ‘quitting season’. Its that time of the year when the heat hasn’t quite ended, when I am back to working on my own and where I am totally exhausted and considering all other options as viable. It usually runs from around February thru to late April. I begin to question whether this is a waste of time… whether I should do something else… whether ‘God has called’ me to greater things…

Each year it strikes harder and I feel it more forcefully so I’m not sure how many years of retic and turf I have left in me, but thankfully this year’s ‘quitting season’ is over.

Now of course, I will worry that the phone doesn’t ring… that I don’t have work… and all those other complaints of the self employed. (Truthfully I am glad when the phone doesn’t ring and I am ready for a few weeks when no one wants any work done!)

I find it a challenge to keep running a business and be a church leader at the same time. Danelle and I are employed a total of two days between us by our church community  (and we are cool with that – no one is screwing us)  but by the same token it limits what is possible. This week’s sermon (as with all of mine for the last few years) is a result of 8 hours of work and no more. I just can’t sit around and polish a sermon (a turd?…) for longer than is necessary. If it isn’t done in 8 hrs then this is as good as it gets…I find hard but that’s just how it is…

I actually posted my business for sale on Gumtree this year – for the price of our mortgage… I didn’t have a ‘plan B’ to turn to. I just figured I’d work it out in the moment if it came to that. One call eventuated and since then I have relaxed a bit more and can face another year. The ad has been deleted…

I must admit that our Baptist pastor’s conference this year threw a spanner in my works. I found myself around a bunch of motivated people whose focus was on developing others to work in the kingdom of God and I was inspired again for my part in this. (Thanks to Mark Edwards and the crew who made this happen) but it also left me a little disoriented when it came to the life I live.

I have enjoyed being a ‘tradie’ for the last 6 years. I get to see what its like for the rest of the world to have to earn an income and do an ‘honest day’s work’. I also get to swear and no one bats an eyelid because they expect it of me… Just kidding – I don’t swear… if I don’t have to…

But I have also felt the tension of working in a job where the sense of meaning is rather low. I understand that for some people this is life and there is no option of anything more substantial… ouch… I sometimes feel like I have ‘more to give’ than running a retic business allows. Yet I also know that while I run a business I live in the same world most of our people do. I contend with the same issues of tiredness, distractedness and tedium that others also need to grapple with. I think this is helpful for a Christian leader.

I’m not sure how many years of retic fixing I have left in me, but I’m guessing I will play that one by ear. Already as things have slowed down I observe my ‘pastor’s gut’ starting to show. That isn’t something I ever want to see happen.

Each year seems to bring a new level of weariness in business, but I also like the autonomy and freedom it provides so I am wary of giving it up. In essence the business is the way I support myself to do what I am actually called to do, but the fact is that it drains me physically and emotionally means I have less energy to give to my sense of calling – Christian leadership and mission.

At this stage it seems to be that God has said ‘too bad how sad – suck it up and keep going’. So I guess that is what I will do. Press on with this mix of running a business and leading a church. I don’t call this ‘bi-vocational’ because I am clear on my vocation – it is in the area of Christian leadership and missiion – but at least for now one of the ingredients in that seems to be an involvement in my community via a business.

Of course I could explore the possibility of hiring people to run the business / expanding / restructuring etc, but I every time I move in this direction I see myself opening up a layer of complexity that I don’t want to attend to. I’m not lazy – its just not where I want to put my best energy. And I can see a black hole sucking me in if I head down this path.

So at this stage it looks like I will continue to be a retic bloke Tuesday-Thursday and a church leader at other times. I will continue to try and walk the balance of running a business and leading a church and see where it leads.



One thought on “Farewell Quitting Season

  1. Hi Andrew

    Thanks for opening up and sharing about your retic business.

    And yes I would agree, that God is using you to reach into your community. That’s how I met you.

    looking forward to Sunday


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