I pray the day is finding you well.
A friend of mine contacted me asking how I ended up being a pastor/chaplain?
I started thinking about her question.
I started thinking about what I like to call, "The flat tire on the road trip of life."
As a chaplain I get the opportunity to work with many different people who have many different hurts. Most of the time we can walk though their issues fairly quickly.
There are those whose hurts run deeper.
There are some in whom their hurts have stymied them altogether and they are stuck. They cannot make any forward progress because they cannot get past their pain. With these people I have the chance to teach them how to move forward, giving them the tools they will need to get past this hurt. I call this their flat tire.
I want to tell you a little of my story.
When I was young I played football. I was okay at it. Good enough to win some accolades. Good enough to get scholarships and offers to play in college. I had lots of friends and a girlfriend that I was pretty fond of.
I went on to play football in college. I got hurt playing football in college.
One day I called my girlfriend to wish her happy birthday. She answered the phone and said, "I don't love you. I never did love you. You were nothing more than a status symbol for me."
This did more than just break my heart. I started looking around and came to the conclusion that many of my friends were not friends at all. They were what we would call, "Hangers-on"...people that just hang around because of what you can give them.
I began to feel alone. I began to feel unworthy. I felt unlovable.
I could not shake this. I was stuck.
I was experiencing a flat tire that I did not know how to fix.
I stayed there by the side of the road with my flat tire for some time.
I did not know how to fix this. I was a mess.
It took time but with the help of some very good and loving people I healed.
One thing that I have found is that God will, if you let Him, use your hurts to help others.
I work with giving people the tools to fix their flat tires on the road trip of life so the flat tire no longer defines them but merely becomes a story in their life.
It isn't fun being stuck on the side of the road, watching life pass you by, wondering if someone will stop and help you.
I know now that my girlfriend never really meant to hurt me. She wanted to move on and did not have the words to tell me, she used the words she knew.
I forgave her years ago and pray that life has been good to her and that Christ is the center of her life.
If you are experiencing a flat-tire experience, find someone who will teach you how to change the tire so you can continue on your trip.
God means for us to live life to the fullest for His glory. He does not want us to stand by the side of the road as life goes by.