It happened again this past Monday. A dedicated, hard-working veteran pastor told me about the problems within his church. He listed a number of tell-tale markers as he expressed his deep frustrations. When he was done, I paused, noting the pain written across his face. I then asked: “Is it possible that your personal issues have colored or clouded your perceptions?”
In this case, the answer is sadly a clear yes. I’ve already recommended What It Takes to Be Fully Engaged. Next up is this article about Lane Cohee’s hard-earned insights. Dr. Cohee now serves as an Associate Professor at Palm Beach Atlantic University. His personal story is instructive.
In early 2017 I defended my doctoral dissertation. The event was a landmark in my professional journey, integrating research from the academy with years of experience. But as with many who are blessed with some achievement, there was another side to my story. My life was chaotic. I drank too much. I was in lousy physical condition. I was a mediocre father and a poor husband. For all my success, my closest personal relationships were a mess.
Not coincidentally I was in lousy spiritual condition as well. Like a middle-ager living in his high school glory days, spiritual progress was a distant memory. I could still talk a good game, but I was marking time. I’d been going through the motions for a long while.
I once had a friend call me one of those “tortured souls.” By that he meant I was clearly prone to overanalyze, over-worry, over-perform, and over-do. I was restless, impatient, discontented, and anxious. I was driven to perfectionistic extremes and addictive tendencies. Internal turbulence, disorder, and even recklessness were regular companions. Peace, stability, and harmony were not. My friend could as easily have called me one of those “disquieted souls.” And the more I lived, the more I observed that I was not alone.
I’ve listened to many stories, and mine isn’t unique. We get to mid-life and we become content and lazy. We rest on our spiritual laurels—past knowledge and past service. We stop attending to our souls.
But God wasn’t finished with me. Bit by bit he began putting me back on the treadmill, dealing with my coping mechanisms, spiritual sloth, and addictions.
The Rev. Jerry Klemm, senior pastor of Covenant Church in Palm Bay, Florida, tells the rest of the story. It’s the story of restoration.
When I first met Lane, he was in the middle of the journey he now so transparently shares. What a pleasure it has been to see his physical, spiritual, and relational transformation into the man he is today! He speaks with the voice of experience and hard-learned wisdom. Lane offers clear insights to all of us who repeatedly feel like we are one step away from failing at what is most important in life.
What about your own story, pastor? Is it possible that your personal issues have colored or clouded your perceptions? If so, Lane Cohee’s story offers both paths of discovery and deliverance. You can watch it online at www.disquietedsoul.com.
David Sanford coaches pastors and other Christian leaders passionate about demonstrating the relevance of Jesus Christ in every major sphere of life. His book and Bible projects have been published by Zondervan, Tyndale, Thomas Nelson, Doubleday, and Amazon. His speaking engagements have ranged everywhere from UC Berkeley to The Billy Graham Center at the Cove. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.