So, after having decided I was NOT going to start off with Pastoral Care this semester, mainly so I could give myself a little more time to make “the money”, as they say, I went ahead and signed up anyway. It just felt like I needed to get into some practical concerns of helping people. Nonetheless, in my first day of reading, here are the big fears of mine, writ large.
1) There is a stereotype that the best preachers are often the worst care givers. The gift of communicating externally is often seen as antithetical to the gift of listening in a effective way. I am, simply, not comfortable in my skin as an intentional listener at this point in my life, possibly to the point of being dependent upon my public speech to fit in to new situations.
2) Even more intense is what Prof. L called “impostor syndrome.” This is WAY prevalent at YDS, and is the student’s (or young pastor’s) fear that everyone up to this point has been fooled somehow. I’ve talked about this a little bit, but it really touches every bit of my life currently. I worry that someone will figure out that I’m not smart enough to be at my school. I worry that my denomination or my church will figure out that I really don’t feel all that “divine” most of the time. Adding the care question, I worry that I will fail those I try to care for because of my continued charlatan ways, and they won’t even see it coming.
I feel like I will get more comfortable in these situations in the future, but it still feels like peering over the edge of the cliff right now. This is why praying is a big part of my life here. I am not enough for all of it on my own sometimes.