WAIT… ARE YOU SURE OR ARE YOU INFATUATED?
When I worked as an engineer, I would daydream about becoming a campus minister. Haha, I know… I’m weird.
What would it look like to pack my bag in the morning and head to campus instead of the office? What would it feel like to disciple and train student leaders? Would my skills as an engineer transfer into the ministry world?
I would dream, dream, and dream some more. I was infatuated.
But then my infatuation met reality. The last 5 years as a campus minister were not like how I daydreamed. There were moments of inadequacy, heartache, and frustration.
In my infatuated dreams, I was the Jack Bauer of college ministry. But in reality, I was more like Inspector Gadget. Haha, but thankfully I had taken some invaluable steps to prepare for reality.
You and I are guilty of making things better than they really are. Infatuating about any plan, whether it be about a person, a position, or a place, can skew your view of reality.
Infatuation is a form of lying to yourself. This mindset can be tricky (and sometimes costly) as a world changer! Therefore, you must dismantle infatuation in order to be a great leader.
Here are 4 steps to help dismantle infatuation:
Step #1. Imagine the impact for a few days
Play out your desired decision in your mind. Consider the impact on your current relationships, resources, and circumstances. Does it feel right? Are there any places of tension or lack of clarity? Sit in this decision. Let it marinate. Face the brutal facts. Journal your thoughts.
I imagined commuting to campus. I imagined a significantly lower salary. I imagined working new hours — not 8AM to 5PM. I asked my wife about some of these scenarios. She asked questions. I kept picturing the impact on my parents. What would my friends think? It was a vivid exercise.
Step #2: Play devil’s advocate for an entire day
Write down everything that could go wrong with your decision. Keep it in the realm of possibility. How would you feel if things went poorly with your decision? Is it still worth it? Can you see yourself overcoming these obstacles? This exercise will bring more clarity.
I made the devil’s list: I will be terrible at the job. College students will not trust me. I will not find any donors to support me. I will not be able to pay our bills. People will make fun of me. Whew, it’s not natural for me to be pessimistic. But it was a helpful exercise. Infatuation went out the window.
Step #3: Debrief your discernment in community
Pick 2-3 of your wisest friends, mentors, or family members. Sit down and describe the scenario. Feel free to paint an attractive picture. Give your peers the chance to poke holes, ask question, and gain clarity on your situation. Process their thoughts and feelings together.
I started conversations with my parents, my brother, my best friends, and another campus minister. For the most part, my discussions were very positive. But every once in awhile, I would get a question that sent me for a loop. It was awesome to get a third-party’s point of view. Talk it out with good people!
Step #4: Let time pass before making a decision
Time has a way of making decisions more clear. Don’t be rushed. Let the initial buzz and excitement wear off. Allow for all of your passion to become more balanced. Breathe. Do you feel the same way about this decision? Do you still want to move forward?
I waited a few months before starting my application process to become a campus minister. I remember feeling clarity about the decision in October 2008, but I didn’t start the application until December 2008. But then I didn’t interview for the job until February 2009. I finally started my role as a campus minister in August 2009. All of that time was invaluable! It made the decision steady and clear.
You might be in the midst of a big decision.
Figuring out a new career.
Choosing a future spouse.
Moving to a new place in the country.
Picking a new church.
Discerning to go overseas as a missionary.