"We 'professional' Christians are used to hearing about others struggles but are often not as good at sharing our own. The good news for my fellow ‘professional’ Christians is that there is grace for you too."
Since freshman year of college I too have been a professional Christian. I attended a Christian college, spent my summers working at Christian sports camp then after graduation worked in a ministry position for a church. I took a year off after that, went to seminary and now I am a professional Christian counselor. I have learned a lot about life as a professional Christian and have some insights to offer.
1)Loneliness. Being a ‘professional’ Christian can be a very lonely place, I know at times it has been for me. When you are struggling with sin in your life, there is often the feeling that you can’t share your struggle. Oftentimes, not being able to share the struggle leads to a deeper struggle and a deeper sense of loneliness.
2)Shame. The loneliness of dealing with sin often times leads to shame. Shame in thinking that as a ‘professional’ Christian: "Why can’t you just conquer this?" Shame creeps up thinking that if anyone found out you’ll lose everything. Often it leads to question your whole ministry and to wonder what you're doing. It is not uncommon for shame to lead you into a deeper spiral.
3)Lack of Grace. As Christians we are utterly reliant on God’s grace. It’s not as if we need grace to get half way and then we turn to God and say ‘Well I got this from here.’ But sometimes we live that way. And we get treated that way by others, who want us to perform at that ‘professional’ level of Christianity.
In some Christian sub-cultures these are real problems that must be addressed. However, I lived and worked at very gracious places like Southwood and Reformed Theological Seminary. However, the problem was still in me. Shame and loneliness prevented me from seeking community to help me out. Even as I write this I am having an internal battle to trying to convince myself and my audience that my sin wasn't too bad, that I can handle it on my own. I am still fighting this idea of being a ‘professional’ Christian. I often talk about our need for community and connection and this is even more true for a ‘professional’ Christian. We 'professional' Christians are accustomed to hearing about others' struggles but are often not as good at sharing our own. The good news for my fellow ‘professional’ Christians is that there is grace for you too. Shame loses its power when it is brought to the light, and being in honest relationship/community fights loneliness.