Dr. Emerson Eggerichs says that every woman has a deep need for love and every man has a deep need for respect. This is certainly true for a pastor—I wanted to be respected in my profession and in my home. I wanted the people in my church to respect me as a leader. I wanted the people in the community to respect me as a legitimate contributor. And I wanted the rest of the church world to respect my ideas and experience on how things should be.
But even deeper than that, I wanted my wife and kids to respect me as a husband, father and provider. There’s a great irony in this because my family was never impressed by my accomplishments. My wife and kids weren’t impressed by the amazing meeting I had, the pastor of the megachurch who called seeking advice, or the brilliant paragraph I wrote for a message. I was recognized for accomplishments at work, but these accomplishments didn’t earn me much respect in the home. It seems like my kids just wanted me to read them a story, and my wife wanted my undivided (a.k.a. no phone) attention.
There’s a fine line between seeking the approval of man and wanting to be respected for what you do. And looking back on my six years as a church planter and lead pastor, I think a healthy desire for respect too easily morphed into a hunger for attention. But nevertheless, that respect was a real desire.
Looking back, one of the healthiest things that could have happened was for my secret desires to become my open desires. My hope is this post would encourage you to openly admit what you want—whether or not it sounds spiritual.