All my life, I’ve been a strong introvert. There is nothing I prefer more than curling up with a good book. And nothing is more taxing and exhausting than spending lots of time with people. But midway through my life, I became a pastor. And the great irony is that a significant portion of my job is being with people all the time--hearing their sorrows, sharing their joys, and just being deeply involved in their lives.
Before I became a pastor, I would always make the calculation if going out to a social event was "worth it." I would do a little cost-benefit analysis in my head. What were the odds that the experience might be awkward or uninteresting or unpleasant? In the end, I would usually stay home, convinced that was the happier path. But now that I’m a pastor, I don’t have a choice in the matter. All throughout the week, I’m surrounded by people.
I’ve been a pastor now for 7 years; my life is full of friendships and community engagement. To my great surprise, I am happier than ever before. Truly. I realize now that happiness is a byproduct of community. Happiness happens when you stop calculating if it’s worthwhile being connected to others, and you just plunge yourself headlong into community. And at first, it may be driven mostly by obligation or piety. But on the other side of that choice, you realize your life is full and rich and satisfying.
by Pastor Michael Chung