Being born in a family of pastors or ministers is a blessing. It is full of fun but also challenges. Not only do we share our parents and give up our bedrooms but we also have to leave up to unrealistic expectations. For some this is the most exciting and fulfilling pleasure as they experience the opportunities that come with it and they experience God and form a relationship with Him. The experiences and views are different. Both positive and negative. The one thing we cannot ignore is the stigma that is attached to “Pastor’s kid / Minister’s kid).
How do you think people describe a Pastor or Ministers’ kid?
Well, you are either a reincarnated angel from heaven with no imperfections but full of grace and compassion resulting to instant forgiveness at the point of sin as one is holy and blameless. Or you have the other who is of eccentric and deviant behaviour that causes them to run away from the calling of God upon their lives which is to be a Pastor! Oh yes, the more naughty you are, the more the anointing.
Is that description not a bit harsh?
For a long time, that’s how I felt I was identified. I would hear conversations and it was either I was “Holier than thou” or I was “a schemer”. These were totally two different groups. The only time I wasn’t called virgin Mary or “Tsotsi” (can be equivalent to Schemer) was when I was with my close friends. My friends and certain mentors knew the real me. The 3rd definition that “She is human, just like us”. That is probably the real deal for me cause it never separated me from my colleagues.
So the reincarnated angel must have been a challenge to keep up with?
I suppose it was hard but I kept it up throughout my teen years and parts of my adult hood. See I felt I was expected to be flawless, clean and blameless. The best way to do this was to attend most prayer meetings, bible study, sing in the choir and lead praise and worship till people were moved. In front of my parents and elders I had to play the part and be the part. For me, sleeping in church was not an option. Being seen going into a club or drinking was a no no! Boys, what boys? As long as I kept it up, I felt safe and spiritual enough to fit into my parents shoes and everyones expectations. After all, the expectation were that I too would become like my prophetic mother and overflow with wisdom like my father. To be honest, this was exhausting but kept the “lectures” to a minimum.
You make it sound like there is a stigma attached to being a Pastor or Ministers kid?
In my case, Yes. Could be different for others but I felt the stigma. I was not even sure I could be proud of the association. See, each time I made new friends the question would be “Are your parents Pastors?”. My immediate reaction would be to say no because the next statement would most always be “Aarrhh you are a Pastor’s kid”…..”We know your kind”
Already I would feel the need to fight that stigma and hope that one sees me as Me and not the tag of a naughty pastor or ministers’ kid.
The expectation is that I am wild and crazy but I cover it up well. To a degree yes at some point in my life, Yes! Now I see the disappointment in their eyes when I don’t meet their expectations.
Would you say then you had two lives?
Of course, I did and I am not proud of it. In fact the older I got the more I realised that people where not so scary and it mattered more to be right with God. Life in church comprised of me being part of the youth team, leading youth services, being able to appear well dressed and decent with good manners and English. Yet in school, I remember cursing to a point where my best friend who also used to curse decided that I cursed way too much and needed to stop. I remember her saying she would stop cursing if I gave it up to. I hid all my short outfits and only wore them after sneaking out. See a friend would politely ask for permission from my parents to have me for the weekend. We would talk about girl support system and spending time indoors when actual fact we would be attending clubs and private parties. I was able to drink on a Saturday and be drunk however not one day did my parents see me drunk and not ever did I miss church. I am sure by now, some of you are binding but this is the reality of it all and one doesn’t even have to be a minister’s kid to qualify.
You mention at some point in your life you were wild, what was that like?
Lets use the word rebellion cause that is what I think I was about. So with all the unrealistic expectations I figured it would be easy to do exactly what I had been told not to do. I know, it was really sad but it happened. So from parties, to dating, to drinking and trying a cigarette which didn’t work for me. I literally just got wild. I think in it all, I am grateful that God always found a way to get me back. My wild moments lasted for a good 2 years which were born out of frustration and anger towards certain things. To say I had backslid wouldn’t really be it, but I was playing God.
Any self assessment?
The one major one for me was pride. I became proud because I always was told that I was good and had visiting pastors give beautiful prophecies and comments. You know that one sister in church that is always picked by the visiting speakers and always told beautiful prophecies. I was her one time. Yes, I know God knew I loved those no doubt . That all led to me feeling a lot more self absorbed and feeling better than other people. I was so buried in my selfishness and I was out to please me. Don’t get me wrong, I had genuine moments with God and where I truly felt Him talking to me. In fact, I am very confident that in all my ups and downs He never left me. I think He knew exactly what phase I was in as a person and He also knew how to love me. I used to be so worried about what people thought and said and I was so fragile and easily hurt.
So what changed?
Honestly, I stopped caring about what people thought and cared more about what God thought and felt. It became more important to me to please God in all areas of my life, including my private life. I grew tired of pretending and lying. You know it takes so much energy and creativity to keep lying and maintain the lie. Sin does cost! In all the chaos I genuinely loved God and wanted to serve Him faithfully.
It is so easy to be unfaithful but a challenge to remain sold out for Christ in your thinking and things you say. I remember feeling so alone and feeling torn apart and life was just too heavy for me. I remember wanting to only be with God and no one else and wanting to go off somewhere where I could press the restart button. I was tired of being told how to be and behave and tired of pleasing all the other pastors and church people. The hardest part was probably the anxiety of disappointing my parents.
Do you feel any different now from then?
A lot different now yes. My relationship with God is healthy and real. I don’t have to fake who I am or hide things. I do have my private life because I choose to. I have mostly become an introvert and in a way that helps to stay away from people’s opinions. I focus more on loving people and accepting that we are different. I focus more on my own calling and allowing The Holy Spirit to teach me as we go. I still make mistakes and bad choices but not as terrible as before (chuckle). However I don’t feel condemned, I can confidently speak to God and ask for forgiveness as I go. I don’t live two lives anymore. I think I can safely say my work colleagues, friends and church colleagues will all find me the same.
I am passionate about God and my calling and less focused on people’s views. I know that sounds a bit awful but I always think of it this way. Human beings are not always consistent so opinions will always change based on experience, wisdom, motive, revelation and all sorts. Therefore if I base my life based on what people think, that becomes confusing as already two people will have two views about certain things. I find it better to respect and appreciate people and their opinions and do take some things on board because of their wisdom and guidance. The difference is I seek God first and He has the highest say and He cares enough to speak to me.
Very informative, anything to say to the PKs out there?
First of all, being a Pastor or Ministers kid does not give you a pass into Heaven. There is no favouritism with this “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). So whether you want to be in ministry or not, you have to work out your own salvation. When it comes to being you, be you but also respect the people that God has put around you to help you with your journey. It is a tough walk but even tougher if you do things to please people and not God. By following God I don’t mean disregard what people say or be rebellious and don’t submit, instead be in a place where you seek God and honestly chase after Him. If you fall, get up and get back into it cause God is always waiting. Once I understood God and Grace, I began to understand what God’s heart was for me.