Being an intern can sometimes suck. You get stuck with the jobs that no one else wants to do. Not only do you do all of your work, but right when you’re ready to sit down, relax, and breathe a little, someone from somewhere else gives you something completely unrelated to your job and, because you’re the intern, you’re required to do it. The second that you may start to feel comfortable or like you’re starting to have a little success, some random thing from right field sweeps in and punches you in the gut.
Over the course of my nine months as an intern this has happened over and over. I’ll come up with something that I think is a good idea, execute it, have it be successful, and right when I’m starting to feel proud, I get an e-mail saying we have some random event that needs chairs set up for on my day off. I’ll have a great small group where my guys are really starting to open up, stay after talking to them, and then go home feeling good only to get an e-mail first thing Monday morning saying that there was a light left on in the church and that I need to always make sure that all of the lights are turned off.
Every person who has ever been an intern knows this story. It may not be the same exact situation in every instance but it’s been there in some form.
By nature, being on the bottom of the totem pole means that you get the crap that has fallen off of every single person higher up than you.
This all played out for me again this past week. Last Wednesday, I gave a talk that I felt was really good. I felt more comfortable than I’d ever felt. I felt more in tune with what God wanted me to say than at any other time I’d spoken. I had a few guys come up and want to pray with me after, some that I had never even met. I heard stories of students responding to what I challenged them to do.
I felt like I was finally starting to develop into what God created me to be.
Then, like always, I got the “intern e-mail.”
The “intern e-mail” is the one saying you need to do something else on top of everything else you’re doing. Sometimes it says that you didn’t set the chairs in that one room to the exact angle specifications that the teacher of the class wanted. Whatever the details of that e-mail say, it always ends with you feeling deflated and questioning whether you even want to do this anymore or if it’s even worth it. It’s one of the worst feelings in ministry and can kill multiple weeks worth of momentum that you’ve started to build up.
Any time that this happens, any time that the “intern e-mail” gets me down and has me questioning things, Jesus just happens to walk in the room, slap me, and keep walking. It’s never a bad slap. It’s normally one to shake me up and reorient myself to what it is he wants me to do. It generally comes in the form of a story that one of our students is doing something awesome, or a word of encouragement from one of our leaders, or some type of affirmation from somewhere.
This time it came in the form of a student and a cell phone.
Last Wednesday, I taught on making war against your sin. I showed how Jesus was serious about taking extreme measures to kill your fleshly desires. I told our students that the Holy Spirit would let them know what exactly it is that he wanted them to make war on and that he would tell them how to do it. Check out what one of our students did:
JP knew he needed to downgrade his phone to one without internet. He changed his plan but then realized that his phone still had wifi and that he could still get on the internet on it when he was at home. So, to truly make war, he got rid of his phone.
He got rid of his Droid X.
He gave away one of the best phones on the market.
That was Jesus showing me that even through the crap that’s required from being an intern, I was doing what he wanted me to do. I was becoming the person that he was creating me to be.
Being an intern can suck. It can really, really suck.
Doing what Jesus wants me to do and has created me to do is so amazing that it cancels out anything that may suck about being an intern.
Having him tell me that I’m doing those things is even more amazing than just knowing.
At the end of the day, I’ll take the crappy parts in return for Jesus slapping me in the face.
After all, in the words of John Mellencamp, that’s a slap that hurts so good.