When I was a kid, I wanted to be Peter Pan.

I can remember spending hours pretending to be in Never-Never Land with the lost boys playing pranks on pirates and Indians….and let’s not forget the girls…Wendy, Tinkerbell, Tiger Lily and the mermaids…oh, the mermaids.

Still to this day if any version of Peter Pan is on TV, my morning, afternoon or evening is shot.

If I’m honest, there are days now I wish I could fly away to Never-Never Land. A whole lot of days.

Why is that?

I’ve been in counseling long enough to know when I need to be curious about something and longing to be a pre-pubescent boy who wears green tights and plays with fairies is definitely something of which to be curious.

So here I go…

Why do I want to be Peter Pan?

Because I want freedom from wanting to be Jesus.

Wait…what?!

Yep. That’s my response.

I’ve been a youth pastor for 4 years now and up until this point, I didn’t really see a problem with wanting to be Jesus for others. Wasn’t that my job description? Isn’t that what people expect from those in ministry?

Aren’t I called to be Jesus for teenagers struggling with sexual identity, gossip and self-righteousness (just to name a few)?

Of course.

But after 4 years I still don’t understand the intricacies of sexual identity and often feel confused after a student opens up to me about what is going on in his or her heart sexually.

Gossip annoys me, of course, but not enough to really care about it because at least the struggle isn’t sexual.

And self-righteousness makes me wish people dead. Truly, totally, eaten by a crocodile and left as excrement on the ocean floor, dead.

So to be Jesus is exhausting for me.

Jesus offers unconditional love and forgiveness and my love and forgiveness is conditional (see previous statement about self-righteous people).

Jesus offers profound understanding and empathy and my understanding and empathy are quite pedestrian.

And I know this…and you know this…We aren’t Jesus! I know.

But come on, be honest…if you are a religious professional like me…even knowing this, you still want to be Jesus.

So why do I want to be Jesus?

Because Jesus didn’t need to repent.

As long as I am busy fixing things in others, I don’t have to face what is broken in me.

Yep. That’s why I want to be Peter Pan…plus remember the flying, the pirates, and let’s not forget the girls!

Maybe you, like me, need to stop and repent for the reasons you took the job.

Who knew being curious about a ridiculous longing would lead to repentance. I am once again surprised by Him and…

So glad it’s all about grace.

Zach