You are probably wondering by my title for this letter if I am going a little daft. Life in a fishbowl? How can I (clearly a human) possibly live and survive in a fishbowl? Well this is a theoretical fishbowl but it is a very insightful analogy into the life of a Pastor’s family, and more specifically, a pastor kid’s life (also know as PK). I have been a PK all my life, along with my 5 older siblings. It’s the only life I’ve ever known. And honestly until recently I didn’t realize the full meaning of the effect that would have and is having on my life as I grow up. Being a PK has been an enormous blessing in my life. I have been pushed to high levels spiritually and mentally. I’ve learned a lot about humility, patience, flexibility… the list goes on and on. I’ve learned a lot about love. Loving the church. Loving your friends. Loving your enemies. Loving your family. Loving God. Believe it or not, these things don’t come any easier to a pastor’s family. In fact, in some ways they are harder.
Pastors and their families constantly live in that theoretical fishbowl. Their lives are very rarely secret. Everyone knows the pastor’s family and his kids. You are automatically born with a title. Not one of royalty but of status in the church. “Oh you’re the pastor’s kid!” or “You’re the pastor’s kid? Oooh.” I have received both of those statements directed toward me on more than one occasion. Everything you do, good or bad, gets credited to your title. You do something good? Well that makes sense because you’re a pastor’s kid. You mess up? Well you’re a pastor’s kid and you’re just being a rebel. This is the kind of stereotypical thinking that goes on regarding Pastor’s and their families. I’m not saying everyone thinks this way or even that those who think this way intend to do so, but it is a reality.
One of the personal struggles I have had is questioning my salvation. Growing up, I’ve had more than one person tell me that I was saved because I have been in the church all my life or because I am a PK. But by God’s grace, he gave me parents who consistently reminded me that I was not saved by their salvation but only by faith in Jesus Christ. But it was something I struggled with, because when you are a 10 year old and people treat you like you are different, then you start to believe it. I fell into a lifestyle of thinking I was better because of what family God had placed me in. That was not true then, is still not true and will never be true. God looks at his all children with an equally high requirement of perfection. And we all equally fail to meet that requirement. There is only one person who can ever reach that requirement and he is the only way for anyone to get to God, PK or not. We all need the same savior.
I would highly recommend Barnabas Piper’s bog “Sinners in a Fishbowl.” He explains more in depth and more eloquently than I, the life of a PK. It is very insightful and helpful with seeing the struggles PK’s go through. The link is below.
Here is the blog: http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/sinners-in-a-fishbowl/