Ten years ago, I was a Shift Leader at a local pizza franchise. There were times when it was an especially stressful job. There’s nothing like having an unexpected rush of delivery orders on a Friday or Saturday night after you’ve already sent the majority of your cooks and drivers home. When tensions would be high and people were at each other’s throats, the store manager, Chad, would look at us and say, “You guys! It’s just pizza!” It wasn’t rocket science. And in spite of what some people might have tried to make us think, it wasn’t the end of the world if things didn’t go well one night. Just keep your head up and get the job done. It’s just pizza, after all. This wasn’t an excuse to do things poorly. It wasn’t an excuse to slack off. We still needed to work hard and do our best. But in the end, it was just pizza that we were producing. He did a pretty good job of helping all of us keep things in perspective.
“It’s just pizza!”
I’ve found myself using this phrase a lot over the years. It’s helped me remember what’s important in life. It’s helped me keep things in perspective.
It’s also helped me learn that I am not defined by what my job is. When I was working in the pizza industry, I learned very quickly that pizza, although fabulously tasty, is not my passion. While I worked with pizza, I wasn’t a pizza guy. I was me.
I think I forgot about this when I started serving as a pastor in rural Indiana. All of a sudden, I was The Preacher. I had allowed that to define me more than allowing my God-given personality to define my me-ness. Much like Brandon, I even allowed my position as a professional Christian to define my faith for me. I get the impression that I haven’t been alone in this misidentification of self. Instead of finding my identity in Christ, I had allowed my church profession to define who I saw myself as. And those are two completely different things.
It’s hard pretending to be someone you aren’t. It’s hard trying to live up to others’ expectations because they have this preconceived notion of what a person should act like, look like, like-like, and probably even smell like. And it’s even harder when that spills over into what your family is “supposed” to be like.
So when I remind myself that it’s just pizza, I am reminding myself that I refuse to be defined by the work I do. I refuse to major in the minors and worry about things that really aren’t that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things. I refuse to lose focus on what’s important.