My dad has been a pastor for about 3 decades now. He is a big goofball and tremendous source of wisdom-but if you meet him, only mention the goofball part, okay? We don't want him getting a big head... Anyway, I often call him to talk through ministry strategy, or whatever is going on in life. When I run into a difficult personality he says, “I guess that’s your mule to kiss, huh?” Yep, Dad. There’s always at least one. Not a literal mule, of course, (gross!), but someone who seems to be making things tougher. As much as it's not at all what I want to hear, Dad loves me enough to tell me what I need to remember. No matter what we’re doing, we’re always going to have to “kiss a mule.”
If you’re running into difficult people, it doesn’t mean you’re not good at ministry, or that things will be better at the next church. It means you work with people. When the grass is looking greener elsewhere and you jump ship for the next church/ministry/job/situation, you’ll still have a mule or two to kiss. You’ve probably already identified them where you are now. New mules seem easier to kiss, but they’re usually not--they’re just new. And, just like the annoying roommate, if we happen to be in that weird situation where we haven’t identified the mule, it might be time to take look in the mirror… They’re everywhere.