Thursday, January 5, 2012

Theology Thursday: Reflections on Call

Raised by a generation of public school teachers encouraging their students into the workforce girded up with the mantras: "You can do anything," "the sky is the limit," and "you can change the world," I had to find the perfect fit so that I could do my part in this great big world. At some point, I got into a rhythm looking for the best possible fit and along the path I began stumbling into God's plans for me at a pace I could digest.

I didn't always know I would become a pastor. I sort of grew into it, like a little girl awkwardly grows into her Momma's once over-sized heels. Mostly I am a story-teller, a lover of people, an embarrassingly bold mistake maker, and an ethical wrestler. In my case, those knit together loosely in an old fashioned knot quilt...and in the quirkiest way possible, it works together.

Looking back, I can see the nuances of that call developing in my life, in soft and subtle ways at first. I can remember playing preacher as a little girl and copying the verbal ticks of my beloved pastor Charles as he would say "hold your bible in readiness." The nuances grew with intensity as they kept me awake on many restless nights wondering where my gifts, passions, experiences, education, and convictions would line up to form a vocation.

Throughout college I used any opportunity to find out the "how" in the lives of people in careers that interested me. How did they find their way? How did they know for sure it was the right path? How did they choose school? Did they ever mess up on the path and take a detour? How? How? HOW? Its not easy trying to discern the best path, especially when deadlines require that you be holding a plan in your hot little hand.

The best advice is to start with what you know. I have known God and been in love with the church as long as I can remember. So, as a lover of studying bible, seminary occupied my curiosity like an untouchable fountain. I applied with the approach: "if I get in, I'll go; if I don't, I'll take it as a providential hint." I got in, they gave me money, and before I knew it I was sitting in my first class.

Eventually, I slipped my wobbly foot into my own shoe and here I am, serving as a pastor. God surely has a sense of humor.

I hope that you can find the shoe that fits. I hope that if you're already wearing it, that you will have a humble spirit as you notice and guide the set of footsteps on the soft ground just behind you.

Today I am thankful for: a much needed day off tomorrow.

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