What have you been hearing?
How are you answering?
(long silent pause…)
The last few months, I’ve been puzzling this question. What’s my purpose? Now, in this community, in this church? Obviously, I’m supposed to preach and teach and all the other things a pastor does. But that’s what any pastor would do. In what ways am I called to share the gift of who I am – not just my faith and seminary training, but my experience… my joys, pains & sorrows… my broken places?
God shapes us through our day-to-day living, through the ways we respond to the people and events in our lives, and through our reflecting back on them. What is God’s expectation for me now? Here? With them and with you?
These are deep questions and some would rather not go deep. But it’s my belief that you can’t know if you’re following God’s lead unless you ask the tough questions once in a while, and wrestle with the answers. So I’ve been wrestling.
What I’ve come up with is that I need to be open to using all the ways life has shaped me – good & bad – to shepherd, lead, or encourage whoever needs to hear these things from me. This might not be advisable – or even possible – for some people, but I’m a 50-something woman, come late to ministry, with no expectations or aspirations to progress in the institution called the Church. That being the case, I might as well be open if that openness might help anther person.
It seems there’s to be a lot less “private” me and a lot more “public” me.
I don’t mean to seem like a saint. I’m not. This is scary stuff. We humans are hardwired with a desire to be known, yes, but also with a need to protect ourselves from perceived threats. Vulnerability is hard for us. We crave it and fear it at the same time. Still, I’m pretty sure this is God’s call for me until further notice. Time to step out of my comfort zone – again.
One thing we don’t realize when we first answer God’s call is that God keeps at it – sometimes tweaking, other times changing our call entirely. Have you experienced this yet? What was it like for you?
“But, God, I’ve already turned my life around for you once (twice, three times).” Having listened to people’s stories, I suspect that after we’ve answered a couple times, we kind of come to expect it.
Clearly, God isn’t finished with us yet.