Our prompt for my leadership class this week invited us to reflect on our call, and the ways we are both living into it and being obstructed from following it. My thoughts were a bit jumbled on this one, and I think you’ll see why as you read:
My story of call is one that I am hesitant to tell, because I am not sure if I fully understand it yet. Through out the past two years, I have dreaded the question “So, what do you want to do after seminary?”, because I didn’t have a sense of call to answer them with. I knew that I was supposed to be in seminary, and I knew God is molding me and directing me through my studies and times here. Until this past summer, I don’t think that I would have even claimed that there was a call that I was working with or through – but simply a knowledge of where I was supposed to be for these years.
The idea of having a call is something that I have learned almost exclusive in seminary. During high school, I was constantly asked about “life after graduation”, otherwise known as the dreaded college question. I sorted out my answer quickly, with a school and a major and a potential dream for the future. During college, the question shifted to be more of “what do you want to do with your life?”, with the answer expected to be a job or graduate degree and a path in life that you will stick with. As a double major, I had a harder time answering this question, because I didn’t know which path to take. I loved both areas of my degree, but didn’t know what to do with them. I knew that I felt a call to seminary, but was even conflicted on that front – do I pursue the dual track program, or the basic M.Div degree? I have gone back and forth on this over the past two years, and now am racing towards the finish line for the M.Div degree and praying every day that I have a job that fits into my calling when I am done.
Now, as a middler/senior who is actively applying and interviewing for ministry positions, my answer to the question has taken a bit more shape: I know that my call is to children’s and youth ministry. I love working with “my kids”, be it as elementary, middle, or high school students. I know that my skills and passions show through the best and the brightest when I am in these types of ministries, and that I have been given the gifts of energy and enthusiasm needed to be a part of student ministries life. I love the ways that students see the world, because they are entirely different than anything you see from adults. I love the combination of the care free and the complexity, the growth and discovery, and the passions that emerge in students as they grow through their school years.
I have always loved this area of work, and I never really had one of those “slap in the face” moments where my call was revealed to me in a big “burning bush” kind of way. I think that my heart has only known this calling, but it needed to give my brain time to catch up and accept what God was calling me too. Once I learned the language of “call”, I realized that I had known my call for my entire life – but my brain was getting in the way of accepting it. I am often my biggest obstacle, and that has been true my entire life – my call is not exempt from this. The more I learn and the more that I understand about myself, the more I realize how much I have already been living into my call, because I don’t know any other way to live. I was created to live into my call, and I am finally learning how to let my brain accept what my heart has already known.