This has to be one of my most procrastinated posts yet. Usually when I have an idea of something to write on it just falls out on the paper (or screen). Sometimes if I don’t have time I’ll put the idea in a folder for later but most of the time my blog is an outpouring in a moment.
This started with something that I wrote in my career change post, which I then removed & made into another post. For whatever reason I didn’t post it & now I have been delaying revisiting, realizing that I have been avoiding it I am pressing on because if I don’t it will begin a descent that I am not willing to go on anymore. So here today at lunchtime I re-read, re-worked & added to the original post. The post was originally called ministry, which is a word that to me implies a profession, as you will see I realized that this was more a way of life thing than a profession, hence the changed title, reading this blog on The River walk entry during this process helped with the perception (& title) change.
The other week I thought I was feeling a vaguely familiar call, a call to completely dedicate my life to God & somehow find a way to enter into full time ministry. The week after I heard nothing but how I am not good enough, how the words I use when I’m frustrated in the car speak to how I simply don’t have the character for such a calling. If what I believe is true, if what I have been reading is true, then ever since a thought that can only have come from God appeared & I acknowledged it, I have been under attack from the devil. It has took all week for me to fully acknowledge this.
Which is rather scary, if I am under attacked for a possible call to ministry, then does that mean it really was God? Am I really supposed to somehow try to move towards that? The thought of it both excites & terrifies me, I would love the work, yet can’t think what I might have to offer, let alone what I would have to offer a church or ministry that would justify them compensating me at a level that would not require me to shatter my family’s life. I’m not even sure that I want to work for a church, I have a feeling that it would ruin a lot of nice illusions that I would rather keep. I don’t know, I just don’t know.
That is where I was leading upto Sunday. After a great day on Saturday serving complete strangers doing repairs in a trailer park with my church’s men’s ministry, I was feeling good about life, I did my usual serving efforts on Sunday service & then, by the end of the sermon I was a blubbering wreck. You see, what has been on my heart recently is that the thought of working another 30 years in the freight industry is just unimaginable to me today. I’m fine with plodding through for right now, but really, to be doing this still when I’m in my 40s, or 50s or 60s? Please tell me that won’t happen! It seems that God agrees. So on Sunday I built a bridge & got over myself & I visited the prayer team, then I spent time talking to my wife about things, then I emailed my mens group & asked for their prayers.
Do you know what I received? Love and acceptance from a group of people who see me as significant enough to pray for & care for. I can’t express how much that means to me, I really can’t. You see, for all the healing that has gone on in my life, there is apparently still more to be done. I was at a dead end because I was trying to figure things out by myself, not allowing anyone in & not wanting to bother them with my needs. As ridiculous as that may seem, that is one of the great challenges that come out of my insecurities.
So onto the future. A call to full time ministry? I believe that is what has happened, however, here is the kicker, I am not sure, in fact I am pretty sure, it is not a call to professional ministry. Maybe one day that is where I will be lead, I have no expectations of that, but time will tell. I think the call I was receiving was a call to complete surrender. Something that I have heard for years but if I am honest, never been able to accomplish. You see, while my beliefs are full time, the fruits of my beliefs have been less than that. The thing with complete surrender, with not just allowing Jesus in the car, but letting him drive & me sitting in the back seat, is that it is a completely new way of life. It is not 10 minutes a day reading or praying & a few hours on a weekend in worship & fellowship. It is full time. My ministry is my life, my life needs to be a reflection of Jesus at all times, at home, at work, at play, even driving!
What has happened after I reached out to the people that God has placed in my life has been incredible. I felt an amazing peace that entire week. I also started to see that this year has truly been an explosion of long term prayers being answered. Prayers asking for my true identity to be revealed, for me to be molded into who God wants me to be, not the mess I used to be. For continued & deeper healing from the wounds of my past. Prayers for friendships. On & on.
The reason why I had to ask for help before I could see these things? I needed to experience that I am not a lone voice in the wilderness. I believed that isolation & alone is who I am at my core, part of my defective nature. I am not alone, I am loved, I am cherished & I am at my best in community & fellowship. Sharing all of who I am with those who love me & need me to be me, to be wholly & unashamedly me.
Now, where does this leave me with my career funk? I think it is Gods way of telling me that it is time to stop asking my job to do what God can only do & start bringing my identity, my true self, the me that God sees, into my job. Does that mean I will be doing the same thing forever? Probably not, does that mean I have the answers? Not at all. Does it mean I will never have a bad day or lose it again? No.
Does it mean that I have understood correctly, again I really don’t know. I don’t know what the future holds, all I know is that it is time for a career change, but not at an environmental or behavioral level, not a capability or belief level, but at a God spoken identity level. My ministry, regardless of my vocation, needs to be based around being the true me at all times & allowing the love of Christ to be expressed through that.
If you have 37 minutes to spare, I cannot recommend this sermon enough, it was a great message, it was not until the end that I realized that I had been feeling like my (18 year) career was oppressing me. It was at that moment that I knew I couldn’t go on the same anymore. It was through that moment that God told me I didn’t have to, even if I am in the same place forever, it will be forever changed because of that Sunday.
Some of what I need to be conscious of today is not being in such a hurry for God to fix me & move me onto whatever the next step in His plan for me is. I need to enjoy the journey, I need to stop wanting to do more out of my need to feel significant, I am significant, He is not going to allow me to do more until I am doing it for Him, not for the brokenness that only He can fix. I need to celebrate in my blessings more, start really realizing all that I have in life. If my life is my ministry, it does it a great disservice to be down on something that is so wonderful.
Maybe the upside of taking so long over this post is that I can also share the following week’s message. One of my favorite teachers was visiting, it is an incredible message, but also for me, served like a review of what has been done since 2004 & a reminder to stay connected to the true source .
After writing all this earlier today, I then spend the afternoon questioning if I should post this, if I am being too open with the inside of my mind, if my continuous rambling about my faith will drive me & others crazy. I wonder if I am over thinking this whole thing. Should I just get on with life & not worry about things so much, learn how to be satisfied? How has my blog become the gateway to not only thinking so much, but my faith growing so much? The more I think, the more questions I have, the more questions I have the more I am confused, which in turn causes me to think (vicious cycle). The more I discover who I truly am, the more I now have to learn how to live life in this world as the real me, not the me who learnt how to survive in this world with coping mechanisms.
Who am I today even? I am one who will pray for anyone. I am one who now when he blows it in frustration, recognizes it & seeks help from God to change, standing up to the issue to take its power, instead of throwing extra fuel on the fire. I am one who earlier this year admitted to God that I am ok with being thought of as a little strange if it means I get some extra Holy Spirit in me. I am slowly, but surely, beginning to be the me that I was created to be, and that is a good thing.
I think something from the other morning summed me up perfectly. I am the one who was reading the Bible at his desk while listening to Appetite for Destruction (not a thought out moment, it just happened naturally), hoping that when my emails finally stopped downloading my work day would not start with a kick to the proverbial nuts. Guns N Roses & Jesus, that right there, for all its wonderful contention is as good a word picture of me that I can give today.