And you can search for what to say...

[This is the first of two posts that center around my recent vocational discernment. For part two, check here!]

Back in November, I started a blog post and never finished it. Here it is, in all its glory:
And that's as far as I got.

This was on November 18th, 2010. Two months and twenty-seven days ago. It wasn't the first time I felt that way, and it was far from the last. I was in the midst of an identity crisis (no, really), and it was terrifying. The post I started on that day has evolved a bit, and now has an ending that I truly could not have imagined just a few months ago.

I've found that every academic year carries a theme for me. Often, it stems from something that I've been thinking about on my own, but then pops up frequently in class, or becomes the subject of Refectory conversation. I've found that I can't force a theme, or every mention of it will feel artificial. When it naturally emerges, it's a welcome surprise and a constant reminder to listen to God's voice.

The theme that emerged around the beginning of this year was whether or not God can call us to more than one thing. It came up nominally in class, but predominantly in my personal life. That aforementioned identity crisis revolved around whether or not I was following God's call to be an Associate in Ministry, or if I was ignoring God's call to be an ordained pastor.

I spent a good bit of time, that week in mid-November, in an office in the North Wing of our academic building. One of the people I trust the most guided me through the painful process of looking inward and asking myself if I was being truly faithful to who God is calling me to be. I felt hopeless and, for the first time in my life, completely unsure of where I was going next.

I thought about going on internship. About taking a year to spend more time discerning. I thought about just switching to another program, as if it were a safety net, just in case it's what I was supposed to be doing. But I kept coming back to this program, to this roster, and it felt like home.

In the end (with the surprising help of TinkerBell, which is another blog post entirely), I discerned that I am doing what God has called me to do. Had I switched to another program or another roster, I still think I would be doing what God has called me to do. Because I really, truly believe that God can call us to more than one thing. I believe that God gives us a host of gifts that can be used in different ways, and it is simply a matter of being faithful in the moment. And being faithful in that moment, for me, meant pursuing a call to congregational youth and young adult ministry.

Well, that's what I thought at the end of November.

I pushed through the rest of the semester, and wound up with an interview at the end of December, thanks to a dear friend's recommendation. It was perfect. The congregation is exactly the kind I've dreamed of working in for years. The pastor and I got along quite nicely, and I think we would work well together in ministry. They want to get creative with young adult ministry. Like I said: perfect.

Leaving the interview, I told myself not to get too attached. I wasn't sure if they would be able to wait until May for a youth worker, and even if they were, another candidate might be a much better fit for the position. No expectations, no crushed dreams. Simple. But deep down, I felt like that job, that congregation, that call, was home. I was absolutely convinced that was where I would be post-graduation.

And, well, that was at the end of December.


  1. You are amazing and I love you and I'm so proud of this soul-searching journey you've gone on. :)

  2. I believe that we can have more than one call much in the same way that I don't believe in the (false) description of there being one soul mate for every person. We are too multifaceted as people for either of those.

    Disclaimer: That being said, I'm pretty sure you are one of my soul mates.

  3. i totally agree -- we can have many callings. i have always felt torn, and the older i get and the more i develop gifts and work on interests of mine, the more i realize i'm most satisfied and most glorifying to God when i'm using it ALL for His purposes. i may be a nurse, but that hasn't ever been my primary purpose in life, and i've always known and been ok with that. but i'm where i am at this moment for a reason. and there's a reason i'm "stuck" here. and there's a reason i have NO idea where i'm going next...


    Tell me you're writing the second post RIGHT NOW, Julie Stecker!!!

  5. Already written, my friend. Already written ;]

  6. You're seriously killing me :) (PS, I love you)