Tonight, I found myself in the sanctuary.
It was quiet and dark. But once your eyes adjust, its simply home. It’s a place where I encounter God, and know that God can hear me, and that God is simply present. Not that God isn’t always present, but in that place, I KNOW.
As I sat in the quiet tonight, I finally had peace. It was a peace that I have been longing for. A peace that has seemed so distant over the last 6-9 months.
I originally went to the church tonight to grab my backpack that had homework that I needed to complete for class, but I found myself throwing the bag in my car and walking into the quiet sanctuary.
Typically, I find myself there when I have something to think about or a major decision to make, or when my sermon just won’t come to me, but tonight I didn’t expect to find myself there. I had a plan, and the plan fell through.
Over the last six years I have had to deal with the plan falling through, the plan that I had once made for my life, but its like someone said yesterday, “you want to make God laugh, tell God your plans.” For the most part, I am fine with where I have landed, but there has still that part of me that isn’t.
This morning I was talking to a friend in the congregation who was going to be helping me with something important later, and she said to me, “I am not worthy.” My response was quick, “none of us are worthy, but God finds that we are worth it, that is the beauty of grace.” As I responded I thought about what I had just said.
For the most part, the last six years have been moments of myself telling myself that I am not worthy. Almost five years ago, my plan changed. That change for me brought a lot of turmoil. Like any change, I had to relearn who I was, and what I was supposed to be. Not only have I dealt with a broken relationship, but I wrestled with my call. I know that God has called me to be a disciple, but I have often questioned, has God really called me to be a pastor?
Often my first response is the question: “Am I doing this because people said I would be good at it?” (Though truth to be told, there were many more people that thought I couldn’t even be a Youth Minister, much less a pastor of a church, but I did not know that until recently, thankfully!) And often times that was enough of a question to make me question my call as a whole.
Over the last 6 months, I have been working on Commissioning work. If you don’t know what that means, It is the next step towards ordination after Seminary. The last 6 months have been the hardest for me to stay on this path, that I DO feel that God called me to. It has been eye-opening in so many ways, and difficult in others. It has brought up things of the past that have hurt me, and brought out my deepest fears of failure. It has made me feel completely vulnerable in every way. There have been many moments when I wanted to give up and walk away because it was hard, or because I felt that I was a mess (apparently, many that I have spoken to have felt this way when doing this work, makes me glad to know that I am not alone.) Even once I turned it in, I felt sick to my stomach, always fearing that it isn’t enough.
Tonight, I sat in an empty sanctuary, just thinking. God (and the people that God has placed in my life) has gotten me to this point. God pulled me through some dark moments, where it seemed light would never shine again. And here I sat, afraid. I began to sing It is Well, and I realized that it is ok. Even if I don’t get commissioned, it doesn’t mean my calling ceases to exist, it simply means I have more learning to do. I found peace, and in the day that we began advent, I found hope.
For some reason, God has called me to this. God has gifted me with the ability to preach and God has gifted me with the ability to love people. And hear me when I say, I truly do love what I do, and I truly do love what God has called me be. But I still have a lot to learn no matter what and I am beginning to really understand that being a disciple truly takes all of us, and for me to be a pastor, it has taken and will continue to take all of me. Ultimately, all of me is what I gave God many years ago, I pray that I will not try to take it back. I pray that God can truly have ALL OF ME.
I guess I should probably finish that homework now...