Discerning

     Discerning one’s call is a lifelong challenge.  We are never finished figuring out what God wants us to do.  It took me 3 months to figure out what my first step should be.  I knew that I was being called to the pulpit, but was God calling me to ministry?  Don’t the two kinda go hand-in-hand? 

     There are lots of interesting options.  One option was to attend Lay Ministry classes.  I was looking at a 3 year program that consisted of 15 mini-courses on theology, preaching, mission, youth ministry, Old and New Testament studies, foundations of Christian Education. At the end I would be a “Certified Lay Pastor”.  But just what does that mean to me?

     I decided to start checking out the different degrees and certification programs and what kind of vocations they led to.  You see, I still didn’t know what I wanted or needed to do?  And does it matter what I want to do?  If I’m responding to God’s call, doesn’t that make it His Call? I checked out local seminaries and the courses and programs they offered.  I need education, but to what extent? 

Just what do I plan to do?

     In the process I found myself at a local seminary that offered prospective students a “Seminary Weekend.”  It was during this 3-day weekend that I learned

I am not alone. 

 There were students there of all ages, from all walks of life, from every corner of the earth.  And the call stories were as varied and interesting as the people.  I visited several classes and spent time in fellowship with the students and the faculty.  As I listened to the introductions of several course options, I found myself more and more intrigued by the Master of Divinity program (the M-Div).  The M-Div course is preparation for ministry and ordination.  I was very interested, but didn’t see how I could manage it. 

Me? In ministry? 

     As I sat in that classroom listening to the M-Div requirements; Greek, Hebrew, Internships, CPE (Clinical Pastor Experience such as serving as a chaplain), Old Testament, New Testament, Preaching, Worship, Theology…..and my head started spinning. The seeds of doubt had taken root and were sprouting throughout my brain.  I starting questioning myself, my motives, my abilities.  And in my head I answered myself (scary!).  It was like MY voice talking inside MY head, but I felt like the words were coming from SOMEWHERE else (my subconscious?, the Holy Spirit?, God?).  The conversation went like this…

Me: I can’t do this, it’s too much!

Voice: Yes, you can.

Me: But I’m too stupid.

Voice: Your brain is the same size as everyone else’s in this room.  USE IT!

Me (still making excuses): But my life is so complicated.  How will I ever make this work?

Voice: Trust me.

      So, I decided to TRUST GOD.  I applied to the M-Div program because I felt drawn to it (and because the voice said I CAN do it!).  I took the first step.  Then I waited for God to guide my second step.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. David Cassatt  |  July 8, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    Hey – is this thing on? That sermon was quite an experience for the congregation as well.

    Reply
    • 2. iplanandgodlaughs  |  July 8, 2009 at 9:56 pm

      Yeah, I think it’s on. Thanks, D!

      Reply
  • 3. Terry Thomas Primer  |  July 30, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    Vanessa,

    Becky Griffin the Elder forwarded your blog. I am also from Braddock and worked at the pool while I was in HS and college.
    I knew Bob McC. Jr. better than your end of the block, but we have met along time ago.

    I am also 50+ and have been doing ministry for 30 years as a campus minister, church associate, pastoral counselor and now as a chaplain to retired older adults.

    I love your freshness and delight in what has come your way!

    Advise: Keep on walking it will only get better, deeper and richer.— Terry

    Reply

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