Called without the Applause
Since the announcement of my acceptance to Wesley Seminary, I’ve experienced such a mixed response. Those who know me best and have been alongside me in ministry know my heart and know that this is a true calling that is somewhat unexplainable. However, most responses I have received have been confusion, hesitation, and a lack of understanding. In lieu of a “congratulations”, I have found the response to be “Soooo I guess I can’t cuss in front of you anymore”.
In their defense, I have also found myself fumbling over my own words trying to explain what I’m doing and STILL do not completely know where this will take me. But I have found grace in knowing that I don’t have to know right now, and everyone will not understand your journey. Everyone won’t understand your call.
When one goes to Law School, people applaud that. From medical school, we get nurses, practitioners and doctors of all specialties. And those individuals are celebrated. Even in the broadest degree in higher education of business school, people get applause for jumping into one of the most saturated markets, Corporate America.
Yet, I have found, that in the pursuit of the highest call to ministry, it makes people squirm in their seats, an obvious discomfort, at the mention of Seminary. And I will say, until you’ve experienced the tears of the unknown of what God is doing to you and through you, blindly leading you through a vision too big to understand or even articulate- one cannot relate.
Although, I must admit I have not always been the most stable in my decision making; never satisfied with where I’m at and what I’m doing. But may I suggest that this is further evidence of the call that God has placed on my life.
I have wrestled with where I am supposed to be and what I’m supposed to do for so long. I knew that God had a special place for me and I was eager to keep “throwing spaghetti at the wall” until something stuck. I’ve tried to run so many times, but he had me where he wanted me all along.
When my dad was 18 he went to Texas with a friend who said he could get my dad a good job there. I laughed at this thinking about how my Granny Sue, his mother, probably told him how silly it was; but in his determination, he went anyway.
Ironically enough, by the time they made it to Texas the friend had been laid off and didn’t have a job at all. My dad had to sell his guitar to get a bus ticket home. On his way back to Indiana, after failing in his pursuit, he had to face the “I told you so” upon his return. He didn’t get the applause he probably desired, but he pursued a dream to be, and do something better.
Today, my dad lives in the same house he and my mother built in 1988. And over twenty years later, in his pass time, he plays guitar in a local band in that same small town where he tried to escape.
Often, the applause we are looking for is in the small places we least expect.
Many times we try to run from something, not realizing we are exactly where we’re supposed to be. But God will allow you to go through it just to bring you back home.
In Genesis 32:22-32 Jacob wrestled with God until he received his blessing. Jacob thought he was winning until God literally caused him to fall. And God will allow us to fall just when we think we are winning, to humble us. But the story didn’t end there. Verse 28 goes on to say that “You have struggled with God and with men, and you have won.”
Even when it looks like you’ve fallen, in God’s eyes you are still winning!
Let me tell you this: I have struggled with God… and with men….. but at the end of the day, I HAVE WON! God immediately changed Jacob’s name to Israel, redirecting his path for generations to come.
Just the same, after wrestling with God in where I’m supposed to be and what I’m supposed to be doing, every time God allowed me to fail, it brought me to my knees. Now, my path has been changed to fit in to the place where He has called me to be.
Who knows how different our lives would be had my father went to Texas when he was 18. But God allowed him to fail, because he had a different plan for his life and for the lives of his daughters; the generations to come. For everything I have experienced leading up to this point, it has positioned me for such a time as this.
In John 15:16, God says “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you.” ...And for that, I am grateful.
Thank you for joining me on my journey to Finding Grace.