When I was 12, I felt “called” to ministry. I don’t know how you experience calling or what you mean by that.
Here’s what I mean. That summer, I went to a camp staffed by volunteers. These college students were just all kinds of cool. By the end of the week I was sold. If that was a job, that was what I wanted to do with my life.
Whether it ‘counts’ as called or not, the desire to do that kind of work stuck with me through the rest of junior high, high school, and into college.
I was about 15 when I realized that many people think ministry is not for girls. Someday, I’ll tell some of those stories in greater details, but for now, I’ll just say that I spent a LOT of time working through whether I was allowed to be a pastor or not.
I decided I was.
So I majored in theology and went on to seminary, all the while working for a church. But 7 years of school and three churches later, for lots of reasons, I wasn’t so sure. In that time, certainly there were a lot of high points. There were several seasons where it felt like things just ‘fit.’
But there were some things that blindsided me, leaving me disoriented, confused, and hurt. So I transitioned to a university, into a department that is-but-isn’t ministry focused. Nearly two years later, this is the most at home in ministry I’ve felt in a long time. Part of it, I’m convinced, is that there are far more female ministry colleagues here. Yet, something is missing.
I miss serving parents in my work. I miss teaching. I miss my life being rooted in serving the local church.
My best friends and former staff youth workers have expressed the same recently; I know I’m not alone. And we talk together about how on the one hand we want to be in a role that makes it feel like all your passion and gifts are just perfectly aligning with a real need. On the other hand, we all firmly believe that there are times when you just do the stuff that has to be done–glamorous or not, passionate or not–because it’s important.
We talk about how we experience these challenges one way because we’re younger and female, but really, men experience them too, and people in different generations than ours experience them too.
Still, we’re asking–if we know what our gifts are, and we’re willing to put them to use for the kingdom, why does it still feel so hard to find a home?
Have you felt it? Have you moved through it?