I must admit that this recent season of life has been one of the more emotionally draining seasons as it relates to calling and ministry. I’ll write about my life leading up to now (somewhat) so you can track with me. Sorry if it’s lengthy, but this is a blog, lol.
I like to be in control. I like planning and preparing as much as possible. I’m the kind of person that will think of 25 different contingencies just so that, IF one of those things happen, we can still stay the course because we planned. I like to leave early (when possible… I’ve relaxed a good amount after we had our first daughter, lol). I like flow charts. I like maps. I like details. Having said that, it’s not a “O.D.” liking of these things. I’m not an over-the-edge type of control-freak. But I certainly appreciate knowing and being prepared.
This season has shaken the very core of these things. Everything I thought would be during this season, wasn’t (well, not everything… but I’m creating dramatic tension… just go with it).
One of the greatest passions that I have in life is music and singing. This goes hand-in-hand with what I’ve come to realize is [at least part of] the ministry God has for me to do in life. I love leading the corporate response of worship through music and song. I word it like that because I don’t lead “worship.” Worship is much greater that just music and song… but that’s for another time and another blog post.
I’ve been playing music for about 28 years. No, that was not a type-o. 28 years. Leading corporate worship… that’s been the last 14 consecutive years.
When a person goes to college and gets a degree, somewhere in that decision is (should be?) the hope of being in a vocation after you graduate that goes along with either what you studied or with what your passion is. In a perfect world, what we study is what our passion is. I know that doesn’t always work out… but it did for me. I received my Bachelor’s in Pastoral Ministries and my Master’s in Christian Studies. I know that my calling in life is directly related to spreading the message of Jesus and His grace. There are many seats on that bus, and each person plays a different role… but we’re headed in the same direction.
For me, leading worship has been a seat that I feel adequately gifted to be in. I am sometimes asked to sit in other seats. Sometimes these stretch me. Sometimes they’re easier. But for the most part, I am in the seat connected to worship leading.
I believe that if you’re passionate about things in life, these things should show up in your life. If you’re passionate about it, then it’s life-giving to you. I’m passionate about worship, but more passionate that I get to be in that bus (big picture, and my role as it relates to the big picture).
I would love it if I were able to be in a vocation that went along with those things I’m passionate about. Let’s face it. We all have bills to pay (if you don’t, I’ll give you some of mines to pay for me, lol).
I get it… sometimes your vocation (job) isn’t optimal. But even jobs that ‘suck’ don’t seem bad when the things you’re passionate about show up in them.
Right now, this is my biggest challenge. Don’t get me wrong. My ‘vocation’ is great right now. I have a pretty sweet deal. I work from home as an administrative assistant to a plumber. My boss is a really great boss. He lets me take care of Eliana while I work. I don’t have to be in front of the computer 24/7. I ‘man the phones,’ so if I have to feed Eliana or change her diaper, I still get paid for it because I have the cell phone with me. It’s a 30-40 hour a week job.
Some of you reading this would want to slap me for what may seem like complaining. Don’t get me twisted. There’s a difference between complaining and having a desire for something. I know it’s a sweet deal that I have… but even my boss knows that it’s not what I’m cut out for. When he offered me the job, in that conversation he said I wouldn’t be around forever because he knew that it wasn’t what I was called to do in life.
Therein lies the worry… stress… etc. I feel for single parents. I have learned, first-hand, how hard it is to be a stay-at-home parent. Add to this a full-time work week. Yes, it’s more lax than other jobs… but I still have things to do… and there are several times that I’m on the phone with a customer and Eliana is yelling in the background.
All the while… I’d been getting more and more depressed that what I was doing (vocation) was not in line with what my gifting and calling in life was. Sure, I don’t doubt that you can make the kingdom show up in any situation because you take Jesus with you. But let’s face it… I can’t whip out a guitar and sing “Here I Am To Worship” every time someone has a clogged toilet.
The thing that was and is one of the greatest passions in life for me only shows up on weekend. And while I’m thankful that I can even do that on the weekend, there’s the desire of doing more and dedicating more time to what’s life-giving for you… what you’re passionate for.
I got into a rut… a routine of negativity. I would wake up and dread the day because it wasn’t what I wanted to do. It wasn’t really life-giving for me. It is draining… exhausting… and what I’d want to be able to do… well, I can’t do.
I’d have to go into detail another time… but it was just a lonely and bitter place to be in. I was angry that I couldn’t do what I wanted to do… frustrated that I had to do what I was doing… and all the while, stressed because, in the end, I had no control over it.
Then last week I read the following in Francis Chan’s book, Crazy Love.
Worry implies that we don’t quite trust that God is big enough, powerful enough, or loving enough to take care of what’s happening in our lives.
Stress says that the things we are involved in are important enough to merit our impatience, our lack of grace towards others, or our tight grip of control.
Slam Dunk… Francis threw it in my face. The Holy Spirit convicted me… BIG time. I’ve been worrying and stressing about this season. When will it end? When will I be able to do what I want to do? How? How long? Where? And through it all… I became this grumpy, depressive person. This season was literally robbing me of my joy.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again. Rejoice!” (Phil. 4:4)
Ugh… REALLY God? I’m supposed to rejoice?
Needless to say… I’m not fully there yet. It’s literally a daily challenge for me to choose to rejoice. It’s not easy to rejoice in the midst of uncertainty. It’s easy to want to worry and stress when you’re not in control.
But we’re called for something else. We’re called to rejoice in the midst of the wait. We’re called to rejoice even though we’re not in control.