So, this might surprise a few people (especially people who knew me 10 years or longer ago), but I am currently in the process of making a big decision. A decision I never expected to be making: whether or not I should enter the ministry. Like, to become a Christian minister in the United Church of Canada. Not a choice I ever dreamed or imagine I would be facing, but here it is.
It is a very hard thing, to decide–to discern–one’s calling. Is it to parenthood? Is it to secular leadership? Political or community leadership? Is it to freelance work? To being a keeper of the home? (Okay, I’m definitely not called to this one, though it might help us all out a little bit!)
I have many of the gifts that are required by a minister: I am a good listener. I understand the admin work required. I enjoy wrestling with engaging texts, and I enjoy speaking in front of people. I am inspired by sharing my values and encouraging people to believe that things can get better. I also have a handful of people who think I can do this thing, and who are willing to support me through their time, attention and effort.
And yet, I have so many questions, so many concerns. Can I do this work, and still be the parent I want to be? Will becoming a Minister mean that suddenly everything I say will be interpreted through that lens? That people who think all Christians are stupid, or judgmental, or bigoted, will then assume that I am stupid, judgmental and bigoted? Will I ever get to be at home?
That’s a real mix of questions, both mundane and political, but the two foremost concerns are around my family, and my audience. I want to be here for my family, especially with my daughter on the brink of the tender tween years. I don’t want to be taken away with meetings, faraway coursework, or even writing papers. I want to be *here* for both of them, with both of them, soaking up this one chance I get to be this close two two other humans. They are my whole world, and I won’t let a process undermine that.
As for my audience, I really don’t know how I feel about putting on that mantle of Minister. I have come to have great respect for ministers, but that has been a long journey, and a very personal one. I worry that by joining this huge organization called Church, my voice will be heard only by Christians, that people outside of the church will automatically filter me out — like I once filtered out people who called themselves Christian.
(It really is true that as you judge, so you will be judged.)
So here I am, near the start of this journey, trying to decide which way to go. I’ll let you know where my journey takes me, and I’d love to hear about yours.