When I was a little kid, I wanted to be a blacksmith when I grew up. I was an expert at the flexed arm hang (girls didn’t do pull-ups back then), but I suspect it had more to do with the fact that my grandfather was a blacksmith than my excellent upper body strength.
For a time in elementary school, I also thought I might want to be a lawyer. That phase passed quickly.
In college, I settled on math as my major, not because of any career that I though could use a math degree, but because I rather enjoyed math and was kinda good at it. I stumbled into secondary education as a concentration and got my teaching license and I thought I might be a high school math teacher.
From an experience with summer missions through the Baptist Student Union, I felt the call to attend seminary and I went right after college and earned my M.Div. degree. I thought I might want to be a seminary or college religion professor and so I continued my graduate education and began a PhD program. That phase passed (though not nearly as quickly as the lawyer phase.)
During all this time, I was always looking forward at what I was going to be, not giving much thought to what I was. Of course, that is part of the point of school – to prepare you for what you are going to be when you grow up. But that is also part of the American culture, always looking towards the future, chasing “the American Dream,” seeing where you can get ahead. We are a culture that values busy-ness, which equates a hectic and frenzied lifestyle with success, status, and importance.
Eventually I came to realize that my value comes not in my doing but in my being. This isn’t to say that what I do is not important; it is a reflection of who I am, but it is not all of who I am.
The almost four years I have spent on this church staff have been as unexpected as they have been fulfilling. Even at seminary my plans never included working for a church, but in late 2011 when Mike approached me about stepping into this position “for about a year,” I knew it was where I needed to be for a time.
As my time on staff comes to a close, I have no concrete plans about what I am going to do next. And that is part of the point of my leaving at this time, to allow myself space to discover where and how God wants to use me next.
But as the next job gets figured out, I do plan on continuing to be — to be a faithful disciple, to be an imperfect yet forgiven child of God. And in that being, I will be doing. And God willing, the doing will reflect God’s will.