For this installment of Faithful Fridays, I voice my thoughts about dealing with the call placed in our hands, especially in the moments of doubt and questioning.Earlier this year, I had found myself at the crux of three employment choices, one of which is going into full-time ministry, as part of the Music Team’s administration. Friends have been encouraging in pointing out my skills in organization, communication, and that I already have a background in music. It also helped that our current Music Director vouched for me. It felt a lot like a perfect fit at that time, further compounded by advice from my cell group leader and other friends.
It was probably a Christian professional’s dream come true, like it had all the right ingredients for a Godly call – but the thing is, I did not feel at peace with it.
Confidantes can attest to the anxiety and sleepless nights that resulted in having the opportunity tossed into a three-way fight against the other two employment opportunities. I sought counsel from the previous Music Team admin, from the Music Team’s pastor, from my mentor; weighed pros and cons with my family (whom I surprisingly found supportive!); and I even engaged in a 21-day devotional just for the decision-making process.
In theory, it all made sense – like I would be the biggest idiot to not jump at the opportunity; but I had gone into the official interview still undecided. I came in with more questions than answers to the questions I anticipated. In the end, I came out with a takeaway from Pastor Mark:
The call will be tested.
I said that if the church would have me, I will offer up my best as I would in any position, but I felt that I would be cheating the other two applicants who actually applied, who might have their hearts more into the position than I do.
Basically, I said, Thank you for the opportunity and for your trust in me, but not this time. I will have to decline.
Just before writing this, I had just gone through an anxiety attack, overwhelmed by the rigors or my two-month old work. Things were not turning out as anticipated, and I am facing more disappointments than successes. An exchange with a dear friend (along with a good cry in a bathroom stall) helped shut the noise, and I remembered what verses I shared to my cell group sisters during this year’s seed-giving (emphasis mine):
“Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
Will bring her into the wilderness,
And speak comfort to her.
“I will give her her vineyards from there,
And the Valley of Achor as a door of hope;
She shall sing there,
As in the days of her youth,
As in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt.
“And it shall be, in that day,”
Says the Lord,
“That you will call Me ‘My Husband,’
And no longer call Me ‘My Master,’…”
— Hosea 2:14-16
I had been focusing on these verses all this time, forgetting the second one I shared:
Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.
— Isaiah 43:19
Meditating on Isaiah 43:19, I realized that was still looking at well-worn roads and easily flowing rivers. I am sure many can relate – we have been conditioned since birth by our parents, mentors, and society on what we should consider as good, and we therefore expect it: carving out a career, earning big, get the house with the white picket fence, and settle in with your beautiful family while attending church on Sundays. We know well enough that life is not so cookie-cutter.
By today’s societal standards, my life has strayed far from expectations. My high school teachers were looking at a career in diplomatic relations, when I am actually a translator who does not have enough to do, and so I am being taught how to do accounting (yes, accounting – and this is coming from someone who did everything she could to avoid any kind of math during her college years.) It is a very steep learning curve for me and the training materials have sent me crying in the bathrooms (I kid you not).
But not only I am provided for, I am also able to give; my mind and my hands are not idle, because I am trusted to be able to learn brand new things. I might not be in an air-conditioned condominium unit in the middle of the metropolis, but I am in the suburban house I was born in where I have my father’s company (and his cooking :9), and free internet connection.
I also realized that had focused too much on the wilderness part in Hosea 2:14-16, and I lived as if the wilderness is all there is. I had forgotten that at the heart of God’s calling, He calls me to honor Him and to place Him first in my life, to honor my father and my mother (and by extension, my family), and to be excellent at what He brings to my hands. At the heart of God’s calling, He commands me to let go of what I know to be good, so as I can fix my eyes on the new things that He is preparing for me.
I was so busy questioning my current situation that I had failed to remember where I was headed – what my call really is. My eyes were on the rough sands and the scorching sun with my tears as my drink, when in truth, God is holding me by the hand to lead me to the vineyards and gardens He personally fashioned for me.
Now that is me being an idiot.
It may not have taken the form that I envisioned them to be, but I am walking the unique path that God has set out for me: the opportunity to minister to my family, to practice taking care of a household (and, in faith, my own family), and the time to build the habit of writing and grab the opportunity to reach more people with His goodness and love.
God’s call is not quite like a, “Eureka!” moment. It is more like a blossoming flower, in which the bud gradually unravels into a unique work of art. You cannot will a bud to turn out like the “beautiful” rose you had just seen when it can grow into its own beauty – if not even more beautiful.
The wilderness may not make sense at times, but know that it is not our final destination. The sandstorms or the glaring sun might be blinding, and the dark of the night daunting; but trust that God has you shielded under His wing, He knows where He is taking you, and regardless of your doubts and questions, He has never – and never will – leave your side. And just like your feet finally brushing against sparse blades of grass, know that in the testing of your calling, you are headed in the right direction. What God has prepared for you is perfect, and way better than you could ever imagine.