As I mentioned yesterday, I will be headed out of town this week for my fraternity’s national conference in Atlanta, which is also the location of Ministerial Life’s first speaking engagement. Although I am not all that excited about dealing with some of the behind-the-scenes issues that come with conferences, I am excited about leaving my regular life behind for a few days. I’ve been stressed out for a while about certain decisions that I need to make for my future.
I know what you’re thinking…ministers are always telling people to pray through their problems instead of worrying. That’s true, but I have a bad habit of praying while worrying. Indeed, that habit has gotten much worse since I have had more time on my hands this summer. It seems like every time I turn around, there is something new to concern me. I try my best to pass all of those burdens to God, but sometimes it’s difficult because some things are just very close to my heart.
At this point, my biggest concern is figuring out how to step forward and be the man God has called me to be without hurting the people around me. It is difficult because I acknowledge that God asked many people in the Bible to do things that seemed pretty unconventional at the time. God asked Abraham to leave his family’s land and almost required him to sacrifice the son he had spent most of his life waiting for. While we know that Abraham was rewarded greatly for his obedience, we also know that his journey was not easy.
We can also look at each of the twelve disciples who literally had to leave their families in order to travel with Jesus. All but one became pillars of the New Testament church, but the majority ended up dying in the early persecution of Christians. While we know that their reward was in heaven, we also know of the pain that people who watched them grow up felt while noting the various tragic twists and turns in their lives. I know that a big change is around the corner for me, but I am still hearing from God about it. While I’m doubtful that it is a change of the same magnitude as the ones I just referenced from Scripture, I know that it will have a pretty big impact on my everyday surroundings.
God has been using my job to remind me of who I was when I first graduated from divinity school four years ago. Situations related to my academic pursuits and my personal life have changed me a lot since then. I’m much more jaded these days. However, I have noticed that God has been helping me to rediscover the person I was because some of those dormant aspects of my personality are going to be integral to my future. At the same time, God has allowed for me to maintain all of the wisdom that I have gained since then.
The combination of my energy from the past and my wisdom from the present is helping me to realize that I have settled in a lot of areas of my life just because settling was safer than constantly reaching out only to be shot down. People looking in at my life from the outside wouldn’t see that. After all, I’m a minister, entrepreneur, and a PhD student. There doesn’t seem to be much room for settling in that scenario. Still, I have plenty of stories of times when I settled for things I could reach on my own with very little effort even when I had clear instruction from God letting me know that I needed to trust him to stretch me.
Anyway, this is a long way of saying that a big change is coming my way and going to this conference will hopefully give me the time I need to reflect on what God has been revealing to me. I can only pray that I will be strong enough to listen fully when God finally makes things clear.