The room was cold and as alien to me as if I were alone standing on the moon. But I wasn’t alone, instead I was surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, who I feared could see right through me, “How did I get here?” This had to be some fantastic mistake. I was the last person on Earth who should be sitting here, amongst these dear precious souls.
They were everything I wasn’t… patient, playful, and professionally skilled when it came to using scissors and glue. It was, what I would label as, my first ‘call’ to ministry. And here I was with clammy hands and ready to bolt for the exit. I wouldn’t characterize this as a pleasant experience I was terribly uncomfortable, but I think that’s ‘the way.’
The Jesus ‘way.’
“Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7
I just wanted to follow Jesus. Seek Him.
When I first came to faith I didn’t know anything about ‘calling’ or ‘living out your purpose’ or ‘spiritual gifts’, I just wanted to be saved by Jesus, and benefit from the great spiritual reset button. And really that should be everyone’s starting point.
But then travelers further ahead on the journey informed me that there was more, and really that I was obligated to discover it all. Just enjoying a relationship with Jesus wasn’t enough – I needed to pull my own weight and get to work.
There is an endless buffet when it comes to Christian service. So much so, that you can easily experience choice paralysis. I’d take a small spoonful of this and a dollop of that, sampling here and there to see if there way anything tempting enough to fill up my plate. And somehow, along the way, I landed myself there with the fleet of shinny happy Children’s ministers. I reasoned there had to be a mistake, as if two angles bumped into each other and the assignments they were delivering for God got mixed up and went to the wrong people.
But this was a part of the plan, for me. Jesus was giving me something (or trying to at least) a childhood. He does this along the ‘way.’ He’s not just a Savior but also a Redeemer. I wasn’t raised in the church so I missed out on all the Bible stories, and flannel boards, and VBS, and goldfish crackers served in paper Dixie cups. He wanted to give me these sweet things.
I knew I had to be open to the assignment He was giving me, even if it included learning hand motions to “Ask and Seek and Knock” while singing along with the preschool-ish music.
There have been countless other assignments since, but years ago I abandoned this quest to discover my ‘calling’ my ‘purpose’ as if someday Jesus will answer my prayer with ‘butcher’ and suddenly I’d feel complete.
Instead, lately I settle for hearing, just barely a whisper of a verse sung during a quite few moments of playtime in the living room after church, ‘Jesus loves me this I know…’, abruptly followed by some unrelated comment, possibly potty talk. A gift you can only appreciate by spending time with preschoolers.
Or, rest in the easier answer given by a ministry I’m dearly fond of, “our purpose is to bring God glory and enjoy Him forever.” I think the idea of just enjoying God as the goal appeals to me greatly.
Or, maybe my ‘calling’ and ‘purpose’ and ‘giftedness’ dwell partially in all of those seemingly random experiences…
And becomes complete as I put each word on this page.
All I know is, I feel more fulfilled then ever and closer to Jesus and that is all that really matters anyway.