Discerning Faithfulness

25Jun04

Tonight Sarah and I were blessed to have some of the folks from our community (read: Vineyard Central) gather around us to pray, listen, and discern. This is something we had long desired (thought of doing it back in CA before we moved) and it was great to be affirmed and “loved-on” in this way. I’ll forego a description of the gathering, other than saying it was a peaceful time of reflextion and listening, sprinkled with laughter, probing questions, and dogs (and Rainses) licking each other.

My mind is a jumble of thoughts presently. I’ll let some of them tumble out here….

I think tonight was less about discern our present vocation (though that was definitely there) and more about discerning our larger (ongoing/future) vocation. What I mean is this – I think my present call is simply to be faithful. This is, however, is far from simple (easy). I was struck by the image (that Owen shared) of barefeet walking uncomfortably across a metal grate that could be seen through. It seemed to me that that grate is P&G and those barefeet are mine. It is where God has called me for this season and it is uncomfortable, but in a good way. The “seeing-through-ness” and the uncomfort are both God ordained bits of this journey. They are ways to keep me from buying in to the corporate ideology – it keeps me an alien in a strange land – a pilgrim person. This is not the first time this thought has occured to me – that God is not calling me to something new, but to be faithful in my spot and wait and trust, trust, trust.

The visions and dreams shared for community development and neighborhood revitalization are good and true and part of our future, but in a now-and-not-yet way. I am perfectly capable of being wrong about this, mind you. God may well be saying – actively pursue something outside of P&G, something in and for the neighborhood. If he is then I trust that he will make it abundantly clear what that is…. for now, though, be faithful where he has placed me – P&G. My sense is that I’ll be there for some time – several years perhaps. Certainly neighborhood stuff will happen during this time, but I will not play the role I would ideally like to – that of 20-40 hour a week dedicated time/life investment.

Another piece that was significant was two-fold. First, there was a general recognition that I am feeling quite discouraged and doubtful of my abilities and qualifications. This is true. I am. It is something of a lifelong struggle. Insecurity, doubt, and fear (of letting people down, of not being liked, of not being good enough) are demons with which I struggle and fight. I suspect that God is working on those issues during this liminal season.

The other was despair, frustration and lack of trust. This is more specifically in regard to the desire to a resolution, a fix, an answer, and some stability to this season of transition and waiting. I deeply desire to be fully here. Settled. As much as this has already happened to a large extent, I feel a bit of blockage to being able to fully release myself into this place. I long for Sarah and Cloey and I to be settled and deeply planted. I surely will laugh at this statement, when I re-read this in 2-3 years. We’ve only been here 6 months – this settled-ness takes time…. I must be patient. More importantly, however, are the underlying issues that are perpetrating this lack of trust. What is it that I believe about God that makes me so anxious about this in-between time?

From tonight’s gathering I didn’t get the sense that its purpose (certainly not its outcome) was to bring something into clarity re: which job to pursue or such. This is frustrating, but that is something I need to take up with God. Rather, tonight’s gathering was about bringing ourselves and our lives to the table of the community. At times it felt like we were corporately dreaming with Aaron and Sarah in mind. This was/is important. I continue to believe that God has something specific and already prepared/preparing for me work-wise that will be part of my vocation. What wasn’t as obvious (publicly) was that we were integrated into this community. We needed to “fess up” and say we were here to stay, we want to live in the ‘hood, we have a passion/vision/calling to be a part of what God is doing here. Almost like this was releasing something (the Spirit?) to happen/move that couldn’t have happened otherwise…. we’ll see.

But I don’t want to lose what Sandy said. How is it that the thing you most need to hear is the very thing you most dislike hearing? My only uncomfortable reaction tonight was to the idea of needing to trust and wait. I am so sick of waiting. I want it all finished and done now! I suspect that the longer I insist on wanting all my wants and desires perfectly satisfied by the “perfect job” and the “perfect house”, I will find myself running against a barrier to what God truly desires to do in my life. I have an almost overwhelming sense of just needing to wait and trust. This seems incredible unproductive – like I ought to be out there “beating the pavement”, but I think I need to just need to be faithful (and uncomplaining, unbelittling) about where I am and what I do.

I don’t know if this means that I’ll get a job at P&G or if other opportunities will open up. But God will provide whatever it is when the time is right. If that means we don’t buy the house we want – so be it. If that means I work for P&G – so be it. If that means I start some kind of community business – so be it. It could really mean lots of things – but the first step – the only real step – is to be faithful.

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