Following the Road: Part 3 of 4

As I neared that precipice called graduation, I knew I needed to decide a career direction. By this time I had discovered that I liked teaching. For this reason I looked into opportunities to teach English overseas with a missions organization. Things just didn’t click though. If you asked me each month of my senior year what country I was planning to go to you would notice a slow drift between different parts of the world. I kept putting off making any commitments to a specific organization. Was it procrastination or fear? I don’t know for sure.

Making no solid plans for the summer like I had planned I went on a road trip by myself to Alaska. In the time with less distraction I began to notice what my mind was thinking about.  Whenever I though about missions it was something like, “Gee I should really make some permanent decisions about this.”  Then it would drift out of my mind for a while.  Children were on my brain instead.  I thought about new ways to do Children’s Ministry, ideas for spiritual growth in kids, and how Christians should be shaping the new generation.  I realized that working with kids made me happy.  This was not the high emotional kind of happiness that we most often think about.  Remember I am not that kind of person.  Instead it was a quiet satisfaction kind of happiness.

A wiser, older Christian had told me that God’s will is like a cruise ship.  There is a lot of fun stuff to do on the ship, swim in the pool or play shuffle board.  The boat is going to the destination it needs to go to.  As long as we stay on the boat there is an enormous amount of freedom.  To go outside God’s will is like jumping off the ship into the water.  That will is what he has called us to be.  Be holy, be imitators of God, and live up to what you have obtained and the like.

Here I sat with the opportunity to do something that I enjoyed and was good at.  Other people had affirmed this and it didn’t contradict the Bible.  I could pursue the opportunity to work with children or continue planning to do missions.  Still it was a difficult decision.  There is something in my religious tradition that while it doesn’t quite frown on doing what is pleasurable, it isn’t as spiritual as denying yourself.  It is a bit of a spiritual misunderstanding, but was there in my mind.  Read the first essay in Weight of Glory by C.S. Lewis to understand it better. 

Remember how I characterized the call as something that people at first resisted and then finally turned to obey.  God might call you to deepest, darkest Africa or some other place that you least wanted to good.  Actually that was the most likely place for him to call you to.  If you didn’t a Jonah like experience would fall upon you.  You may think I am being funny, but I was afraid of this for a long time and at times wondered if some of the hard experiences I went through were because of that.  I think Christian counselor would tell you that I was not alone in feeling this way.

I don’t believe that God creates us to fit into a job that we don’t enjoy.  A job that fits with our spiritual gifts and natural abilities and talents is not likely to be one we don’t enjoy.  In fact, I believe that our enjoyment of something is a sign that it is something we are created to do.  Of course this must be balanced with some of the other tests of whether something is God’s will for our lives.

To make a long story short I am currently in serving in Children’s Ministry and pursuing a career in it.  I consider it my personal response to God’s calling in my life.  Your personal response will look different.  In the future I may be doing something different.  I don’t know for certain, but I think that our best fit could change as our characters change and mature.  God’s will for my life could change as he may have gifted me in other areas that I am not aware of or he has not developed yet.  In a strange way this means that God’s will for my life is whatever I am doing.  I know people who say they are still trying to find out what God’s will is for them.  They are doing it.  It is their personal response to how God has made them and what he has called them to be.

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