Archive for March, 2008

And I’m not talking about the parts I love about my mom. I’m not talking about the creative, cooks-a-new-dish-for-a -dinner-party, travels the world, adventurous, knowledgeable part. I’m talking about the tendency to live with a Depression-era mentality. The one that says “it may be sunny today, but it’s gonna rain tomorrow.” Kind of the Eeyore mentality. It surprises me every time I hear someone say that Eeyore is their favorite Pooh character. Have you listened to what Eeyore says? It’s always doom and gloom with him. Nobody wants to be with Eeyore all day! Really, if you had to spend the day or a week with him you’d either get down in the dumps with him or you’d exhaust yourself trying to cheer him up.

As a kid I remember being always cheerful, “always look on the bright side of life”. But sometime in HS I felt myself slipping over to the dark side. I thought it was just teen-angst, but I could feel it creeping into my soul. In college and my 20s I just tried to pretend I was witty and dark, just making jokes, ha ha, so what. But recently I’ve noticed it just keeps coming out. I can still twist it into a joke if someone calls me on it, but really the darkness is there. I’ve already tried to remove negative media influences, but I always seem to find enough negativity in people and situations to make up for the good I may be doing avoiding the news media.

Perhaps I need to go back to those early elementary days when the “warm fuzzy” curriculum with the puppets was popular. I remember we had this little thing we were supposed to say to the mirror each morning before we encountered anyone. It went like this: “Today I’m okay and so are they. Today I’m a Prinz and so are they. Today I will give 10 warm fuzzies away. Today is now. Today I’m okay.” Oh yeah, Prinz is what the warm fuzzy creatures were called. OH but I feel so like a cold prickly!


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Maybe it’s just Lent, but I always seem to be down and have temptations during Lent more so than other times of the year. Maybe it’s because where I live, Lent falls in the latter part of winter when things are just blah and gloomy anyway. It’s also the time of year I most question my call to ministry. Really now, God, is ministry a once and for all life sentence, or is it a “do this faithful thing for a time and I’ll call you on to something else later”? How many times have I had these feelings of “surely I should be doing something else, but what?”? And shortly thereafter something happens, I preach a sermon or lead an event and someone out of the blue says to me “You are exactly where you should be” or “You really belong in ministry.” OK, so this time I’m still waiting for that confirmation.

Years ago, when I was a college student who was feeling out a call to ministry, another minister said to me “Remember, God can call you into ministry and out of it again.” At the time I thought this person was rude and somewhat hateful; and that may have been true. But those words have stuck with me for nearly 20 years like a ringing in the ears. Was it a prophetic message that I didn’t want to hear or believe, or were they words of truth to be regarded sincerely? Probably both. But when your calling becomes a drudgery, it’s time to consider closely what God is calling you to do and be. Perhaps it is just that I need some time off, a areal vacation in which I can go to the Source and drink long and deliberately from the wellsprings. Or maybe it’s time to pursue a different calling, whatever that may be!

Still I can’t help but be wary of becoming another statistic of young women in ministry. It’s true that recently ordained people are dropping out of ministry almost as fast as they are coming into ministry, and the stats for women are even greater than those for men. What is it about ministry that calls and shuns us at the same time? I remember being a divinity student and dreamily thinking towards the future when I could do full-time what I most loved and get paid for doing it. It seemed so ideal and full of hope for the future. Now, it’s not like I hadn’t already had a bad experience with the church; I had. But I had also seen how marvelous it was to work with a senior pastor who was a model for ministry, and a church that was in reasonably good health in the way it treated staff and each other. But that pastor moved on 2 years after I left, and that church didn’t thrive under it’s new ministry and closed 2 months ago. Even good things don’t last.

Ministry is a difficult place to be, especially when it is a profession. I’ve been thinking about the parts of my job that I most enjoy and look forward to each week and I’ve realized that most of those things don’t require me to be an ordained, church staff minister. Isn’t that interesting? Are they enough for me to feel I am living out my Christian vocation? Perhaps. But what else would I do? What else can I do?

I’ve thought about going back to school and getting a degreeĀ  in another field, and if I could find the drive for it, and a full-ride scholarship, maybe it would work. There are times when you have to disregard the opinions and judgment of other people when it comes to your profession, and there are times when you can take it into account. Perhaps I need to listen for God a bit longer and deeper to know. What is it that is keeping me in ministry?

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