5 Missed Calls.
Lately, I have taken major steps toward hearing the shape of my call to ministry. I know that seems strange to those of you who have known me for a long time – yes I have been a minister this entire time, but it hasn’t always felt that way. Throughout my time as a minister, I have had to ditch beliefs that were unhealthy, re-learn how to love myself, understand why I have been called, and even agree to pursue the call or not. Let’s just say, I am cleaning out my spiritual messages because my mailbox is full. I have been very good at ignoring my messages. Can you relate?
I believe there are stages to a person’s faith and calling that are ever-growing. I hope that ten years from now, God inspires me to hear yet another call(s) to help me grow. As I whether intense changes, I understand more fully how God, through all things, is speaking to me. God is still speaking to all of us.
Call #1: Simplicity: Live as simply as possible.
What living simply means to me is that I do not seek to embellish my life with words/rhetoric, actions, possessions, food, clothing, or anything else that I do not need or that would be take too much from others or the earth. I have been reevaluating what it means to take this vow of simplicity – financially, spiritually, professionally, energetically – what is enough when everything continues to inflate, when egos continue to dominate? To help with this question, I am currently on a fast that will end on Sunday morning. The answers are still shaping themselves as I allow spirit to shape my world, accommodating for my needs and the needs of others before any selfish desires take hold.
Call #2: Joy: To be joyful is a gift to God, self, and others.
Ever since I was a little girl I have had my own special brand of joy that still remains untainted – I have often fought hard to protect it. In the past I have been proud of my untouched joy. I now believe I was incorrect in hiding it away in a protective shell. Now, I realize that joy doesn’t need protecting as it is not a weakness; it does need exposure, however. Joyfulness is a challenge to be continually called to deeper innocence and delight in the aspects of life and relationship we often take for granted. I have been called to express my joy in all circumstances and to help others be unashamed of being happy, healthy, and whole. We can shape the world with our joy, even if we are deeply suffering.
Call #3: Stillness: Shhhhh.
Yesterday I went on a nature walk with my husband. We were in a beautiful park I had never been to before. There were many paths that we could take, but I remained silent and let Spirit point the way. After walking off the beaten path, we found a circular clearing that was paved. in the middle was fertile soil and two tall trees. I immediately sat down to meditate. After a while, another man came and joined us on a log on the other side of the clearing. The winds blew, speaking to our hearts, releasing our burdens and opening our minds. I am called to be still and know that I don’t have to be in control to feel safe or whole. Stillness allows for trust in the divine.
Call #4: Hospice Chaplaincy: Holding the space for those in transition.
I have been fighting against this since I lost my mom, but I can no longer run from an integral part of my life purpose because of my cowardice. I can’t be afraid of being triggered or how bad it will hurt to see others around me suffering. That is the pinnacle of selfishness. I am not judging myself, I am just calling myself on my shit.
The deepest roots of my ministry, the most defined shape of my call, is to hold the space for those in transition. I am adjusting my life for work as a hospice chaplain, to help those who are in the process of dying and their loved ones discover a deeper understanding through the audacity of hope. I know what it is like to hear a doctor say “There is nothing more we can do.” I know what it feels like for grief to hollow out the world as we know it. That moment is the opportunity for God to step in and take the dying person’s hand and the bereaved person’s hand, leading them to the next level.
My dream position would be to work with HIV/AIDS hospice, but I am open to whomever is in need and wherever I am called. Everyone deserves to die peacefully without regrets or fears of hell and judgment.
Call #5: Back to Jesus: Recovering the authenticity of discipleship
I often wondered why I was raised going to so many different churches and seeing so many different ways of worship. I believe all things happen for a reason, yet I often rejected any idea of ministry in a serious capacity because it was never available to me being that I have a vagina and breasts.
For a long time, Christianity was a vice grip on my freedom to be myself; it was very difficult to find my place as an empowered woman in a religion that in the 20th century sought to oppress women’s roles. But that was so last century. THIS century, I am determined to excavate the message of Christ like an archaeologist determined to find all the bones down to the fragments.
Dig carefully, mindfully, uncover truths, brush off the dust, and relearn history. So many people have been hurt by those who claim their deeds in the name of Jesus that they have been unable to see the innumerable messages of our potential as humans to overcome the world and be transfigured in the Holy Spirit. Instead we have gotten hung up on concepts and wrapped up in holy wars. Who is responsible to break the cycle? We are. Those of us who can see beyond the mythos to heal the pathos and develop a new ethos. To me, that means bringing light to those that suffer in the stigma that old world Christianity has conjured around them just for being who they are – to lift the curse of worldly and political powers that misuse the name of The Christ.
Incoming Call: Are you ready?
Who else has the courage to answer The Call? Are you ready to love others as yourself, bless those that curse you, and accept all people no matter their socio-economic status, religion, cultural background, ethnic background, gender identity, sexuality, race, health or wealth status? Are you also prepared as I am to make “Live and let live” the new Christian mantra of unconditional love? Are you willing to give your seat up at the table of holy communion for one who you been informed is less than you? Are you ready to see beyond the idea of the throne of grace, beyond the idea of a Zeusesque God, an angry man with a beard, and search for the gift of reality in Christ Jesus? Are you willing to give up symbols, archetypes, and imagery that ultimately divides for the progression of our spiritual evolution?