Things I Am Not Good At (A Partial List)
It is 1:57 p.m. and I am waiting for a phone call that will tell me where I am going to live and minister as of the last week of June (less than two months away). In my denomination, we are placed, and though there is a fairly routine schedule on the calendar, the truth is that at any moment, I could receive a call telling me that it is time to move on. This time, I had much more notice than most ministers get. I have known I am moving for months. Waiting was easy when it was so far off. Waiting was easy when I was distracted by the to-do lists. Waiting is NOT easy now, as I sit in my office, emails answered, banking done, unable to distract myself with cleaning due to a leg injury that has me hobbling around like an old lady. Instead, I am alternating between staring at my phone, talking to Brandon, and looking at adoptable dogs on petfinder.com (hey, don’t judge – it’s a helpful coping mechanism, and how I found my current dog, Mrs. Weasley). Writing this, in fact, is an attempt to give myself something to do while I wait.
In this case, I am not sure what to hope for because I cannot seem to divorce my hopes for my new location/ministry from what feels like selfishness: if I hope for something not too far from family and friends, in a ministry that falls easily (or even somewhat easily) into what I perceive my gifts and passions to be, am I putting myself before others? Before God? If I hope for what I want and end up getting something else, have I set myself up for disappointment? Or failure?
I’ve had some rough conversations with people in the last year or so, and I’ve realized recently that I am not as trusting as I used to be. Some of these same people are the very ones who are deciding where to place me. Can I trust them? Depends on the minute, to be honest. Do they trust me? Maybe, maybe not. I don’t know. Perhaps it depends on the minute with them as well.
It’s more than trusting them, though: I know that it’s about trusting God. I don’t really believe that “God’s will” or “plan” is outlined like an itinerary, as in “God’s plan is for me to live in Bohunk, USA for 3 years, then move to Random City for the next 2,” because frankly, if God had my life planned out that way, I’ve already blown it in all my years of doing what I wanted to do. Instead, I think that “God’s will” or “plan” is for me and Him to remain in a good relationship no matter where I am or what I’m doing. Right now, I trying to trust that no matter where I am, that relationship will still be there. That He’s the constant, and that I am not required/asked/permitted to be the one in charge – He is.
One of the better-known verses in scripture is “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10a). I know that having a really, really limited knowledge of and exposure to ancient Hebrew means that I really can’t say a whole lot about what it “means” when the author wrote “raphah,” translated here as “be still.” When I look up the definition, it appears to be more than just being still – it is to relax, to “sink into” the knowledge that God is God. When I combine that with the German concept of geborgenheit (described here by my friend Timothy), there is a sort of calm, restful, anxiety-free existence to which I am called – one that is not at all within my tense nature that craves control. I am not good at just being.
Yesterday, I had a doctor’s appointment, which meant I was in the town where my sister lives (and right next to my other sister). I texted them to see if we could get together, and one sister was able to meet for lunch and the other let me tag along while she went to Home Depot and the grocery store.Then, I went back to her house and played with my youngest nephew, E, who is five. When I got there, I picked him up and he put his arms around me and told me about his day at school. He told me that they learned You Are My Sunshine, and then they made a craft of clouds and sunbeams. I told him about how I used to sing that at naptime every day to his older siblings when they were two. He put his head on my shoulder and was OK to just be there, wrapped around me like a monkey, and I was nearly knocked sideways by my desire to not be gone from him, or my sisters, or the rest of my family. The twins are 12 and the oldest is 16, and my heart just beats differently when I’m far away from them all, and I don’t like it.
It’s now 3:13, and I have gotten the call, told my family and bffs, done what little crying there was to be done (I’m not a crier). I can’t tell you where I’m going. Not until tomorrow. I don’t know who is going to take my place.
Now, it’s a different waiting game – a month and a half of trying to keep my head on straight, get things done, and readying myself for what’s next.
Have I mentioned I’m not very good at this?