This summer has been a whirlwind of new experiences for me. Bible-study, Annual Conference, youth camp, vacation bible school, preaching, and many others activities have given me a snapshot of life here at the Purple Door Church and a taste of what full-time ministry would be like. It has been an exciting summer, and I am very thankful for all the opportunities I’ve had to serve here.
As you might already know, I worked at Purple Door Church this summer as a way of exploring God’s call for my life. I felt God pulling on my heart, and I’ve been in a discernment process, trying to see if He desires for me to be a pastor and lead in the context of ordained ministry. God has indeed showed up this summer, and spoken to me in a diversity of ways. While I have indeed learned about what God is calling me to, I was also struck that I learned so much about how God calls also. I wanted to share a little bit of this with you.
For a long time, I imagined receiving the call for my life as a single, dramatic moment of revelation. I thought that God would suddenly reveal his all plans in one dazzling moment and that I would have a perfectly clear understanding of God’s will for my life forever after. I envisaged God’s will for me as this mysterious “blueprint in the sky” for my life that He would bestow upon me one day or that I would simply have to figure out somehow. I prayed over and over again that God would miraculously and audibly speak to me, telling me each and every detail about where I’d be 30 years down the road, what to do in each situation, and how everything would turn out.
I’ve come to realize that the way I imagined God revealing his plans to me was flawed, and reflects my own insecurities. As humans, we naturally have a very limited scope of the universe and time. God offers a solution to this problem, but it’s not the solution we always expect. Rather than reveal all possible knowledge of the future of our lives and the world, He instead invites us to trust in His goodness and power within our tiny perception.
I’m insecure and often fearful in that I often doubt God’s plans when I don’t know them. In wanting God to show me every single little detail for my future and my call, I failed to fully trust that God will love and guide me, and instead wanted to rely on my own knowledge and strength to live into God’s designs. Here, my fear and insecurity led to a misunderstanding of how God works and speaks.
I’ve had the chance to sit down with the pastors and staff here at Purple Door Church and hear how God has called them and revealed his will in their lives. I’ve seen a couple of patterns come from these stories. One that resonated with me was that God didn’t give a full, detailed plan to these church leaders either. Instead, He invited them to be obedient and respond in small ways. Rather than give an absolute knowledge of everything to come, God revealed himself with a next step, wherever they were in life.
I’ve realized that the discernment process is just that – a process. I’m learning to trust in God’s grace in the small steps I take wherever he guides me next. I may not have a perfect clarity of where I’ll be years down the road, but I do have certainty in God’s goodness and faithfulness towards His people. Not only does this process slowly uncover God’s will, but it increases my faith in Him.
Maybe you find yourself in a similar situation. Don’t allow yourself to be discouraged or fearful when God doesn’t give you a full, clear picture of everything He will do. Instead, trust that He can direct you today. This is not to say that we shouldn’t plan or have some vision for our spiritual walk and ministry, but if we don’t move until we have perfect clarity, we will never move an inch in our spiritual lives. Instead, discern what God would have for you in a next step. We can have confidence in moving forward because we have a God whose plans cannot be thwarted.
Good and upright is the Lord;
therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
He leads the humble in what is right,
and teaches the humble his way.
(Psalm 25:8-9, ESV)