Integrity is choosing courage over comfort; choosing what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them.
The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable.
I find myself in The Messy Middle.
God calls each of us, I believe, but I do not believe that God necessarily has a specific call in mind every time we need to make a decision. Am I called to serve First Church on the Hill or Christ Church in the Valley? It could be that one of those choices is The One. Or it could be that God could use me well in either setting. The point is that I remain attuned to God in all things.
Are you called to fulfill your passion for painting? Or are you called to develop a passion from the situation at hand – whatever that situation might be? And then you’ll get to paint.
This article from The Washington Post speaks to the quandary of pursing one’s passion – that rather (misleading) American thing we tell our kids. The German word for “passion” is leidenschaft which literally refers to resilience. In Polish, the word is cierpienie which refers to suffering. Called to suffer doesn’t sound nearly as much fun as called to follow our bliss, does it?
I’ve been called to serve two congregations of churches and one “mid-council” of a denomination. I’ve been lucky. It’s been clear.
So what if one’s calling is not so clear? Questions to ask ourselves:
- Can we talk ourselves into “feeling called”? (yes)
- Is a call supposed to feel “right” or is it supposed to feel a little scary? (yes and yes)
- How do we discern God’s will for us? (your guess is as good as mine)
There is prayer. There is the gut check. There is the pros and cons list. Long walks help. Wise council helps. Reading Rising Strong helps except when it doesn’t.
In the final analysis, if there is such a thing as following a specific call, I wonder if “it doesn’t matter” is the answer. God uses whatever choice we make.
It’s just that some choices are so much more efficient than others. Making a choice that leads to 40 years of wandering in the wilderness sounds exhausting. And yet what if that messy middle – the wandering- is exactly the point?
On this glorious fall day, I’d love to hear about your call. Does God feel near or far away? Does your current purpose in life feel courageous or comfortable? Are we practicing what we value? Or are we spending our days doing what’s fun, fast, and easy? Discerning minds want to know.