It’s been 22 months since I started interviewing for a pastoral position in area churches and ministries. It’s been 22 months since I looked to the church to validate my call to ministry.
Twenty-two months later, I am beginning to discover that I must die to the thought that the church proclaims my worth before I can be worthy. That’s how the system works; I am not ordained a “Pastor” until a church (or ministry) offers me a job… er… I mean extends me a call that confirms I am a pastor.
Then, why do I feel like a pastor? Why don’t they see this in me and hire me? Am I not worthy?
I can see where this way of thinking is taking me and it’s not a good place. Just imagine, today the church says I am worthy but tomorrow I will likely be a disappointment. I’ll have lost my worth, like yesterday’s gossip. Oh, they will have good reason for my dip in value – knowing me, it will probably be that I didn’t stay on the safe, obedient course laid out for me ~ because I didn’t stay “contained”. In the post-disappointing tomorrow, I will question my call and my worth again, wondering if what they see lacking in me is a problem of me being truly found wanting or them being blinded by the preservation of their comfort. Either way, I lose.
Dying hurts ~ the woman I thought I was is now just a shriveling shadow of her. I no longer engage with hope; I don’t want to because unrealized hope robs me of entire ‘lives’ that will never be lived. That’s a lot to lose. But, without hope, I have become a desperate woman. A wilting woman. A woman crumbling and, as hard as it is to say, a woman dying to the multiple dreams she once thought truly possible.
Shit. This sucks. It really sucks.
For what its worth, there is a very tiny, tiny, tiny part of me that is comforted in my journey of dying. It is this: Resurrection can only come from after death.
This invites me to a different kind of hope ~ it’s not a hope based on what is realistically possible. It’s a hope based in the miracle of the resurrection. It’s a hope where I, you, we could never go but for the death of Christ. It’s a hope that comes from death and a place that takes believing.
Like Fairyland, Wonderland, and Never-Neverland, we are expected to grow out of this type of thinking. So, the thought of a resurrected life seems like childhood fantasy. But, desperate times call for desperate measures, so I believe with faith like a child that I’m headed to Resurrectionland.
In Resurrectionland, I will be who God made me to be no matter where I am, whether I be in a church or on the street. In Resurrectionland, the mere fact that I am standing will be a testimony to God’s irresistible grace. In Resurrectionland, death isn’t a threat because I’ve already died … and lived through it! In Resurrectionland, I will stand with my shoulders back, my chin up, and my chest out in front of me; I will let my womanhood be the first thing that others see, and the part of me I am most proud of. In Resurrectionland, whether the people in power affirm me or not doesn’t matter one bit, because my life doesn’t depend on their approval – it depends on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
All this is to say, I am dying a little more each day. But, because God is the one who called me to this, it’s the kind of dying that will bring new life. Only then, after death, can I be who God has made me to be for a world dying to know Him.