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When the Path to Ministry Is an Obstacle Course

What if the things that seem to get in the way of ministry actually qualify us for it?

Frustration as a Full-time Mom

When Jamie’s PhD was done, he was offered a job teaching in the US, which meant another international move. We’d just started talking about having kids so I was surprised to find that the jetlag which I couldn’t shake turned out to be morning sickness. I loved the idea of being with my kids full-time (and my visa didn’t allow employment anyway), so for the next ten years I was home with my two beautiful kids. It was a choice I wanted, and I saw it as a kind of ministry. At the same time, part of me felt frustrated. There were needs I saw in the church to which I had little opportunity to respond. And, once more, friends said “You’re gifted too. Why are you following your husband all over the world and taking on so much of the housework and child-rearing to support him in his role?”

Once more I had to return to that peace conviction. Now I asked myself: Even if I can’t see it yet, is it possible that the God who makes me long to be with my kids and support my husband is the same God who makes me passionate about his church and mission?

The Career Lie

I didn’t realize it at the time, but we often mistakenly equate calling with career. Career means choosing a job title that we want one day (often as a teen) and pursuing a degree that matches the job title. Then, when we graduate, the only way to be successful is to get that job title we determined for ourselves as teenagers. This is more about shaping our personal brand and making an impressive resume than stepping into calling. And the most dehumanizing thing about this approach is that we have no control over whether or not that perfect job title will be available to us after college—meaning we have no control over whether we’ll reach that goal.

When we take this idea of career and apply it to calling, it does serious damage to our faith. God has little concern for resumes—a story is so much better. And if we feel pressure to name our ideal job title when we’re a teen, what about those jobs which we could never imagine? At 15 I could never have imagined myself in my current role, and yet by following my calling, God shaped me and my life for this role over a 20-year period.

March15, 2018 at 8:00 AM

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