Would you rather lose all of your money and valuables or all of the pictures you have ever taken?
Would you rather the general public think you are a horrible person but your family be very proud of you or your family think you are a horrible person but the general public be very proud of you?
You know the game. Sometimes the questions seem impossible to answer.
The Clergy Edition goes like this:
- Would you rather accept a call that isn’t right or would you rather wait for the right position – maybe for years?
- Would you rather serve a church with more opportunities in a rural area or serve a church with limited opportunities in an urban area?
- Would you rather leave professional ministry to live near loved ones or would you rather serve in a clearly called position that requires you to live away from loved ones?
Decisions become even more difficult when we are talking about holy matters: Life purpose. Calling. The Will of God.
Sometimes people don’t understand why we choose what we choose in terms of our professional/spiritual decisions. If it’s assumed that we will always live near family, it can feel hurtful to them when we accept a call to Chad (unless our family lives in Chad.) If we come from a culture that presumes that each call will involve an ascending move, it will confuse those who wonder why we moved from a 500-member congregation to a 100-member congregation.
The Bible includes countless stories about human beings doing curious things to follow God. I once moved to a rural town of 400, far from family and friends. Another time I traveled to Syria while ISIS was still active on the other end of the country. And now I ponder new possibilities that might make people wonder what’s up. But God moves us to do/be something different.
Exhibit A: A Virgin tells her fiancé she is “with child” from God after embracing an angelic announcement.
Image is Naomi and Her Daughters-in-law by Chagal (1960) It’s the story of Naomi and her sons’ Moabite wives Ruth, and Orpah. Ruth leaves her homeland to move to Judah with Naomi after all the husbands die. It was a surprising but holy choice.
The paradox of following the Divine… and having no path. Just prayers. You have said it beautifully and this resonates deeply and personally. Blessings!