Wednesday, February 2, 2011

snowed in: wrestling with my calling

Lately I have been feeling nervous about this new phase of youth ministry. I have a group of questions circling like vultures in my head, waiting for me to fail or to succeed. Either provides fodder for their violence. "Who are you to lead anyone else in youth ministry? especially when they are older and wiser than you?" "Why should anyone listen to what you have to say about how to lead a small group? about facilitating discussion? about mentoring teenagers?" "Can I really do this?" In short, I am questioning my voice, my confidnece, my giftedness. I am expecting myself to have amazing, earth-shattering answers. I feel embarassed about this. I know consciously that it is not a realistic expectation and that it comes from sin that lives in me, but I can't seem to avoid the expectations in my head. I am wrestling with the weight of leadership.
Until today I have been doing a great job of covering up my insecurities by planning, praying, doing. Today I am stuck in my house with my questions. When Nathan asked me to be involed in this, I came to the conlcusion that I can't not do it. In his words, I need to be faithful to the calling that God has placed in front of me to use my gifts, passions, education and talents in the task that I have been called to do. And this is it. I know in my gut and my soul that this is where I need to be right now. I can't not. I can't not use the information in my head from my capstone about how youth minsitry needs are shifting and, and I can't not use my gifts of listening, encouraging, and equipping those who are also laboring in youth ministry. I can't not act on my own change of heart.
Through my capstone project, I have become convinced that I have made fundamental mistakes in my approach to youth ministry. Most particularly, I bought into an idea that it is unwise to share the ugly, messy, wrestling, angsty truth of my own spirutual life. I can be honest, but honesty and vulnerability are two very different things. I can and have informed others of my current and past struggles, but vulnerability means that I show up behind that information. It means that if I tell you that I am afraid, insecure egotistical, and slightly neurotic about what I am cable of in ministry, that you might not want to listen to what I have to say. Vulnerability in ministry means that you might walk away after reading this post. And I think that it is the best place to be. Because if I am here, vulnerable with you about my weakness, then I am in desperate need of grace. I was always in desperate need of grace, but being vulnerable with you means that I have to come face to face with my own need. I need Jesus in these areas. I can go through the tasks of ministry without Him, but it means nothing. I want to move forward from here- a point of exposure.

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