05 February 2011

Not living out one's calling

I remember there being a bit of a joke in Seminary about how becoming a pastor was something you did only after it was obvious that there was no way you could avoid doing it. The idea behind the joke had to do with the idea that being a pastor wasn't just something one did because you thought it'd be interesting or fulfilling - it was a calling. Unless you had the sense that this is definitely what God was asking of you, it wasn't worth the likely suffering, the demands, and the challenges.

Sometimes I feel the same way about community life. 'Run away from it!' seems like good advice. I do believe that all of us are designed to live in some kind of community - but for most of us that calling is within a church, friend-group or family setting, with limited people really close to us - and many of whom are fairly similar to us. The kind of intense community where one attemps to live, worship and work with people different from oneself and stand open for new people and lots of changes - to be part of this kind of community long-term has to be a calling. In any relationship it is hard enough to take on the challenges of listening well, working through problems together, and loving the other persons for who they are and not just who we want them to be. But in a setting where people are more different from us and not family, these challenges increase significantly - and to have the strength and courage to do this takes a lot of help from God mixed amongst a sense that this is how one can best glorify God.

I feel called to this kind of community. My delight in it and my desire to face the challenges well and glorify God in what I do comes through in numerous entries on this blog. And this calling has been confirmed by others around me.

But what happens when one doesn't live in community? When circumstances make it so that, at this moment, I'm not sure how best to live out this calling?
And I have no answer to these disconcerting questions. It is perhaps not so surprising then that my life feels off-balance at the moment.

No comments: