Sep 22, 2005

the call

So... I made the call today.

A very bittersweet call.

For all the years I've been serving in student ministry I've had this pipe dream in the back of my head. "I wonder if I might ever be on staff at ___________ and get the chance to work with others in helping students walk in the transforming love of Jesus Christ."

Ironically, this is the role I’ve been interviewing for over this summer. I've been in the process of pursuing that dream, getting closer and closer to it becoming a reality. My wife and I even visited this past weekend and things looked good... REAL good. The church was real enthusiastic about us, too, from staff conversations, volunteer dialogue, and elder interviews.

We were rounding third and heading for home.

Home.
Having a place to do life together again. Not having to share space with relatives but being able to run free around a house with everyone screaming loudly. Being able to get our dog back again (since the modular home neighborhood we currently live in doesn't allow pets). Having a ministry that is groomed around my strengths, supported in my weaknesses by staff, and respects me for who I am (and not just for what I bring to the organization).

Home... I could touch it.

And yet... I'm an idiot.
I started to ask God why I didn't have a peace about it... why my wife didn't have a peace about it. Not that having a "peace" is what Christians are called to, but you know what I mean - a sense of confidence in the opportunity. After all, who in their right mind wouldn't want to work at ___________? Not to mention the fact that I'm unemployed and we're living off of a meager savings account right now.

"Just shut up and take the job," we told ourselves.

And yet the unrest continued.

What was wrong with this picture? On one hand, I couldn't pass the opportunity up because deep down I'd always wonder, "What if...?" But if I took the role in spite of the unrest, I'd wonder if it was the right choice or if there was another "what if..." out there.

Was I "called" to this?

And what is a "call" anyway?

So like an idiot, I didn't jump at the offer but instead committed to pray about it. My wife and I spent 48 hours seeking God out for some definitive direction. And oddly enough, He seemed strangely silent.

Last night it all came to a head, though, as we talked into the night. Determined to clarify whether or not God was calling us to this ministry, we spent a lot energy trying to understand what His quietness meant. Was He saying no (and we didn’t want to admit it) or were we genuinely just confused? I have to admit it was a longer talk than either of us anticipated, and we ended up all over the map on it.

Then... a moment of clarity.

I was struggling with the fact that on paper this role "made sense." I could literally see myself in it, doing well, advancing the Kingdom, and having fun serving God. Not to mention that in many ways it’s been my dream job... "the biggest and best" ideal I've worked up in my head of what a healthy and growing ministry could look like.

Fueled by this paradigm, I said something to my wife like, "I just don't get it. Everything about this position is groomed for me."

Then my wife blurted out something profound. "But not for your family." She didn't even think about it - the words just came out.

And this was our "holy cow" moment. For the first time I realized that everything about this role made sense to me and who I am. But I’m not alone... I am blessed with an incredible family who is my first and most important "ministry." While this opportunity seemed like a dream role for me, I live in the pursuit of a much bigger dream that involves a godly woman and two amazing little boys (plus a very neurotic dog).

But really, it was something even more than that.

Sometimes God gives us our dream as if to ask, "I'll give you this, but I have a much bigger dream for you than that. Would you like to settle or wait?"

Myles familySo we had a nice "Little House On The Prairie" moment where I said something like, "Wow. It's a no-brainer now. The answer is no... and no regrets, either. ___________ may be my dream job, but you and the boys are a dream God has given me that trumps that."

Besides Jesus Christ Himself, two things bring passion to my heart… the blooming health and faith of my family, and the future of the Church... in that order. I have no desire for the amazing people in my household to become something they’re not in order for me to have my golden calf.

So I made the phone call today and shared the news with the pastor. Actually… I should call him a friend, because he and his team are incredible Christ-lovers and have spoiled us with dignity, compassion, concern, opportunity, and prayers. I have nothing but great things to say about this process and the relationships we have formed. (That’s one of the beauties of heaven… while I don’t get to hang out with them much on earth we get all of eternity to groove together.)

So where does that leave us?

No job… still. And yet we all have smiles on our faces. We're excited (again) to see how God puts my passions together in a mighty way... however long (or short) it takes.

21 comments:

Royal said...

Hey Tony,

I have been married for 26 years. I learned early, unfortunately not quite early enough, to ask God to verify His calling for me through my wife. I know there are plenty of guys who would disagree with that. God has given me peace through that process. He has blessed me with a very intelligent wife who has an intuition that is sometimes scarey. And my wife has supported or felt good about moves or opportunities that I thought there would be no way.

I think you did good. God is going to bless you with something beyond your wildest dreams (Eph. 3:20) because of your obedience and the honoring of your wife and family.

I know many pastors who have destroyed their marriages in the name of ministry.

That is so wrong.

God Bless Bro...
Royal

DangerMouse said...

good call.. sounds like God was being silent so you could be true to what you really felt underneath.. if he'd been chattering you wouldn't have heard the voice of your deepest self.. ;o) DM

Jamie said...

I pray that God would lead you to the right job for you at His right time. Answering the call is never easy and turning away a dream job is even harder. That is something that I would struggle with. As a Pastors wife (in two years) I hope to be able to have a discerning role in his calls as well. Way to stand up for your family. That means so much. Blessings...

bobbie said...

wow - tears - honest tears - it's so strange to hear out story in another's voice.

we have been through such a similar thing, unforuntately liam was working at the church at the time - but the sacrifices they wanted him to make would have been me and the kids.

he said no and they had him out the door - sacrifice your family for us - or we'll sacrifice you... doesn't sound like we're serving god anymore are we - sounds more like ba'al to me sometimes. what in the name of the true god would cause a place that says they serve him to require a man to trade his own family to 'save' other peoples?

your wife and boys will be blessed by your choice as i know we are by liam's. it's a hard road to choose, but we know we are in the center of exactly where god wants us to be.

thanks for stopping by my blog - i'll definately have to watch for you in that bon jovi video! you'll be in our prayers!

DJG said...

Thanks for sharing this. I think we all need to remember our career/life choices not only affect us...but our entire family. Too often I have been selfish and forgotten this.

Sean said...

Not another meaningless f.y.i. my friend. Good stuff. Fortunetly, God was smart enough to give us...godly women. Cuz' if he didn't who knows what stupid stuff we'd be doing!
Sean

Bar Bar A said...

Wow, Tony, what an awesome turn of events! You can rest now knowing you are doing what's best for you and the Fam. I know how God is...I betcha He'll turn around and bless your socks off with a fabulous job that meets your families needs and allows you to have a powerful ministry as well!!

Marcia said...

"Bittersweet"...yeah.

My husband was in a similar position a few years ago. Dream job...his if he wanted it...but no sense of rest in his soul, so he turned them down.

I know the "waiting time" is hard, especially with little people depending on us for their needs. As my kids are becoming adults, though, it's wonderful to see how they have watched and learned the lessons about following God wholeheartedly and trusting His provision. They were watching, even when we didn't think so!

Anyway, all this to say, stand strong, I'll be praying for you guys--God is faithful!

'neice said...

Wow, Tony! That is so awesome! Sounds kind of funny doesn't it. You said no...woo hoo! But it is so like that! As I am mulling over a possibility in my own little church and seeking God's will...I know a yes will mean getting out of my mother's and back on my own...but will it be best?

Thank you so much for sharing this!!!

curious servant said...

It is so easy to ignore the quiet "no" while we strain to hear a "yes". God bless you. God has blessed you.

Thank you for an interesting, open, thoughtful post.

Christi S. King said...

Great post, Tony!

It’s so hard to be patient and wait on an answer from God, but that “moment of clarity” always makes it worth it. And it makes patience a little easier the next time. :)

You have a beautiful family and made the right choice.

Christi

Todd Porter said...

sorry, to hear that you are still looking, but happy to hear that you are right where God wants you. still praying for you! i know the feeling having told a church "no" recently myself, but His will, His place and the place for my family are much more important.

jeff said...

Tony,

Awesome post. My wife and I went through similar steps of faith last year when she came home from work to raise our kids, instead of getting a job and putting our son in daycare.

We knew the leading of God, but we saw no answer in sight. So we leaped, and God caught us, and has never let us down.

I'm excited to hear how God moves, as a result of your obedience.

Blessings.

Tony Myles said...

Wow... everyone - seriously... THANK YOU for your affirming comments and prayers. Your encouragement is invaluable today and in the days to come.

Scrammy said...

The more the patience, faith and trust you have... the better it's gonna be when the time is right... hehehe iz is excited for what's comin' ;) I'm prayin w/o ceasin' brother.

-Justin- said...

Tony, thanks for sharing that, it was something I really needed to read and to think about. The fact that it is no longer "my ministry" or "my calling" once I got married is so true. I know Jesus has something even better in the works for you. I am excited to follow your journey.

John Mark said...

Thanks for sharing this, Tony. Sometimes you start reading something like this and expect a "happy ending" at the end, but it's good to realize the "no" answers from God count just as much as the "yeses," and frequently more so. This is the kind of reminder I really need in my life sometimes. Thanks again!

wilsonian said...

"Sometimes you gotta create what you want to be part of." --Geri Weitzman

Tony Myles said...

Hmm...

Bruce said...

hey everyone else has already said it, but thanks for putting this down.

I'm feeling for you as I've been in the place of "what now Lord?" and to be honest at the time it's terrible.

But God has his purpose in it all for you and your family, I'm confident of that.

Kevin said...

Tony

I too have had a similar experience. Thanks for the words of clarity that for the last 3 years I have not been able to say! My girls were in High School and we could have moved to the "beach" closer to the border and doing what I felt fit me. I am soooo glad we waited. Both girls had a great finish to their high school years and now are serving in our church ministering to Junior and Senior Highers!