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.
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?"
So 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.