If God gives you something you can do, why in God’s name wouldn’t you do it?
I tend to throw around the word call a fair amount. There were times I believed I was called to a relationship or to eating more vegetables or to slowing down my social media intake. I have experience the call to hike or spend some time gaining perspective or to deny my adult self and play trucks or dolls on the floor. I can say I’ve heard a call to reign in my spending and be more intentional with how I occupy my time. I have also believed I was called to stay home with my kids. I consider these calls each wonderful opportunities to better myself, to regain perspective focusing on the important things.
However, these little “c” calls of mine, while beneficial and welcome and often harmless, cannot hold a candle to the Big “C” Calls. The Big “C” Calls will take your life and flip it upside down and question all the stuff you thought you knew. These Calls will take your comfort and send it flying. They will take your location and make you reexamine your neighborhood and your community and town and state. They will make you reconsider your personal relationships and entitlements and privilege and make you see things that you don’t wanna see.
A Call such as this could take hours of meditation and writing and prayer and hiking and swimming and conversations and tears to tease the whole thing out. This Call will carry implications requiring you to do no less than pick up your mat and walk, in search of your next clue. And sometimes the next clue is a fork in the road, demanding another bout of prayer and discernment and vulnerability to determine the best course. These Calls don’t let up, they pester and poke and prod at ungodly, inconvenient hours. They will not be ignored until something is done to scratch the itch, to appease the urging and relentless voice. Until we find the one next thing, and then the next and the next, like a trail of breadcrumbs on the forest floor, the Call will call and call and call.
Two years ago, I uttered the words aloud, I need to start a church. Two years ago, I uttered the words aloud, I need to start a blog. Two years ago, I uttered the words aloud, I can’t do this anymore, I cannot keep attending churches that don’t get it, that don’t love, that don’t talk about the pressing issues of injustice.
At the time, I’ll be honest, I had no idea what this meant. I just knew something had to change. I just knew I could not keep going to church every Sunday, sucking up my frustration and heartbreak for the souls who could not be safe. I knew I had to leave. I was called. Seemed a bit odd and treacherous, considering how I was raised with church attendance as a non-negotiable. Only fevers, barfing and chicken pox were satisfactory reasons, otherwise, we were present participants.
I am part of planting a church. Tomorrow I get on a plane to Indianapolis, attending the OPEN conference. Tomorrow I’ll take the next step, picking up and examining the next breadcrumb. I am closer to discovering the beauty of the bigger picture, the completed product. I consider this Call one of my greatest desires and finest opportunities for terror and risk and divine partnership, inviting me to trust and suspend assumptions. This Call will not let me go. This Call needs me, I need it.
Answering a Call is not for the weary. This Call thing messes with us, questioning all of our worthiness and talent and commitment and comfort. It pecks away at the assumptions we make, at the comfort we claim, the expectations we hold. This Call thing demands change. It demands we take inventory of our existence, of the carefully crafted lives we love, the ones that have humming refrigerators and multiple televisions and fast internet and feather pillows and warm water. This Call says: Will you trust me? Do you know that I love you? Are you aware of my generosity and abundance? I will provide.
The Call offers a choice.
Do I trust enough in the soul’s quickening to release control of my present circumstances?
Do I trust God to provide, to nurture?
Do I trust the work Eric and I have done in our marriage, in our parenting, to embark on this journey, knowing my absence and distraction will not harm, but will offer new life and opportunity for the whole family?
Do I trust myself, believing my perceived lack is a benefit, an avenue for learning and for greater trust and surrender?
I am thrilled to have this opportunity, considering this Call to plant a Just and Generous church one of my life’s greatest joys. I want to be at the forefront of bringing relief to the world’s weary travelers, to offer life and hope and communion to all. I’m grateful the Call did not quiet and shrink away, for in this work I get to discover the beauty and glory of a life lived seeking, questioning, hoping, waiting, realizing.
How about you? Where are you feeling called or Called? Please know you’re in good company.