be careful, your future’s at stake

I doubt that Joy has any memory of the conversation – which likely is a sign of a  good campus minister. I was in no shape or form easy to work with, my guess. Obstinate. Opinionated. Unwilling to believe that God would “call” – rhetoric that I struggled with so often (truth be told, I still do, and even more so now, as my roommate would attest).

She kept trying to get me to apply for a job with her organization – and I kept laughing in her face. My guess is that she rolled her eyes (inside her head of course, not visible to me). I never told her that when I was moving to college, in the car on the drive on I-79 with my mother, I said, “I’m not going into medicine, and I’m not going into public relations. I think God is calling me to ministry.” The unspoken words were “and I really don’t like this thought.” When my mother, STUNNED, heard me say it, she looked at me and said, “doing?”

“Campus Ministry.”

The irony bleeds here – I had no idea what that meant. I had had not even one day of a collegiate experience, and yet I was confident I would be in college ministry. Flash forward 3 years, and I’m telling my boyfriend that I refuse to go into pastoral ministry, it’s too frustrating an idea, and I’m going to work in public relations. Hearty laughter.

5 months later, I’m in a conversation with one of my best friends and I say, “you know how I hate youth ministry? Uh, I think that’s what I’m going to end up doing.” She said, “duh.”

I have this unfortunate and obnoxious habit of having to bite my tongue often with God. Perhaps it’s because God likes slapping me in the face. Or perhaps, whatever this concept of discernment is I have a habit of hating. Or not trusting – at all. (Read: both).

When convinced that I was doing youth ministry for the rest of my adult life, teaching perhaps, or in the very least, speaking and writing, I had determined that in no way, shape or form would I ever consider doing college ministry again.

Those who know me well will feverishly nod their heads up and down when I make my next statement: the last year of my life has been extremely difficult. I could go on with all the problems/challenges/heartaches/stressors.  My plans appear somewhat shattered. I’ve spoken to few of the people who could actually speak into my troubles, in part because of my fear of being told I’m not intelligent, able or desirable enough to do what I’ve dreamt of for six-plus years. Certainly some of my friends of whom I’ve revealed these dreams are encouraging – but truth be told, I don’t know how much I trust the encouragers, though I certainly affirm the non-words of the voiceless or non-confirmands.

During my internship, one of our main goals surrounded discernment. Again, a concept I have little trust in anymore. I tried to hang tough and often would have preferred to say the “right” answer to my actual thoughts: that this perpetual game of BS should end. But I didn’t and found myself at the end of my internship so broken, hopeless and confused, that researching management positions or degrees in educational or organization leadership were more appealing than “ministry” jobs. Perpetual degrees in a variety of fields would probably surmize my life, I’d determined.

In the last 4 months, I’d given up on every dream, hope or promise I thought were mutual of mine and God’s – this “call” was not shared, but a futile hope for a foolish woman.

I can’t explain precisely when, but I’ve started to ask questions of myself recently – I’m sure some have been so deeply rooted that I’m not fully conscious of all the questions, but 3 weeks ago I asked a friend if he would discuss w/ me a ministry. I’ve been in a world of trying to figure out if I can at least narrow down my life to perhaps a profession, a region or an environment. Even to eliminate would be helpful.

I find myself brought back to Dr. Na’s office my sr. year of college, crying that, I didn’t want to do pastoral ministry, I could do any number of jobs and doing them with excellence and commendation. And his response, “uh huh. but what is God calling you to do.” I was mad then. And still today, maybe. About 8 hours ago even, I uttered that I wanted a mulligan. I wanted to redo financial, professional, and academic decisions – not all major, but enough to make this life a bit different than it sits presently.

And like many of those rather extremely inopportunely timed “ah-ha” moments that have been presented in my life in the last 27 years, this critic may have had one of my hoped-for, yet un-trusting moments this early morning. I can’t get into it right now – I need much more processing, conversations, questions, and prayer. I know I am a poor representative of what “prayer” even looks like in a person’s life – a seminarian, no less. But if you happen to have made it all the way through this Jerry Maguire-like manifesto mission statement, feel free to throw a prayer or two there for me, eh?

musical seatsCabin

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everything has changed

changes are good.

hard.

(un)welcomed.

work.

it begins.

william fitzsimmons – everything has changed

all I care is that you reach for me

libby wants:

– debt to not exist
– friendships to be reinstated
– life to begin again around 2003
– to sleep w/o nightmares about homework not being completed
– a functioning car
– gas prices to drop
– a plan
– a summer job
– lots more laughter again
– to talk again

And you???

Last Time – Paper Route

have you fallen asleep

Yesterday was NOT the day to be a Cleveland sports fan. As I learned early in my childhood, ’tis better to root for the team opposing a Cleveland sports team than in reverse. The reality? When more than one team plays on the same day, both teams cannot win. Today = case in point. Both teams lost in OT. SERIOUSLY!?

have you fallen asleep – Paper Route

I need you now…more than ever before

I keep trying to imagine what life could be like sans the incredible amount of stress I seem to be carrying lately. I think often of the words “world beneath” and how it is not only our adolescent community which is living in such a way, but also we adults. We hide from one another, from our closest of communities about parts of our story. I feel foolish in saying it, but I know I cannot be alone. I pray I am, if only in the fear that others live as I do.

Sometimes the line of hope deferred and hope realized is implausibly seen – a vanished line in which I can only hope to trip over in the near future. Dear God, soon please.

Dance on Our Graves – Paper Route

but i don’t know how to fight

I’ve had quite a large number of conversations in recent weeks about personality types, calling, discernment, vocation and of course, future. Being the person I am, I always am thinking about those kinds of questions, particularly about the future. I find it rather demotivating when I don’t know “what’s next” and have no way to prepare for it.

The last few months have been nothing short of completely opposite what my expectations. While I would generally say my success rate teeters around 70%, this year I’m toying with accuracy around a marginal 30%. Such is life.

What I’m doing, where I’m doing it, why I”m doing it… these questions baffle me.

Soldier – Angus and Julia Stone

one step forward, two steps back

Those of you who know me in Los Angeles know that one of the various hats I wear while in grad school is as a math tutor. Yes, I am a math tutor slash geek. So you may wonder a few things.

1) What was your undergrad degree in?
2) Have you always been really good at math?
3) Do you have any formal training in teaching? Or even training in math?

Thankfully, these answers are pretty easy for me.

1) Christian education, public relations and Spanish. Yes, I’ve got the humanities wrapped up in a little box. But that does not include a science there, eh? No.

2) Maybe. I mean, good? Sure. Excellent? Ha, I hope? There was that day that Lynette and I were called into the guidance counselor’s office our junior year to be told that Mr. Laska was wanting us both to take AP Calc instead of regular Calc? (I didn’t, it required two math courses, and I needed my elective for my 5th year of Spanish/3rd yr of French). I was a Geometry tutor for Mr. Laska while I took it in 10th grade, of course. That was my first official income aside from babysitting and the motivating factor for getting a bank account, actually. That good ol’ MAC card. So, yes, perhaps I am a bit of a math nerd.

A random sidenote: it was during tutoring Geometry in high school that I was told that I might actually be kinda cool if I would just get drunk with their friends. They literally said, “I bet we’d be your friend if you would get drunk with us. You’re not that weird after all.” AWESOME.

3) Um, deceiving as my degree may be, I have little formal training in public education, unless you count the worthless educational psychology class I had my senior year second semester. The class I loved. Yeah. As for training in math? Silence speaks, right?

So my job tutoring is that I hang out with a bunch of students (a lot of girls) and convince them that math isn’t the worst thing in the world. In fact, one of my students now is telling me “math is great.” Granted, I have somewhat forced her into saying this as a way to make her laugh back when finals occured first semester and she’d given up. I told her I didn’t care if she didn’t learn a single math fact, as long as by the end of the year she could tell me that math was “great”! Two weeks ago her mom said to me, “you know, she actually is starting to like math? How’d you do that?” And did I mention she’s also learning exponentially? Education shouldn’t be scary.

Where did this math love come from, you ask? Yeah, great question. I think it may have started from my favorite PBS show as a preschooler.  Square One anyone? I tell you, when I was 4 years old I learned this song and I have NEVER forgotten the lyrics.

Nine Nine Nine
Fantastic number 9
It’s perfectly consistent
It works out every time
Nine Nine Nine
That crazy number 9
Times any number you can find
it all comes back to Nine

2 x 9 is 18
8 and 1 is nine
3 x 9 is 27
7 and 2 is nine

I just noticed on one of the websites that Square One’s target audience was 8-12 year olds. Funny. I was 4 when I was addicted. So yeah, maybe I am a wee bit of a math nerd. But creating more math nerds in the world? Removing fear of math? Yeah, that works for me.