When I was a pastor, it was easy for me to feel close to God.
I was immersed in the work of the church: administration, budgets, coordinating and planning activities, sitting in on meetings. I was a CEO in practice in many ways, and for me it varied between drudgery and fulfillment.
But of course I was also immersed in spiritual work: Bible study, prayer, writing liturgy and sermons, connecting the story of the wider world to God’s story, and encouraging others to connect their own stories to God’s story as well. And while doing all of that, I had plenty of opportunity to reflect on my own part in that story, too.
In my current role I have also had opportunity for that, but it hasn’t taken the same shape. Just as I’ve long discerned, I get to work alongside conference staff, ministers, and churches in their work, partnering with them in continuing to connect people’s stories with God’s.
I must confess that my own spiritual journey has depended on my own resolve in a way it didn’t in years prior. Naming such connection was more built in to my weekly routine, such that I didn’t need to be as mindful because it just happened. The field would be tilled, seeded, fertilized, and harvested through the natural rhythm of the seasons.
Now I need to remind myself what season we’re in; my work doesn’t do it for me like it used to. I confess that I’ve considered returning to local church ministry just so I’d have those built-in reminders again, but I know that this is not the answer. What I’ve really needed in this new chapter is to learn how to forge a connection between stories with greater awareness and intention.
The answer is not to rest discipleship with vocation, but to learn how the former may persist no matter where the latter goes.
And with that learning comes peace.
If you enjoyed this reflection, check out my new Advent ebook, Four Weeks: Reflections for Advent.