When I started doing this thing, I would occasionally write my responses to the questions in Called to Lead – God’s Call, Your Vocation by the Rev. Paul Baglyos. I was seldom serious and it’s possible that I was downright disrespectful on one or three occasions. Then I stopped referring to it at all. I never really thought it was very useful. It could be very helpful for some people who know they wanna plug into ELCA leadership somehow, but ain’t sure if they wanna be a pastor or deacon or teach Sunday school, but I knew from the start what I was doing – not because I generally know what I’m doing, but because God told me what to do. That kinda statement will cause some people to look at you like you’re crazy. That’s because some crazy people think that God told them to do the crazy things they did which they got famous for doing. Actually, most crazy people don’t think that God is telling them to do things. But some do and that creates a situation wherein people think that they might be crazy if they think that God is telling them to do something so they don’t do it and they don’t trust anybody who says that God told them to do something.
There are ways to tell if God told you to do something. Right off, ask yourself if the thing you think God told you to do is harmful to anyone. If you think God told you to kill people and write on the walls with their blood, you are crazy. God did not tell you to do that. If, on the other hand, God told you to be of service to His Lutheran church – or one of His other churches – then that might actually be God telling you to do something. That is the kinda stuff God tells people to do. Certainly, God might tell someone to be of service to His Lutheran church and they might assume He means be a pastor when He actually means be a counselor at Lutheran youth camp – that’s where something like Called to Lead might be useful. In my case, God told me to be a Lutheran pastor. He was pretty clear. I played along with Called to Lead for a while, though it really didn’t seem to be applicable, because I was aware that I might’ve misunderstood, but I never really thought that. I was pretty sure all along that I was headed for pasturage or whatever. And it seems to be working out. I’ve just barely started the process, but it’s happening. The next part of knowing if the thing you think God told you to do is actually what He told you to do is doing it and seeing if it works out. If God wants you to do something, He’ll make it possible. If you’re trying to do something and it keeps being impossible, don’t do that thing. You do have to keep at it for a while though. Can’t give up at the first obstacle.
One day, I was here in the office at work and I had a handful of tax records and I remembered that we have a paper shredder and I thought “Oh – that’s what you do with old tax records” so I turned on the shredder and it was kinda fun feeding the papers into it, so I looked around for some other papers to shred and I had my copy of Called to Lead right there, so I shredded it. That’s what happened to it. I never said I was particularly smart or mature.
But I am pretty bull-headed once something gets in my brain. I will plow on ahead with something until I either achieve the goal or become thoroughly concussed. I’ve had to learn to recognize when I’m bashing against an immovable object – that hain’t happened yet with the whole become-a-pastor thing. In fact, the obstacles I’ve encountered have only made it more obvious that the work is what I’m s’posed to be doing.
I can’t sustain a fight without conviction. I just don’t care enough. I was never able to make myself work extra hours just to have money. now I’m trying to accumulate funds for a house where I will be able to live and write and escape from the world and give my daughter her own room which she can paint any color she wants and that’s tangible enough that I can do it. I wasn’t able to re-enter college for the long slog of getting a Bachelor’s degree until God told me to become a pastor and I found out that I had to get colleged up to do it. Having a worthy goal matters. For some people, money is it. I just ain’t like that.
So. In conclusion, have a goal. Do what God says. Don’t kill people. Use the workbook they give you if it matters at all.