It is really hard not to use Christianese, terminology and phrasing specific to the Christian culture, when you have been running in Christian circles for so long. The only word I know for what I want to communicate is the concept of being â€œcalledâ€?. Being called is what one is called to do and be by God, kind of your purpose and reason for being. Come to think of it, the term â€˜callingâ€™ is not unknown to the post-Christian culture. I have heard it used by people in non-profits and social work as a reason for doing what they do. Still, when I think of the term â€˜callingâ€™ I think of a concept that is very religious or spiritual in nature, if not specifically Christian, that many do not understand.
All that is not the reason for this post though, other then to say that I have been thinking about Godâ€™s â€˜callâ€™ on my life. What is the reason and purpose for me being here? This is a question that I feel I can answer with some level of confidence, yet I never do when posed the question. See, I think that I have a pretty good bead on the work that God has for me to do in His kingdom, it is just that I feel so far away from that person that I need to be to in order to do what I am â€˜calledâ€™ to that I do not think I am that person yet.
This was pointed out to me in no uncertain terms yesterday, and it pissed me off. I am more mad at myself then anything else. What am I waiting for? I have known for some years the direction my life needs to go to fulfill this â€˜callâ€™ on my life, but yet I hesitate to commit myself to this path.
The answer is fear I am afraid :). I have a huge fear of failure and of not being accepted that in some ways it has kept me chained to a place in my life that I do not want to be. Maybe you do not know what is like to be scared into inaction. It does not feel so much like fear I think, rather you feel numb and tired. It is kind of like a bug bite, you do not feel the bite so much as the itch that is your bodyâ€™s response to it.
When I think of the task before me, I would rather sleep or watch movie or something, anything other then what I must do. It is almost a paralyzing way of interacting with the world but I have been able to get by pretty well none-the-less. Did I mention hating just getting by. I am not without hope though, it is impossible for me to believe that God has put this â€˜callâ€™ in my life and not also started me down the road of change necessary to become a person that can fulfill that â€˜callâ€™.
In truth I do not really ever want to feel like I am qualified for my â€˜callingâ€™ because in that I can see a sense of security and superiority that leads to complacency and self-dependence. The tension between my inability and the service I am â€˜calledâ€™ to is the, potentially, perfect recipe for dependence on God and His sufficiencyâ€¦ but that is another story for another day.
So, what am I â€˜calledâ€™ to? You know that when you speak something forth, it takes a certain unexplainable hold on reality. It is the nature of being created in the image of God that our words have the power to created or destroy, and am just not ready to create or destroy this â€˜callingâ€™ yet. So I will do something uncharacteristic and hold my tongue on this question.
Two blogs that have got me thinking about preparedness vs. God sufficiency:
Judy by Gordon Atkinson at Real Live Preacher
â€œYou know about that deacon thing, how I was nominated and all?â€?
â€œWell, I was gonna say ‘No.’ I thought about it a lot, and I decided that I just wasnâ€™t worthy of something like that. I mean, I just finally stopped smoking, and I still cuss sometimes. Iâ€™m trying to do better with that.â€?
I opened my mouth to say something, but she continued before I could get a word out.
â€œBut then I read your book.” She began to smile. “And I thought, dang, if this guy can be the PASTOR of the church, surely I could be a deacon or something.â€?
Legalism by any other name is… by Scot McKnight at Jesus Creed
Instead of using “legalism,” which has become a bogey word for bogey opponents for each of us, why not shift this term to “covenant path markers” so we can get a fresh start on a genuinely serious problem we all face?
Here’s what covenant path markers do (and now I begin to extrapolate from Holmen’s study): first, they quantify covenant faithfulness into behavior that can be measured and seen; second, they enable us to “judge ourselves” on whether or not we are faithful; and third, they enable us to judge others on whether or not the others are faithful.
Legalism, aka covenant path marking, is a vicious form of life: instead of living faithfully, we are judging faithfulness. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for covenant faithfulness.)