I'm a little cranky today. I've heard a couple of friends who are recent seminary grads complain about their debt and their difficulties in ministry. I appreciate the reality of these issues, but when they move from discussing it as a personal issue to "don't you agree that these are problems for all those going into ministry" universals. I want to throw them under a fundamentalist bus...or better yet ON ONE!
My experiences have hardships of their own, but through them I am the minister I am today. Does that mean that I missed out on certain things at early ages? Yes! I rarely had the money to go out with friends in college because I was paying my own way through it, likewise in Seminary I had both an unpaid internship and a paying "secular" job so I could pay my way through there as well. These are not BAD THINGS that happened to me along my journey, but choices I made because I felt a call towards my passion daily.
We all make choices, they all have consequences, and all choices I have ever made had a downside of some sort. I don't though regret them, they made me who I am, and THAT is what is important. This moment is what is important. How we get somewhere influences things, and how we view the world beyond this moment is essential to consider, but what we do "at this moment" is all we can actually control.
It's an obvious concept, but also an odd one. We've spent much of our lives thinking of time as this constant, this ticking of seconds. Yet that is just how we relate to it, a construct created so we feel more in control. Yet, we're not in control of anything but this moment, and even there all we really control is what we do. We don't control what happens afterward, we don't know the effects of our actions. Our understanding of time influences our decisions every day, but should it?
What if we just did the best we can for God in each moment, took the risks, put our own needs secondary? What if we didn't worry so much about our futures, and focused on God's now? I dunno what would happen. I'm not completely sure if that's the call. I do though know that the world happens much faster and much slower than we're able to experience it and that there is more to this world that what affects me.
With that in mind I look at my choices for this moment, knowing that I continue to be influenced by past choices, knowing that what choice I make now will affect not just my future but all of time. Yet, I am free to make that choice because God is still in control. So the question is not a matter of past or present or how we got here or where we're going, but rather the question is: What does it look like to be faithful? Constantly discerning.