In the past few weeks and months I have spent many hours, praying and meditating on call: my call, my sense of something new coming… just round the corner. Still intangible, undefined, ineffable (I love that word, and its use in Good Omens made me laugh out loud) – this call I have responded to over the years, moving me from one end of the country to another; from one career to another. That sense of response, that moves us.
As I have reflected, any blog post or article that might be concerned with change, movement, managing changes, discerning call has immediately leapt out, and been consumed eagerly, in the hope that I will see a spark that ignites a New Thing… and so, dear reader, there may be a thread in this week’s trawl of goodies for you to explore.
Whittling things down has been tricky, but in choosing a theme there was a little self-selection, so some other, really good blogs I read have been left behind for today.
Change: yeah, change. It is one of those things we all know we need sometimes, but are also very reluctant to embrace fully. I have referred you to Sandpiper’s Thoughts before, and this blog post Change is recommended “I think we have all experienced stubbornness – our own unwillingness to let go of an idea or belief, even to the point of ridiculousness.”, ah, yes. To really want to change we must, indeed, come face to face with our own stubbornness.
Accepting that we need to change is the first step; next come recognising what it is we are changing, and for me recognising When a Calling is no Longer Yours sums up much of my reflecting. Jeffrey Nelson reflects on the temptation to be so sacrificial in our sticking to the Call, we forget, we no longer listen, we burn ourselves out. We are all called to more than one thing – as well as the vocation, there is the life; and there is seasonality to vocation: when the season is done, then the time comes “take up your cross. And be discerning when it’s time to put it back down… Sometimes a calling becomes too hard. And at that point, it might not be yours any more”.
Deciding to change, to move on, to seek the new, means leave taking. And to leave well we need to also equip others. Enable the discovery of gifts, in individuals and in congregations. Planning from Abundance does exactly this, setting out in practical terms how to communicate and enable discernment with your church group – be it elders, volunteers, the whole congregation. It is just one part in a whole series – might be good to follow her links and read the whole lot!
My final choice for you is actually not quite about leaving. It more about mourning (which is definitely a part of mourning) Michelle write about losing her Breviary – and she freely admits she has several others; and that it can be replaced. it is not the book she mourns, but what the book has become: soft, familiar, it has moulded to her hands; it fits. In choosing to admit it is lost and ordering a replacement, all that it has been comes to the fore. The tale of the search for it: the cupboards and drawers inspected. The piles shifted, speak of love and loss. When we move, or change, or seek the call of new things, the old things must pass. The safe, familiar, softly moulded comfort is hard to let go. But, in the letting go, new things, new excitements, new joys are to be found. The time to mourn is followed by the time to rejoice: and for Michelle, as she predicted, as soon as the replacement was ordered, she found it in the Broom Closet!
Julie Rennick is a Church of Scotland minister serving a rural church in the Scottish Borders. She blogs at A Country Girl; writes for various journals and contributed to the RevGals book: There’s a Woman in the Pulpit.
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