Is My Calling Worth the Cost?

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“But you seem so confident!”

You have no idea how many times I have been told this in my life. Pretty much the exact same amount of times I’ve been shaking in my boots. Apparently, even when I’m terrified I still present as confident. I both love and hate this about myself.

I have spent the last month or so celebrating my entrance into seminary. I quit my job! I’m leaning in! I’m what a lady preacher looks like! And I’m very proud of myself for answering the call, for chasing the dream, for following hard after my God. I am proud.

On the good days, I’m sure this is what I should be doing. On the days where I have an epiphany in class and go on to tell my husband what I learned about the Old Testament and we read the Bible together and our minds are blown, on those days I got this. I am so sure. I am so sure I should be doing this. I am so sure I was called by God.

Here is my confession: Most days are not good days. Most days I am a little less sure. Most days I am cooking, not cleaning, picking kids up, doing some writing and always, always thinking about how I should be studying. I’m often wondering if now is the time. I’m wondering if I am enough. Am I enough to do a good job of the writing, the parenting, the studying? Am I stretching myself so thin that nothing is really covered? Am I simply not smart enough, disciplined enough, patient enough to do all of this well?

I’m scared I’m messing up my girls. I am counting the cost and there are days I’m not sure it is worth it. I don’t know any kid of a preacher who doesn’t have a complicated relationship with the church. Is following my call going to permanently stunt my daughters? Will they remember these three years as a time that they didn’t see much of their mom? Will they say, Seminary is when she was yelling and impatient and always tired? Is it fair for a mother of two small children to say NOW is the time to chase her dream?

I don’t know.

On my good days I can answer all of these questions. My girls need to be mothered by their whole mother and that woman goes to seminary. I was impatient when I was unhappy at my job, so maybe I just need to work on patience. I cannot and will not ever be in control of my daughters’ relationship to the church and God. I have always had to entrust that to God, regardless of my vocation.  And the good days are usually the days I choose to write about.

How do I admit to you that this post is four days late and was interrupted three times by me bellowing from upstairs GIRLS! GO TO BED! Surely you want to hear about how well I am handling this and not that it is my youngest’s fifth birthday tomorrow, and even with Amazon prime, I am not totally sure I ordered her presents on time. I was busy memorizing the Hebrew alphabet. I aced my quiz, but did I scar my kid for life? These are the questions I am asking myself as I listen to the giggles twenty minutes past bedtime, calculating if I should shout one more time or continue on with my pastoral care reflection. Since we are confessing: I am not feeling particularly pastoral or caring in this moment.

I am tired. I am scared. I am doing this because it is what I chose, but I’m not totally sure all the time that this is the right thing. I’m worried, more than I want to admit to anyone (including and maybe especially myself), that I messed it all up. I don’t think I’m the only one who wonders this. I don’t think seminary moms are the only people who have these questions.

In my experience, anyone chasing hard after the voice of God has most of these questions on any given day.

Did I really hear? Am I really sure? Is this supposed to be this hard? Why am I so tired?

I don’t know. But I do not believe that you messed it up. And I need you to tell me that I didn’t mess it up either. You need to hear, and so do I, that this is a piece of chasing the dream, the dark nights, the not-so-sure days, the doing-it-even-though-I-am-kind-of-sure-this-is-all-going-to-collapse-in-pieces moments. Everyone has these, even if they don’t talk about them. Even if we have a profile pic of ourselves laughing our heads off, and we just seem so confident, we aren’t.

Shaking in your boots doesn’t mean you are doing it wrong. It means you are doing something that matters deeply to you. 

Wondering if you are enough isn’t because you aren’t enough, but because you are hoping to do something really, really well. You probably didn’t mess it all up, but even if you did, we believe in a God who offers just the most ridiculous amount of grace. Let that float you for a minute. And while you are floating, remind me of all of this, because most days, I need to hear it.

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QUESTION: Where are you shaking in your boots right now, Lovelys? We’d love to hear!

 

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