My Busy Week: Worries and Encouragement

Blogging after dark is the new standard these days, since my days are continuously busy. Just today I met with Bossman for a few minutes, stopped at my current (soon to be leaving) dealership, ran by the other apartment to drop off some furniture and schedule a time to replace the carpet, planned a lunch for Thursday, ate lunch with my Spiritual Director, and booked lunches and meetings for the next three weeks.

I just got home an hour ago. Finally had some time to sit down and blab about everything happening.

I realized my situation is merely an introduction to how my life will be for the next year: changes, goodbyes, "lasts," (a great blog from a future seminarian), worries, heartaches, surprises, and joy. Today has been a day of worry, but for things I'm already used to dealing with - unworthiness and how others see me.

I'm still scared about this opportunity because I don't know everything Bossman needs me to know. I'm walking into this job under-skilled, under-experienced, and under-qualified. When I told the other salesmen about my new position, the underlying tone I got was: "What makes you think you can do that job?" As excited as I was yesterday, I have this sense of trepidation about taking this new responsibility on. What if I suck at it? What if Bossman tells me "I had to hire brother-in-law because he need job. Sorry." What if I'm stuck without a job, and I have no way to pay off debt?

I took a moment today to really examine my feelings about this. I imagine myself not taking the position of a car sales manager, but a parish priest. The thought excites me; I'm invigorated by the idea of helping others in the community. I feel at peace with that kind of vocation.

But what happens if I were told today: "We'd like you to help our parish as a live-in acolyte." I'd be scared out of my mind! What if they wanted me to help Spanish-speaking parishioners? My Spanish is terrible! What if they want me to help with liturgical music? I just picked up my guitar for the first time in years, and I sound like a dying cat when I sing. How would I deal with the other parishioners that feel jealous or envious of my role in the parish? What if I was asked to lead meetings, prayer groups, or youth ministry? I'm terrified of small children!

Strength. Wisdom. Courage.

In times of struggle or doubt, these are the things I ask of God. In times of joy and content, these are the the things I give thanks for. Strength to handle any change that happens in my life. Wisdom to discern any issues or troubles. Courage to do what is right, even if it is uncomfortable. These three gifts from God have helped me overcome my worst fears and doubts.

I know that for the rest of my life, I will be put in positions where I am under-qualified, under-educated, or under-experienced. I know there will always be someone better than me no matter what I do. I must accept that.

What I must also accept is the faith and encouragement I get from those around me, including God. People believe that I can do this job. They're excited for me. They want to know when I can get them hired in. Whether I do good or I fall flat on my face, they cheer me on.

There are people that cheer me on as I continue to discern God's plan. "You'd make an excellent priest/Franciscan/Capuchin." I like hearing that. It fills me with joy. But I have a bad habit of looking for people to tell me I'm wrong. I worry about people telling me not to be a priest, or people who think it's just a weird joke. I feel defensive when I talk about my vocation; I don't want to hear someone tell me I'm not good enough.

So perhaps all of this is happening as some kind of learning experience: an opportunity from God to stop worrying about what other's think. Maybe He just wants me to just "be me." Maybe when I can achieve that level of self-awareness, God will reveal the next part of His plan for me.

I'm glad I wrote all this out. I feel better already. =)

Strength. Wisdom. Courage.

(Sorry for any grammatical errors. It's late, I'm tired, and I have another busy day tomorrow. Peace -V)

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3 Response to My Busy Week: Worries and Encouragement

August 2, 2007 at 5:32 AM

I think you are very wise to weigh up the pros and cons of your situation. You are, of course, taking a risk. But sometimes you just have to step out in courage (all the while shaking like a leaf!). A few years back I started trainig to be a teacher, spurred on by people telling me what a good teacher they thought I'd make. It didn't work out for a number of reasons but they could be summed up as bad timing in my life. For the last 5 years I have worked in a mundane, poorly paid role in a school. But spending time with teachers and kids has increased my confidence to the extent I have just left that job to start training again. Some people have said I've wasted the last 5 years but I feel that it has been a most important part of the journey and it feels right to be doing what I'm doing now (there's no such thing as a wasted experience!). I have grown in that time and growth is often quite a painful process. Sometimes things look wrong but it's surprising how God turns it around. Have you read 'Everything Belongs' by Richard Rohr where he talks about liminal space? If you haven't read it I recommend it.

August 2, 2007 at 10:53 AM

Congrats on finding your way, and thank you for sharing your life. Too many times I feel isolated because I cannot share these feelings of discernment. I appreciate your input.

I think my biggest issue is change. I'm losing security, losing three years of normality, losing those days of knowing what would happen after I woke up on Monday morning. I'm still scared, but I'm willing to suck it up and take the next step forward on this journey.

I have not read that book, but I will add it to my list.

Peace.

Anonymous
August 2, 2007 at 8:08 PM

A few years ago I was at a juncture; I listened to what others recommended me and ignored the small, still voice in my heart. Ignoring that voice was a mistake, and it cost me things that I can't get back (time, energy) and things that I may get back (money). By all means listen to what people close to you have to say, but remember that their advice is based on what they would do if they were you, not on what you-as yourself-will do or need to do. God's call is precious, if it is real then it will be there beneath all the hoopla and noise.