Skip to main content

Discerning God's call is like driving in a downpour

Last week I was driving some of our our teens home from an afternoon of mini-golf. The heavens opened up and let loose on Dayton, Ohio.

As I drove down Main Street, I realized that discerning God's call in my life is like driving in a downpour.

1. I couldn't see very far in front of me. 5 feet maybe? Beyond that it wasn't clear at all.

2. I could drive on recall because I was familiar with some of the roads but some areas were new to me. I could not even guess where the road went.

3. I had my GPS that so clearly told me where to go. But if I looked 3 inches to the left of the GPS at the drenching rain, I got nervous.

4. It was more fun when there were friends in the car with me. They couldn't always tell me where to go, but they were along for the ride.

5. I felt camaraderie with the cars around me. Mostly we were going slow and staying close to each other's tail lights so we could see. When I got too far from other cars, it was even harder to see where to go.

6. The whole time the GPS knew where I was and where I was going. I could trust that. But I still had to do the work of driving in the downpour.

There are so many nuances to discerning a call from God. It's joyful, frustrating, painful, confusing, peaceful, complicated, exciting, scary and messy. But every conversation with a trusted friend and mentor has moved me closer to the heart of God. I've also learned that there isn't necessarily and right and wrong choice. God will use us wherever we are.

If you or someone you know is 18-24 years old and thinking about full-time ministry, I invite you to check out a very cool event in Dallas this November. More info here.

Check out some other posts on discerning a call into ministry here.


Jamey said…
Great reflection, thanks!

Most Read

Why Some Experienced Clergy (and Lay People) Have a Hard Time When Younger Clergy Take Renewal Leave

This is a guest post from my very own dad! He's a United Methodist pastor serving in Bend, Oregon. I enjoy chatting church leadership with my dad and it's fascinating to see how our generational differences bring different perspectives to our calling as pastor. We need each generation to walk with each other as we figure it out in this new world. We've been reflecting lately as I finished up a renewal leave and he prepares to retire this June. 
By David Beckett
I fall into the category of experienced clergy which is a polite way of saying I am old. I’ve been pastoring for nearly 40 years. When I was a young pastor my role models were mostly white males who presented an image of success that equated with dedication, overwork, and sacrifice. My first senior pastor talked about the 20 hr/wk he invested in sermon preparation. And he expected his staff to work beyond their stated hours. During those three years of full time seminary and a large youth group I put in up to 80 hr/…

Why pastors need collaboration, not competition

There's competition in every industry. Some get promoted over others. Some work incredibly hard but their gifts go unnoticed. Others do good work and people assume they're fine but underneath, they feel like they could never be honest about how hard life is in this season. People spend more energy figuring out how they measure up in a work culture instead of doing the actual work.

Competition itself implies there are two sides.

I remember field days at my elementary school in Alaska. The half-frozen spring ground was covered with clumps of dirty gray snow. Jackets were thrown on the ground as the fourth graders tried to beat the fifth graders at tug of war. Rope burns were shrugged off as sweat dripped down our young faces. We were determined to beat those fifth graders. Our pride was on the line.

Whether you're a fourth grader or an ad manager at a fancy marketing agency or a senator trying out for attorney general, competition runs deep in our DNA.

We want to be the bes…

99 sheep

Reading Matthew 18:10-14 on this cloudy Anchorage summer morning. Parable of the Lost Sheep. A guy owns 100 sheep. They belong to him. These sheep are loyal and depend on their owner for everything. But then one wanders away. I wonder if this sheep wandered on purpose or accident?

The guy leaves the 99 sheep grazing on the hillside to look for the sheep who got lost. One word in verse 13 jumped out to me. "Andifhe finds [the sheep]...he is happier about that one sheep than about the 99 that did no wander off." IF he finds it. This guy who owns the sheep probably knows the hillside very well and knows his sheep's behavioral patterns. But he may not find this lost sheep. 

When someone wanders off, it's up to them if they want to get found. 

When it comes to our connection to God, some of us may wander on accident. Or on purpose. 

We wait for someone to rescue us. Bring us back. Make it okay. But we have to turn towards the one rescuing us. God will leave the other 99 sheep…