Ever since I was a freshman in high school, I saw myself becoming a full time minister--and by this I mean I saw ministry as my career path. It made since to me, so I invested myself deeply in my youth group, did several ministry internships in college, and even worked for a ministry organization all four years at ACU. I couldn't even envision myself doing anything other than full time ministry.
Yet, here I am: a preschool teacher. I spend my day singing songs about baby bumblebee's and colors. I change diapers and pull-ups while encouraging my students to use the bathroom on the "potty." I play on the playground outside, sometimes pretending to be an imaginary lion chasing my students. I create lesson plants and implement crafts that hopefully provide opportunities for my students to develop their fine motor skills and learn about the world around them. I read stories and play dress up, build towers out of blocks and do puzzles. I wipe noses and clean faces, I discipline and encourage my students to make good choices, to love, and to offer grace. I seek to be a beacon of light and of love to my 3 year old students in the best way I know how.
I wish I could share the gospel with my students. I wish I could tell them about my Savior. I wish that every day I could walk in with a new story to share with them about God's Redemptive Grace. But reality is very different than that. Sure, I have more opportunities than most to talk about religion with my 3 year old students because it is a private school. Yet, I certainly don't have that opportunity very often.
Somehow I think I've mixed up my calling with my career. You see, I used to feel that I was "called" to full-time ministry because I thought that was what God wanted of me. I felt like that was the best way I could fully serve Him. But God is teaching my day by day that I don't have to be in a full-time ministry paid position to be a full-time minister.
I am a full-time minister to my preschool students, day in and day out.
You see, a calling is something we never stop listening for--but a career is something we map out for ourselves, it's focusing on specific goals. A carer is about making a plan while a calling is about putting our trust in someone who can so easily change that plan.
And prayerfully, my career has fallen way to my calling: my calling to love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love my neighbor as myself.
More than any road map or guide for our life, Jesus Christ gives us himself, a beautiful relationship. We need the person of God more than any plan we can create for our lives.
I always wanted to do full-time ministry because that was the way God could best "use" me. But, as I've recently understood God's true calling on my life a little bit better, I see that God doesn't want to "use" me at all.
He wants to grow me.
And disciple me.
And love me.
And walk with me.
He is my co-heir.
And He is my friend.
He passionately desires a life with me--not a life where I can do more, be more, and say more to somehow make him love me more.
So more than one that is used by God, I am one that walks with God.
I am a maker, a creator, and I bear the cross of Christ. I am a pilgrim, a disciple, and I am made in the image of God.
When asked what I wanted to do with my life over the past several years, my answer has always been tied to doing full-time ministry. And I don't think there is anything wrong with that other than the fact that a huge part of my identity has always been tied to "what I was going to be when I grew up."
But now when asked what I want to do with my life, my answer is so much different because I am learning that my calling as a child of God is so much different than just a career.
I want to love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength.
I want to love my neighbor has my self.
I want to passionately love and pursue my husband with humility and kindness and grace.
I want to be a mother someday that gracefully loves her children.
I want to seek justice.
And love mercy.
And walk humbly with my God.
I want to be a person of sacrifice.
I want my life to give a glimpse of the abundant life found in God.
I want to be the first to show up at the right time for other people.
I want to be a good friend.
I want to use my hands and my feet and my voice to show grace to every soul I encounter, every person in my realm of care and influence.
I want to be generous with both my time and my money.
I want to be hospitable, with an open door policy at my home that gracefully welcomes ALL people.
I want to feed the hungry and bind the wounds of the oppressed.
I want to pray faithfully and openly.
I want to comfort those in the darkness and experience the joy that only comes from knowing The Light.
I want to speak the voice of truth with grace, wisdom, and kindness.
I want to love in the little things, because the little things add up to the big things.
I want to proclaim goodness.
And teach gentleness.
I want the whole of my life to walk in the sacredness of my calling to be a Beloved child of God.
I want to have dreams and visions and to be led by the nudges of the Holy Spirit.
I want to live as though love is my identity.
I want to run the race and fight the good fight, to be a person of perseverance.
I want to speak words of life and not death, words of hope and faith.
I want to be aware of His presence at all times.
I absolutely love the "career" I have. I love being a preschool teacher. I never thought I would end up being one, but God has a pretty funny way of leading us down unexpected paths--paths that open us up to His desires in ways we never thought possible.
I may remain a preschool teacher for the rest of my life, or I may move on to something else--who knows. But no matter what profession I am in, where I go, or what I do--I pray that I live out first and foremost, my beautiful calling as a Child of God. I pray that in whatever given situation and circumstances I find myself, I am able to live my life as it is right now with boldness, love, grace, courage, humility, and kindness as I seek to abide and take root in my beautiful friend, Jesus.