i started reflecting on the last few years of my life - mostly the years since i started doing ministry vocationally, which has been since august of 2004. now, let's not forget that reflecting has been kind of my thing the last few months because i have no vision to go towards, no concrete future plans, so the default is to reflect. while i realize this is both healthy and helpful, i also realize that it makes me nuts!
what i've internalized this week is how much i've grown. when i started doing vocational ministry at 23, i was scared out of my mind, so self-conscious, a people-pleaser, someone who at my core wasn't sure the whole "sharing my faith" with people thing was for me. i was innocent enough to think there was a perfect ministry and blinded enough to think i was working for it! i relied fully on the ideas and experiences of my colleagues and i made sure i never shared my opinion in public forums for fear that it might not be right.
like this picture of my niece, i needed someone to hold me. i was oblivious and insecure and in my ignorance had no idea what was coming. i am not that person anymore.
i have grown - immensely.
i now, at almost 28 feel like i have a valid voice in ministry, any ministry, not just the one that has become "home" to me the last 5 years. i feel like i can stand confidently on my own two feet - like people will respect what i have to say because i've been through the fire with junior high, high school and college students the last 10 years, and especially the last 4 on Young Life staff. i have learned to do things i never thought possible and when they were achieved, to smile knowing God and i had accomplished something significant. i know now to hold ministry positions lightly because they were never mine to begin with and will not be mine in the end. this posture in itself has enabled me to be in a 9 month transition without fear of what God will do with me next. i know He'll take me somewhere and i know i'll have to hold that lightly too because only He knows what's next and what's best.
this last month has been an odd transition into college ministry at church because first of all - i feel 22 and like i just finished college, but being 28 and in college ministry automatically makes me "older." boo. and second of all - to feel like i have a small voice in the lives of some potential 3000 orange county college students is a bigger and more humbling burden than i'd ever have chosen to carry. my hope and prayer in this is that through the next 10 years of ministry (wherever that might be),that i will grow twice as much as i have the last 10 years and that God in all His wisdom and grace will continue to allow me to have a small part in the real life of His kingdom.
...and that like my niece, when i get to the top of this next climb, that i will have the same confident look of accomplishment, self-contentment and satisfaction, knowing that i did something i never thought i could do. thanks be to God.