One's personal life is all consuming it's without a doubt. In recent days I've noticed the stock market roller coaster ride and I've seen most debates, some baseball playoffs, and know of the Redskins win. But I missed the Blog Action Day, I'm behind on my Women's Retreat preparation, and I didn't finish reading today's headlines. All because I've been focused on the process of being called to a new congregation. Certainly it's been a self-focused experience in some ways and an 'other-focused' experience in another way.
My D.E. used the phrase, 'lean on the door' to describe the discernment process. He said, "Don't make any decisions, just lean on the door and see if God's spirit responds. See if it opens." I love the expression and the image. I leaned, it opened, and December 1 I begin as pastor of the Arlington Church of the Brethren.
Change is never easy so telling the youth of the congregation where I currently serve is the hardest. Implementing transitions and leadership will be plenty of work. Finishing, without trying to do everything, will be a challenge. Preparing for Advent while getting up-to-speed on a new congregation will be - well I don't know what it will be like, but I'm looking forward to it none-the-less. Perhaps best of all is the feeling that I am following God's lead. Certainly it serves me well because it is a unique opportunity for me to lead and be in partnership with a great group of people who are also following God's lead.
"God's Will" is a concept that is often used to explain the misunderstood or justify self-interest. It's important to me to declare my self-interest in this call while recognizing that there is more to it. Because God is able to use us - anyone, anywhere - if we are open to the Spirit's leading and willing to 'lean on the door'. Rather than getting too busy with details while moving away from one call and to another, the challenge will be to discern the faithful path and remain honest about the pleasure and pain I incur. The challenge is to keep leaning and listening all during the busy transition, always discerning the call of God which never ends.