You know, before I began this whole "call to ministry" process, I lived a rather full life without EVER using the word "DISCERNMENT." It just was not a part of my everyday vocabulary.
Now, however, not a day goes by where I don't use it in a conversation, read something about it, think about it, or hear someone else use it. Now, it seems, my whole life has become about discerning where God is calling me to be.
And you'd think that once you give yourself over to the whole process of discernment that it would be simple and eventually you'd figure out where you were supposed to be going, and your journey of life would be laid out before you not unlike the yellow brick road that Dorothy took to the Emerald City.
You could think that. But you'd be wrong.
I quickly discovered, about as soon as I formally began this whole discernment process, that really life is just one REALLY LONG discernment process. And if my experience so far is any indication of what the process is like in the long run, it's about like getting dressed in the dark. Grabbing something, feeling it out, figuring out what it is, and then trying it on. Sure it feels right. It fits pretty good around the waist. The length feels about right. The shirt is comfy, too. The sleeves could be a little longer, but really not that bad. Of course you have no idea what it looks like. You could have grabbed a red and green flannel shirt, a pair of purple sweatpants and some bright yellow argyle socks. But you don't know that when you're standing there in the dark. At what point does the light flip on, and you realize that you managed to find a pretty darn good outfit, and so now you're gonna go strut your stuff? Does it ever?
So you might be asking yourself, "Is Mark having a vocational crisis?" to which I'd reply, "When AREN'T I having a vocational crisis? It seems to be the level at which I most consistently operate." But I would also let you know that at this point I am neither considering quitting my internship nor dropping out of seminary, as well as not considering anything else crazy like joining the circus. My vocational crisis is not at critical mass. At this point, I am standing in the dark, thinking how my clothes seem to fit nicely, but also wondering if just because the clothes fit, does that mean I should wear them? Even though they're comfy, they might not be the best clothes for me. I mean, I'm a t-shirt, shorts and flip flops kinda guy. That outfit screams comfort to me. But that doesn't mean I want to wear them outside in this 35 degree weather, nor should I. That would be craziness.
Anyway, I suppose I'll continue DISCERNING. But for now I need to go and be about meeting committeely.