A Gift of Perspective in Discerning God’s Call

Photo by justininsd on Flickr

As many of you know, I left full-time ministry about 18 months ago after helping to start a church here in San Francisco. The impetus for my leaving had nothing to with some scandal or financial collapse, but rather about “call” and my own need to discern where God was leading me in ministry. The subsequent months have been filled with some awesome adventures and I am grateful for the luxury/blessing/privilege to wander a bit.

Throughout this time, I’ve been consulting, I released a book and I’m getting re-engaged with a local church community, all the while, I’ve been fully engaged in the process of discerning where God may be leading. And while there are no life-shattering “What’s next for Bruce” announcements to come - especially since the Stephen Drew trade has taken Oakland A’s shortstop completely off the table – some clarity is emerging and I have been able to better frame some possibilities.

Still, this time has become far more paralyzing that I had thought it would be because, like everyone else, I can over-think, over-analyze and base decisions on some time-frame that is built on my own ego needs and not fueled by where God may actually be leading. As part of my discernment, I am constantly checking in with the family to see how they are doing in all of this. This is a recent conversation between me and my daughters as I was contemplating serving in a local congregation somewhere or expanding in my speaking, writing and consulting work.

Me, “So, what do you think? Would you rather have daddy travel a little more, but when I am home, I am HOME. I can still be really involved in school, sports and other things? OR . . . would you rather have me travel less and be home more often, but have more meetings at night and not as able to be around as much during the day?”

*pause*

*thinking*

*pause*

Middle, “Whatever gets us two bathrooms the fastest, that’s what you should do.”

Eldest and Young enthusiastically nod in agreement, and echo, “Yeeesss, two bathrooms.”

So, even while some things are definitely becoming clearer, decisions are looming and I am feeling like some progress is being made, it’s good for me to be reminded that I am not the center of the universe and it REALLY is not all about me.  My natural tendency is be overly self-reflective, which often leads to justification for doing things that I want to do and not about what God hopes for me to become.

In this simple exchange, I have been invited back into faith and trust. God will speak when God speaks, I will hear when I am ready to listen and I will follow when I feel called. I just hope that there is a second bathroom in there somewhere ;-)

Parenting is a Dance

Unless of course you count the eye-roll inducing faux break-dancing I do every once in a while just to embarrass my children, I am not what you would call “a dancer.” I am more of a head-bobbing, groove-to-the-beat, Breakin’ wannabe kind of guy. Over the past 20 years, my wife and I have taken a few dance classes, attended a few soirées and it is always fun. We don’t go and dance enough. Not really a regret, just a fact of our life.

But we do dance in some ways every day. We parent.

Of all the metaphors out there about life the most powerful one for me has always been, “It’s a dance.” Whether it is work, family, faith or parenting the nuances of dancing shine through in many ways.

  • Sometimes we are graceful; at other times we are awkward.
  • Sometimes we need to waltz; at other times the Electric slide must be done.
  • Sometimes we are alone; at others times we need to dance with a group.
  • Sometimes we must lead; at other times we must allow ourselves to be lead.
  • . . . and so on and so on.

This week our house has been filled with “the dance” of planning for the future: summer and beyond. In the midst of the stress of balancing parental workloads, the realities of finances, time, energy, interest, etc. – all important variables - our youngest daughter posted this sign on her door.

Yes, sweetie, yes they are.

Ah parenthood . . . I think this is one of those “allow ourselves to be lead” moments in the dance.


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