A Gift of Perspective in Discerning God’s Call

A Gift of Perspective in Discerning God’s Call September 14, 2012

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 😉


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14 responses to “A Gift of Perspective in Discerning God’s Call”

  1. Hey Bruce, Really like this post. FWIW, sometimes I get too focused only own conception of HOW God will speak to me. A Fellow once observed for my benefit that “God is calling me all the time; there’s always something to do right in front of me. And sometimes that’s the call.” Maybe this is a time to bring in your focus and leave the rest up to God. Thoughts?

  2. Not sure that they really have much of a choice in the matter these days with the transience of so many. Still, I know that I have the privilege of taking the time because I have a spouse who can help us with healthcare. All that said, it is nice that my Presbytery has been supportive in many ways during my “break.”

  3. It’s good that presbyteries have been more open minded concerning the times when some need to leave full-time ministry because of personal situations or a need to step back awhile and discern God’s will. Twenty or so years ago such situations often resulted in those so challenged being moved onto the “inactive list” and then being slid quietly off the ordained rolls a couple of years later.

  4. Two bathrooms! 🙂 I am transitioning to full time work for the first time since my kids were born (all teens now), and I am surprised by how unconcerned they are about me not being around until supper time. Their question? When can we get a bigger car? The five of us look like sardines packed into our 2002 Honda Civic. (The answer is ‘never’, ’cause I’m not buying a minivan).

  5. Bruce… I’ve come to this understanding of call. We are called to invite God into our lives, no matter we are up to or where we are. I know God has some ideal ideas for each one of us, but I honestly don’t think God cares two hoots if we live in this city or that city, or work with this church or that church… so long as we are faithful followers of the Way of Jesus. Even if we make the “wrong” choice, “Lo, I am with you always….” It gives us much comfort to know that the bottom line is that God intends to bless us wherever we are. My 2-cents….

  6. Glad to hear that their priorities are all aligned! And my parents moved when my sisters and I were 13,15, and 17 – the largest factor in that decision was the fact that the old house had only 1 bathroom. 🙂