When we are little adults sometimes ask, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Instead of getting easier this question has gotten harder for me to answer especially since starting my internship at Lakeridge. The following is the final section of a paper I wrote a few months ago which captures a little bit of my struggle with that question. Enjoy!
To imagine vocation as that which I love is a profound shift out of the doldrums of expectation. But it also shows that I find ways to avoid me, by placing the expectations of others before my desires and my story. It also indicates a level of discomfort with stories of personal shame, sin, and glory which need to be considered in order to know what I truly love and what God has called me to do. There is a continual need to be vulnerable to myself, before others and with God to really articulate what I am discovering in the midst of my vocational discernment. I have always been hungry to learn and to take on a lot. But, in doing so I have exposed myself to weaknesses and fears that I didn’t know existed. My vocational journey has also confirmed for me that there are things about myself like my ability to listen very intently to people and go deeply into a conversation very quickly that are useful whether I am in a ministry setting or not.
The question of what I love steps away from the normal framework of vocation as occupation and moves towards questions of how one is meant to live their life. This is what I think vocation is really meant to be about, and it brings me back to the long stretch of I-90 which runs between Seattle and Indiana. I really want to get to my destination, but for now, like with any journey, I will have to simply enjoy what is coming up next on the road. It may not be where I want to end up, but those moments are places to practice my vocation, and can serve as roadsigns to direct me towards my love that waits at the end of the journey.
Jon Glenn is the Intern Pastor at Lakeridge Lutheran Church for the 2011-2012 school year. He splits his time at church by visiting its members, writing sermons, leading classes, praying, thinking, or reading. You can always spot him on Sundays holding a coffee mug.