It started when I attended The Young Clergy Women Project Conference 2010. It wasn't what I was expecting. I'm not even sure if it's what I wanted -- but God is a freakin' riot. The conference focused on leadership -- specifically about our leadership. And so, there were many moments for personal reflection. (That is, after I was able to adequately download the information I'd been offered into the crevices of my brain.) There were also moments for lots of conversation. I reconnected with old friends -- including a friend from seminary who has called Atlanta home since our days in New York City. I met new friends. I ate. I drank. It turns out I didn't eat as much as I drank. Oops.
It was the small group conversations that shifted my question. I had come to understand my role as a leader and young clergy woman. I had thought that this question lingered in my eternal dance of staff dynamics with the beloved Senior Pastor. (He's so, so, so much better than he used to be, but still.) That's not what I heard myself saying. That's not what I heard in my peers. I heard an affirmation. (I firmly believe this was only in my head.) I heard the resonating truth that I am called to serve the church. I'm called to serve her until I'm old and gray -- but more than that, I'm ready for the next thing.
My ministry in the past year has been all about trying to create a new thing. They need change. I've offered some of it, but what I've really felt is the push to do something new in my ministry. In my current context, I feel stale. I feel bored. Ew. I hate that. I really don't want to be bored, but I am. I'm really bored. I'm ready for the next thing. I'm just terrified to do it. Totally freakin' terrified. In that circle, in that small group in Atlanta, I heard the divine affirmation I needed and didn't want to hear.
And so, like any good child of discernment, I ignored it. I ignored it until the end of the week of vacation that followed when I walked on a foggy beach alone. The tears came pouring out of me. I shook my fist at the heavens. Damn it. I'm not ready. I just bought a home. I just began to feel settled. I thought I was here longer. Really, God? Really?
This is all too much.