Discerning God’s Call
Everyone knows that the two things you should “never talk about” are religion and politics. Living in a religious intentional community working on social justice issues makes it nearly impossible to abide by this adage. With every new introduction I am only one or two questions away from explaining how I live at a seminary with five other people and am on the frontlines of the affordable housing crisis. Such a response usually sets the person I am talking to aback as they were almost certainly expecting me to say I came here to work in tech.
This discomfort, though, has proven to be the catalyst for major personal growth. My initial elevator pitch explaining why I joined the Episcopal Service Corps went something like “I want to break down the compartmentalization of my life and pursue justice as an expression of my faith.” What better way to keep this goal at the forefront than constantly having to explain the fusion of my work life and my faith with every person that I meet.
Going deeper than my elevator pitch, I joined the Episcopal Service Corps to discern my life’s calling (a simple task easily accomplished in a year, I know). Previously in my life I made five year plans and mapped out next steps based on what sounded good on paper: Where should I go to school? What should I study? Which internship should I take? My primary motivation in all of this was cultivating an impressive resume that would garner admiration and lead to a successful career. Being successful and influential, I thought, would lead to a happy life.
In all of this planning and decision-making, though, I never stopped to think about whose standards I was using to measure my success. While money has never been a motivating factor for me, I was striving for recognition and external validation. Throughout this entire process I never stopped to think “what is it that I want to do with my life”, or more pointedly, “what is it that God is calling me to do?”
The answer to this question requires me to silence the external influences and turn inward. I would like to say that I have successfully accomplished this in six months and that I know exactly what I am called to do, but obviously that is not the case. Taking the radical step of living in intentional community, living out my faith every day, and pursuing justice has helped this process tremendously. I am so grateful that I removed myself from the endless cycle of five year plans to intentionally seek out my purpose. While I may not know where this is all going, I feel like I am finally on the right track.