doorkeeping and hot dogs

"Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked." - Psalm 84:10

September 11, 2004. I checked my email that Saturday afternoon, and read this email from a friend whose wisdom I trust:

It is about 1:30 on Saturday. I was out working in the yard and God really put you on my heart. So, in obedience here goes. Over the past several months I have really seen your personal joy and passion diminish. To the point where things in your life are challenging day to day because there is not a broader sense of meaning driving you. So I asked the Lord why. The response I felt in my heart is that you are avoiding something he has called you to. I sensed it is something you have known for quite some time but have not followed through on out of fear. In the meantime you have thrown yourself into kingdom work that is good, but is not what you are called to.

Though I have a somewhat charismatic bent, I am not a "thus sayeth the Lord" type. Please take this for what it is worth. If it serves to confirm other things the Lord is saying to you and showing you, then praise God. If not, call it a reaction to the hot dogs I had for lunch.

God Bless
Mike

Two and a half years later, I am thinking about prophecy and going back to Mike's words and still wondering about them. He was right - my passion and joy were fizzling out; I was solidly tired. But while his words rang true to a degree, I wasn't sure what he meant by this idea that I wasn't following through on something I was called to. I finally settled on calling my job "kingdom work that is good, but not what I'm called to" - I liked nannying, but it wasn't my calling - but I'm still wondering if that's it. And I'm still wondering if it's possible that I've been called to something I'm afraid of. International missions comes to mind, but I don't think I'm still here because I'm afraid; there are just practical details that need to fall into place. I don't know; maybe the details are just an excuse, but I don't think so... I think there is more I am supposed to do and learn here before I go, and I really don't see the missions gig happening until I'm in my 40s.

This email from Mike came at a season in my life when I was just learning that I could lead worship well and creatively, when I was discovering that I actually have a knack for all the dimensions of worship leading that aren't seen - shepherding my team, scheduling, running rehearsals, service planning. I was starting to dream about a church job..."someday." And I am afraid to pursue that... I'll be honest and say that. Yesterday I talked to someone at a church in Iowa; a friend is applying for a job there - and it struck me that a year from now I could be having a conversation with someone who might (or might not!) want to hire me... Scary. Was that what Mike was referring to? He didn't know, it was just his sense from God that there was something - and he did encourage me to take a risk and get my resume together. Which I still haven't. I was already leading worship somewhere - but it was volunteer, not professional... and I have known for years that singing/worshipping are central to who I am, and there's a sense in which it does feel foolish not to be pursuing that passion professionally...

So here I am at another crossroads today. Last Sunday, I stepped down from the volunteer worship leading position I'm in at church as of March. Then, on Wednesday, I led worship for our group for what I thought was one of the last three times - and it was one of the top five worship leading experiences I've ever had. It was so sweet... And I wondered, why would God ask me to step away from this now? It doesn't make sense...

And then I was challenged by someone (who also has prophetic gifts) to rethink my decision. I thought I was following God's lead -I'd let go, I was okay with stepping down, I'm tired, I was starting to look forward to the break, and I was dreaming of other avenues for my talents, like maybe starting an Alpha course... and then the question: "Are you sure God is calling you to step down, sister? Because I'll be honest with you; I just don't see it."

You know what? I don't know if I see it either.

Prophecy is a weird thing. It's subject to human error. I can't make major life decisions based on what people say. Ultimately, God's direction needs to be what determines my steps. Yet He does speak through prophetic words...

Am I making a decision to step down out of fear of the unknown? There are certainly elements of fear present, should I continue to lead worship at this church... but fear isn't real, and can't be the driving force behind what I do or don't do. It's just an emotion. With His help, I can be brave enough to keep at this... but is it what He wants?

I've been thinking/praying/meditating/existing with this question for days. This morning, God asked me what I want. I want to lead to worship anywhere I can as often as I can so that I will continue to get better at it. I also want to be doing what He wants me to do, so if what I want conflicts with what He wants, I want to know that, so I can choose what He wants. There have been times - like choosing not to go to Germany this month - where I have solidly known the difference between my wishes and His and chosen His, for the best. This is not one of those situations. And I think I'm trying to listen so hard I'm imagining what He might say instead of hearing what He is saying.

At the end of the day, I would rather be doing the humblest of tasks in God's house than to be anywhere else. If I could have been anyone in Scripture I would have been Anna, because she got to be in His house all day every day for years and years and years. It's who I am; it's where I belong; it's what I was made for. But I don't want to be so solidly fixed on that that I miss it if He calls me to anything else for a season... would He do that? (Is He doing that?)