I am NOT the best thing since sliced bread.
My childhood was filled with building up my ego – and this is healthy development. I learned how I was different from others. I learned that I did not need my parents to survive. I developed my own interests, passions, and the ability to make my own decisions. I learned what I was good at, and stayed away from what I didn’t excel in. I learned to love my body and what it could do as my self esteem grew into early adulthood.
But it seems to me that the experience of my adulthood, and especially my experience in formation, has been to breakdown the ego I spent the first part of my life building. Although each person is unique, God has been teaching me about our commonality and unity as being beloved of God. I have realized that while I can survive without asking others for help, in order to thrive, I must rely on the experience and wisdom of others. I am learning that while I am good at many things, I don’t know everything and still have a lot to learn. I recognize that being pushed out of my comfort zone into the realm of things I don’t excel at is necessary to further growth as a person. And this new phase of temporary profession and ministry is no exception.
God has placed within me a passion to accompany others on the journey. He especially has placed on my heart journeying with the poor and all that comes with it. My other passions, science, research, building and creating things, had built in skills developments within my schooling. And now, in pursuing these other passions that God has placed on my heart I am realizing that I don’t know anything. There is no school to teach me what poverty is like for those who live it. No class is going to be able to teach me how to make all the right decisions when walking with a person in a crisis situation. Only experience and listening to the advice and wisdom of those who have done this before me is going to teach me what I need to know. And for now, when I’m still learning, when I’m still experiencing, I need to remember to swallow my ego and ask for help.
After experiencing a situation in my new ministry where I felt over my head and like I couldn’t make the right decisions in the moment because of lack of experience or training, I asked God “how am I supposed to do this? I’m not cut out for this job. I just don’t know how.” I thought, I am broken, so how can I fix anything else?
Exactly, brokenness loves brokenness. Fixing is not the goal, love is.
I have spent so much of my life learning how to fix things, invent new solutions, discover the next best cure. But with ministry, with people, the goal is not to fix it, the goal is love and empowerment. And I need to remember that even when I am looking at outcome measures, even when I am evaluating the attendance patterns of my students, and especially when I am listening to a student’s story. I don’t need to fix you or the situation, I just need to love.