The Call – What Have We Learned?

Post a Comment » Written on March 20th, 2013     
Filed under: Testimonies and Stories
This post submitted by Pastor Catherine Gilliard, president of ACCW

I recently read an online article that posted a running list. It got me to thinking about an ongoing conversation I have been having with women clergy about their call. I have spent a great deal of time praying for and with women clergy who are in-between calls, without a call, or in transition, wondering whether they were ever really called. So I thought it would be helpful to start a running list of what it means to be called by God to encourage us to think more clearly about the call.

1) Discernment – With any call from God, there is a period of trying to understand just what the Lord is requiring of you. This is not a one time conversation, but a moment-by-moment unfolding of God’s plan for your life. You should expect resistance, distractions and unsolicited opinions about what God is asking of you. Use the Bible, prayer and trusted companions who demonstrate a committed walk in the Lord to help you discern your call. Listening is difficult during times of discernment, but clarity usually comes as we submit time to having conversations with God and people who model a long, committed walk in Christ.

2) Opportunities – With any call from God, there is a period of time where we need clarity about where to serve. This can be difficult because the structures of a denomination, conference, or local church, may be limiting your vision of where God is calling you to serve. Remember, it is God who makes room for your gift, not humans. Stay prayerful and open to new opportunities — remembering that an open door does not always mean that this is where you should enter and a closed door is not always a sign that you should not keep on knocking.

3) Waiting – Any call from God involves periods of waiting. No one likes to wait, but sometimes pausing, taking a break and waiting can bring much needed clarity. This season with God should not always be viewed as a desert or wilderness time of wandering. Waiting can be a time of refinement and growth. Waiting on a specific call also doesn’t mean we cannot minister, or that we need to become idle and not use our gifts of leadership. Active waiting can be a wonderful time to step out and move in a more authentic direction of call with a new freedom. Reframe waiting. Allow God, not others, to define what waiting looks like for you.

4) Anger – Anger can often be embedded in periods of transition. Sometimes our expressed anger reveals we are searching for affirmation and significance. Both affirmation and significance are found in faithful service and often in the least recognizable places of call. Women who faithfully serve without equal pay within the church may suppress anger. Women who are included — but not valued — in discussions and decision making, may harbor anger. Women who advocate for equality can be unjustly labeled as angry radicals. Remember, anger often kills the message God has given to you to speak. Learn to speak passionately, with power, so the message you are carrying can be heard. Being faithful and passionate in the midst of adversity is not easy, but often necessary to change the conversation. Find professional help and healthy ways to channel anger into productive places of call.

5) Leadership – Leading is difficult even in good seasons. Women leaders who have been marginalized are finding new ways of speaking up and speaking out. Too often, the journey for women leaders has been plagued with manipulation and barriers to limit their ability to use their gifts. Women leaders are often named good administrators, not leaders and when there are ‘quote’ — too many women in leadership, manipulation becomes an accepted process to make sure the gender balance doesn’t tip too far in the direction of having “too many women in charge.” When you become the pawn that is pushed out of the way, remember that your leadership will speak through the confidence you display that God is the one who opens the doors of opportunity for you.

I’ve gotten the ball rolling, what can you add to this list? What lessons have you learned?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Report This Post

Leave a Reply

Report This Blog