14.10.08

Is it normal?

I have started to ask my vicar lots of 'Is this normal?' questions when we meet up and so far he doesn't seem to think I'm mad, which is a relief. I am plagued by constant thoughts both affirming and unsettling. These are some of the things I think about.

Where does my ego end and God's will begin? So if I say - I think God has a plan for my life . Will that be discerned by some to be hugely egocentric? How come I can hardly admit to anyone, even myself, that I hope to serve one day in the ministry of the C of E in an ordained capacity? Why to say it, does it seem so daring, so wonderful and exciting, so out of reach perhaps, so agonising and terrifying and yet inevitable? Why does it make me smile to think it, even laugh out loud for its outrageousness?

Why do I worry that in wanting to spend time with God that I am somehow doing something indulgent? Why is it that I almost attribute to prayer, contemplation and silence a kind of guilt that pervades and unsettles as voices shout inside my head - what are you doing? Are you sure God wants this? Get up, go do something, be practical, be active, go do, do, do - better to clean the house, prepare the food or at the very least go and do something for a person who you know (or who you don't know) who needs your help - this would please God more. Stop thinking and praying, start doing! Who owns this voice? Do men think this way? Is this peculiar to women who are also wives and mothers like me or is this just peculiar to me? Do I think too much? Can I not just get on and do it- carve out for myself some type of career in the church? Does it really have to be so complicated? There are other women doing so - are they plagued by these thoughts?

Why do I stare at clerical vestments the way I used to stare at beautiful clothes? Why do I dare to think of colours - is this not ridiculous? Why do I so want to be identified in this way - is this my ego too?

How is that I can now look back on my life and see it so obviously peppered with God's directions? Why does it make me laugh that I hadn't worked this all out a long time ago? Why am I so desperate to make up for the time I might have wasted and yet so in love with the present moment whilst at the same time imagining a glorious future if it means only to study God's word and meditate on his precepts and shout his message into the world? Why does everything else pale into shadow? Should it pale into shadow?

You know as I write this and imagine you reading this and perhaps saying - yep, you're dreaming girl - it's just your ego. Get a life - a different kind of life, I reaise that at the same time, it isn't actually going to make an iota of difference. I will still feel the same way. Is this normal?...

1 comment:

Lynne said...

Yep. Perfectly normal.If God is calling you in a certain direction, He equips your heart for the task as well as your head. As long as your desire is to do these things because they seem wonderful things to do, not because you believe they'll make you a wonderful person, you have nothing to worry about. Why wouldn't a loving Father put in our hearts a desire for what He's calling us to become?

I remember being horrified some years ago by a missionary who told me she believed that if God gifts us in one area, He doesn't want us to serve according to our gift, because that would be self-indulgence, but rather He calls us to spend our lives doing the things He hasn't gifted us to do to prove our submission to Him. When you think about it, that's monstrous, unbiblical and has huge potential for abuse. Dying to self comes in by having to do our dreams His way, not ours, with willing love and the discipline to do them well, not by throwing the dreams He gives us back in His face, whatever some misguidedly pious folk might suggest to us.

Remember what Jesus said about Mary of Bethany? "She has chosen the better part and it shall not be taken away from her."

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A little background reading on the two theological integrities in the Church of England regarding women in ministry.