Poor Wally is tired, I bet.
He was lamenting a bit that his various vocations kept him pretty busy this week and were preventing him from carrying out his vocation of Christian Blogger Extraordinaire 😉 I can relate.
There was a time when I desired (uh-oh!) to enter into full-time church work. I was so involved in the various ministries of our church that I began to desire to be able to devote myself to it full time. I thought of it as my real work, far more important than my normal 9 to 5 desk job. I wanted to be a deaconess! I enrolled in Concordia Seminary to study and was ready to go, but in the end I didn’t. That’s a whole other long story, but what it basically came down to was God said “no” to my plans.
I struggled with that for a long time. I was truly heartbroken by it. Lord, I want to serve you! Are you rejecting me? Am I not fit to serve?
I had been so sure that the desire in my heart was a holy one! That God Himself had created the desire to serve Him in this way. And realizing that He didn’t really threw me for a loop. If I couldn’t trust what I thought to be a God-given desire, what could I trust?? How could I have been so wrong? And if I couldn’t trust any of this, how could I ever figure out what God’s plan for me, personally, would be? I felt lost.
I’m not exaggerating when I say that this was a traumatic event in my life. I can’t explain why it affected me so deeply, but it did. It took me a couple of years to mourn and come to terms with it. Until my husband had his affair, it was the single most traumatic event in my life and the sense of loss was hard to accept.
Towards the end of my “mourning period”, I happened to be doing a lot of study on Luther’s theology of the Cross, which is closely connected to – of all things – his doctrine of Christian vocation.
Just as a side note, the “theology of the Cross” and the doctrine of vocation are probably the two teachings that have most influenced my thinking on the Christian life. I continue to draw heavily on the insights I learned from them, but coming across the stuff on vocation in my time of mourning/questioning did more than all the other healing combined, in helping me come to terms with “my loss”. I think it’s fair to say that meditating on Luther’s understanding of vocation – he has some wonderful, little known insights – was instrumental in finally healing my pain and doubts. He beautifully unfolded God’s word for me in a way that helped me make sense of my life again.
You know that saying, “once you see it, you can’t unsee it”? That’s what it’s like. The insights I drew from these teaching profoundly affected how I understand the Christian life; they have become the “lens” through which I approach the Scriptures and Christian piety.
But as important as it has become to me, I’ve never been able to articulate it well. I’ve tried to write about it at least a half a dozen or so times, but everything I’ve started has either ended up in the trash folder or is currently sitting unfinished in my drafts folder. 😕
Looking online for some inspiration, I came across this helpful summary of the doctrine of vocation and, rather than re-summarize it for you, I thought I’d simply just share it. He explains it much better than I ever could.
If you have 20 minutes to spare, give it a look. I guarantee you will look at your vocation in a whole new light!