Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Me Report (pt. 1)

One of the best gifts I’ve ever received included a reproduction of an assignment I completed when I was 11 years old. It was called “The Me Report” and closely resembled one of those internet forwards where you fill in the blanks about yourself and then send it to 20 of your closest friends or else you’ll break your leg or lose $50 or some other such nonsense. Anyway, according to this report, I loved penguins and skateboarding and planned on becoming an orthopedic surgeon. (Not bad for 5th grade, huh?) I know a minister who has something similar in his office - only he filled out his when he was 6 and even then he knew he wanted to be a minister. If only things were so neatly laid out for all of us, right?

When I was in high-school I did all the things you are supposed to do when deciding what you should do with your life. I talked to guidance counselors and took the skills tests they recommended. I interviewed professionals and did internships on the job. From many peoples’ point of view, it would seem that all this effort was put to good use. I graduated from Messiah College with a dual degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering and landed what many would see as the perfect job working for a defense contractor in Virginia.

I had a great job, a nice car and a house before some of my friends were even done with school. And I was happy, at least at first. At the end of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (The real one, not the one with Johnny Depp.), Wonka asks and answers, “Do you know what happened to the boy who got everything he ever wanted? - He lived happily ever after.” While I wouldn’t say I had everything I ever wanted, it was fair to say I had quite a bit. You might think that would make the happiness last for quite a while, but you’d be wrong.

In time I started to realize that while I liked what I was doing and while I was good at what I did, it wasn’t what I was supposed to be doing. There was more for me out there, I was wasting my life doing something that only seemed really important.

Meanwhile, I realized that I had been interviewing some other professionals and doing some unofficial internships with the ministers at Antioch Christian Church. There, I met Paul and Dave, two ministers who were in their own ways a lot more like me than any ministers I had met before. What’s more, they took the time to get to know me as a person, to build a relationship with me and show me what its really like to live in the ministry. The more I got to know them, the more I knew what had been true all along - God did have a different calling for me.

What may seem like a big decision became no decision at all. I knew what I had to do, it was just a matter of diving in and not looking back. So, I resigned, put up the for sale sign and headed to Cincinnati, CCU and the next step in the journey that God had known all along.

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