I don’t know what I expected but I didn’t expect this.
It was our five-year review. At least I guess it’s a five-year thing. They’ve happened somewhat randomly throughout our 20+ years as Salvation Army pastors.
This review skipped the basics, the stuff that tells you how you’re doing or the perception of how you’re doing and went straight to the goals. As in, ‘what are three goals you have?’
I sat silent.
He didn’t want to hear what I was thinking. That Hudson is just shy of 4 years from retirement and my goal is to get through and get out. How’s that for goals?
Finally, a few things were scratched out…I mentioned a certification one of our counselors has encouraged me to get and we talked about that and a possibility of schooling for an advanced certification in addictions counseling.
It all sounded good and met the needs of the review. Whew, that was close!
Then I got an email inquiring about checking on my credits and what would be needed to finish a degree and reality set in and I realized this goal thing was serious.
And one standard review woke me up from my comfortable coasting. It woke me to the reality of what’s next? What is that thing that will always be there when I’m not required to do this or that?
Those thoughts swirled through my mind for days as I needed to peel off layers of expectations, perceptions and obligations. I need to find the basics that make me want to learn and share.
Then I wrote this email:
“As I have thought about our conversation, talked to Henry (who seems to know me better than I know myself) and let these things settle in my heart, I think my real desire, is indeed, communicating; communicating a story of grace and hope and the beauty of God.”
And then I shared it with three friends because to say it makes it real and, hopefully, makes me accountable. But to say it here? I’m taking a deep breath now.
My heart isn’t with the certification for addictions counseling even though I could make money doing that in retirement. My real desire is to tell stories; through words (written and spoken) and or pictures, (photo’s or art).
I’m not sure how it will look right now but I’m looking around to find out. It’s not an obvious thing or easily quantified in our standardized goals but I feel settled about it. In the way that I’m not questioning it or wishy-washy. I don’t have a goal to write a book or be a commercial success but to hone the talents I’ve been given to continue to learn and grow and share God’s story of grace.
There is a lot of unknown. But this unknown has me excited for the possibilities God has ahead.
The first person I shared this with has this on her Facebook status today. Maybe it’s not just for me but for you too.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10