trust

sunrise“Trust is, like, life man.”
-Random quote from the movie Good Will Hunting.

I’m thinking about trust these days. Trusting myself, trusting others, trusting life, trusting G-d. Life is full of so much uncertainty and chaos that certainty, stability, predictability all seem completely absent. Funny thing is that in our universe, which may seem chaotic and unpredictable, organization and predictability are actually abundant. I would have never guessed that some of the areas in my life where I’ve found order lately would have ever emerged, but lo and behold, there it is, order emerging from chaos.

As pastor of a church I see this ordering of chaos happen a lot. There are lots of people and lots of ideas and lots of crises and it amazes me how so often the right people line up with the right project at the right time and everything falls into place.

I’ve also seen this in my dating life, a chaotic mix of sites and people and dates and suddenly I find myself face-to-face with someone who actually matches up with my personality and interests and I am shocked at how amazingly well we connect.

I believe in and trust in a G-d and a universe that conspire using friendly chaos to constantly shake us up and re-settle us into new patterns of life and flourishing. Trusting is about learning to see the potential in even the most chaotic of situations for even that chaos to be redeemed and made new.

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discerning

purple berriesI feel I should write something about discernment, since being discerning about all sorts of things has been a huge theme in my life for, well, over a year now. Maybe discernment is always a theme in life… we’re always re-evaluating what it is that we’re doing in life and where we could make changes. Or maybe not, maybe it’s just me, or maybe it’s just sometimes that this kind of long-term prayerful decision making takes place.

My spiritual director once shared this quote by Nancy Reeves with me: The process of discernment assumes that we are trying to choose a path that leads to goals consistent with the divine urge to love, and a desire for healing, growth, justice and freedom. I like this because those criteria have become part of the testing ground for any decision I make these days: is what I’m doing perpetuating love, healing, growth, justice, and freedom in my life and in the lives of others? Where can my gifts best do those things?

So I’ve discerned the need to change roles at my retail job to a more customer-service role, which I think fits better with my skills at working with people and being a non-anxious presence. I’ve also discerned that I will stay on as pastor only until my term comes up in July, and then won’t run again, which will allow me to go back to school again – which was actually what I discerned first, that it was time to return to my studies (albeit on new terms). And I’ve also discerned that the feeling I had that I immediately need to give up the pastor role in the spring can actually be assuaged by just giving up the money tied to the role, because it seems to be burdensome to me, oddly enough, or rather the ensuing expectations are burdensome.

So, starting in January, I will experiment with being a temporary theology professor, volunteer pastor (the norm in the Community of Christ), part-time retail employee, and student taking one class, all at the same time. This is of course in addition to the usual roles of friend, niece, cousin, sister and daughter that are always part of my life, and in addition to my quest to find a romantic relationship. We’ll have to wait and see how it all turns out!

I think that for me, life is probably always a little bit experimental, always in process, always in flux; and all of that takes constant discernment to discover if my life is aligning with the divine urge to love, and a desire for healing, growth, justice and freedom.

How about you? What are your discernment criteria? What discernments are you working on? What experiments are you running in your life right now? What potential experiments are on the horizon?