Thursday, February 17, 2011

Discerning to Discern my Discernment

"True teaching will issue from Zion, God's revelation from Jerusalem. He'll establish justice in the rabble of nations and settle disputes in faraway places. They'll trade in their swords for shovels, their spears for rakes and hoes. Nations will quit fighting each other, quit learning how to kill one another. Each man will sit under his own shade tree, each woman in safety to tend to her own garden." Micah 4:1-4

Currently in YAVsphere we are working both individually and as a group to complete vocational discernment. Ultimately, what that means is each one of us to trying to figure out where we feel called to go in the future. For some of us it could be grad school, or what career field we want to pursue in first place. 

For me this is very confusing. I have no idea where exactly I feel called. The above quote from Micah was apart of one of our discernment exercises. In the exercise we were supposed to paint a picture of God's will in that scripture, figuring out what it would look like, who would be in it, and what are people doing, and most of all what am I doing?

My gut reaction to this exercise was "really?" How is anyone supposed to gain something specific from something so abstract? 

We recently had a young adult meeting for volunteers across the city at a church in the lower 9th ward. The lower 9th ward is one of the poorest districts in New Orleans. We went to a Episcopal church and the Reverend Lionel Edmonds spoke to us about the ministry they do in that neighborhood. About the children who are ten and eleven years old reading at third grade level, and the young girls with low self esteem falling into bad habits. He spoke to the importance of education and the tutoring program they use to intercede into the lives of these kids to help them strive for something better. Listening to this man speak with such conviction and emotion left me feeling reassured about the things I am passionate about. 

That is when this excerpt from Micah and the question of exercise came to mean a lot more.  What am I doing? I am working hard to create sustainable Christian Education programs for my church, to inspire the youth in my church to meet once a week, to change New Orleans one interaction at a time. Most all I am pushing to find out what it means to truly live out the passion that the Spirit fills me with. I tutor a young boy who is like many of the children Rev. Edmonds sees in his program. Working with him as taught me a lot about myself, what I want for America and our education system. Children like him can so easily falls through the cracks, and they do not deserve to. 

What does that picture look like in Micah? It looks like a nation who stops waging war on foreign soil and comes back to focus on reaping and sowing the greatness within their own citizens to create a place for every man and woman. We talk of peace, but what are we doing in our lives to create it? Each man with a tree, each woman with a garden. Something for everyone through hard work. We must pick up the shovels and pipe down our egos. 

I might still be unclear on the exact path I am taking and figuring it all out might take a while. But I will stick with what I know deep in my heart is right. I will reach out my hand to those who need it, and I will not pick and choose what those people look like. Most of all I will live God's way. "But what happens when we live God's way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way the fruit appears in an orchard - things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely" (Galatians 5:22-23). 

I cannot change the choices others make, but I can determine my own. Our choices are all we have. I choose to love. 

Hence my Diatribe...
My tutee Manny and Me