Saturday, February 28, 2009

High Anxiety

Ordination interviews are just around the corner….like 4 days away. Most of the process has been low stress for me. Sure, there was high stress when I wrote my commissioning papers 3 years ago, but once they were in it was smooth sailing. My first interview was a cake walk, 15 minutes with only one theological question (for which they basically handed me the answer), and then I knew 5 minutes later that I had passed. After that there was nothing to worry about because ordination was 3 years away and I had ministry to do. This fall the stress started again. Paper writing time. I wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote. Did I mention I wrote?!?! SEVENTY FIVE pages of reflections on my ministry and their questions. Thanks to my readers I got my papers edited and in ahead of time, so I could enjoy Thanksgiving weekend. Since then I have been stress free. I could have worried about the interview and all that, but why?!? I couldn’t change my papers at that point and didn’t know what the Board thought, so why stress it?!

I also believe in the process, and more than that I trust the Holy Spirit. I believe that God can make it work. If I’m supposed to pass and I don’t, God will make it work. If I’m not supposed to pass and I do, God will make it work. If I’m not supposed to pass and I don’t, God will make it work. If I’m supposed to pass and I do, God will make it work. You see? God will make it work. I trust that God will continue to use me in ministry no matter what the outcome on Tuesday. And that’s been my philosophy all along, which has generally meant, no stress.

That is until last weekend when it struck me that my interview was less than two weeks away. Then on Wednesday of this week I got my Board responses. Generally, they seem good. There weren’t any comments like, “(wo)man you really jacked this one up and are going to have to explain yourself up a storm if you want to pass this year.” But I’m still stressed.

There’s a lot riding on this….it’s my full ordination, it’s the official stamp of approval from the conference. And at the same time, there’s not a lot riding on it, I can come back next year after I’ve grown in ministry and I won’t have died from it. So really, it’s ok either way. I’d just really like to make it through this year because I have WAY better things to be doing next fall than rewriting papers I’ve already written….

Needless to say I need prayers for peace. And I need more prayers for the Board, that they would be wise and discerning (whatever that might mean for my ordination this year). I’m debating reminding my congregation that this is the week. On the one hand, I want their prayers, I believe that prayers make a difference. On the other hand, I don’t want to have to tell 100+ people that I didn’t pass while I’m still grieving the fact that I didn’t pass….To tell them is to risk. It’s a big risk. And I suppose that since our theme this year is “Stepping out in faith to share God’s love” I should take that leap of faith, trust in my call and the way God has worked through me in ministry, and hope with all my might that the Board affirms that this coming week, oh yeah, and ask for those coveted prayers…

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