The last few Wednesdays, and the next few, have been set aside for compiling a portfolio of my last two years working as a pioneer curate. The material is all there in various places (blog, journals, podcasts etc) and I now need to draw stuff from it and put it into an 8000 word essay to satisfy the particular authorities that I am learning and reflecting adequately on my experiences. You may well detect some sarcasm there … and you would be right as I think there is a lost opportunity here for some creativity but … that’s another story!
A large part of pulling the portfolio together has involved me in reading through old blog posts and journal entries. This week I came across this writing in my journal for 31st October 2008. This is 8 weeks in to my visiting places:
‘I’m finding this really difficult as I don’t think I’m particularly good at small talk. I don’t think I find it easy to naturally talk to men either. I’m not sure how to do this other than ‘hello’, ‘how are you?’, or ‘are you having a good day?’ This is tough and I am not sure what to do or how to achieve any sort of balance here. How do I make progress here?’
I had forgotten I had written this nearly 2 years ago. I remember genuinely feeling that I did not have the ability to just be able to talk to people that I do not know. I remember feeling pretty useless and wondering whether I had this all wrong. I look back now and realise that I have been able to do what I have been called to; that I am able to engage with many different people in conversation and that I was just not aware that I could.
I have been reminded this week that first and foremost God calls …. when we respond God then gives us the gifts to fit that calling. As I look back over just 2 years I am quite stunned by what God has given me the ability to do. It has been fairly scary and I have been on a steep learning path – but as I look back I am quite amazed at how God has equipped me with new gifts to do a new thing.
So … what have I learned? First and foremost God calls, when we respond, or step forward, then God equips. That’s a pretty amazing thing to hold on to.