I didn't set out to be where I am now. When I pictured my life as a kid, I thought I'd be a school teacher. When we moved overseas when I was 13, my world immediately got bigger. After that, I couldn't imagine being in just one place or in one culture for the rest of my life.
In college, deciding what to do with my life was a challenge. I'd sensed a calling to ministry early in my life, but I wasn't sure I wanted to deal with the politics I'd seen growing up in a ministry family. My last year of college I grudgingly took a leap and was paid by a church to work with at-risk youth in the city. It ultimately turned out as I'd expected, and I ended up leaving that church and the ministry. It was pretty clear there was no place for me in that church, maybe any church.
The next few years I spent in conflict. How could I walk forward in calling without having a "ministry"?
And then one day, I figured it out. I'd begun working a regular job with regular people. Over time and many Euchre games, I became friends with several co-workers. And I began to have conversations with them--about anything and everything--including faith. Faith, belief, and relationship with God were topics that began to come up in everyday conversation.
It wasn't like I had an agenda. But when we talked about dating, for example, and I'd explain where I was coming from and why I wasn't dating every guy that crossed my path, I'd have to explain how my choices come from the values I have. And then I'd explain where my values come from. It always opened the door to some really interesting conversations about spirituality. And I was amazed at how open people were to hearing about my faith and how it affects my life.
It's been about 5 years since I began to see that loving the people around me and just being their friend is an amazing way to be in "ministry." As I walk beside people in life, I have an opportunity to speak into lives at every level--spiritual, emotional, and rational. This is such a gift.
And I've begun to see my life as an opportunity to impact the people around me. Married, single, Christian, Muslim, lawyer, student, teacher, roommate, friend... I want to be a part of encouraging, challenging, and blessing the people around me. Not because there's some outcome I'm looking for, but because I believe that's why I'm still hanging out here on earth.
For me, it goes back to the Genesis 12 covenant with Abraham, whom God blessed to be a blessing to the world around him. In my world, the first step is to be surrendered to God, sensitive to the Spirit's leading, and open to the people around me. I just want to be available to be a blessing, a servant, and a minister to the people here, in my today.