Is My Viewmaster Broken? (discernment)

(Holly, YOU are a fabulous friend. The name of the toy was driving me up the wall)

This is a View-master:

Put the round disc in, look through the eye pieces, and it’s all magically 3D. Pretty darn cool. I thought so when I was 4 and I still love it at 23.

Sometimes I like to think of life like that. One picture, one thing you are being presented with, but you need to look at it from all angles to get the full depth and clarity. This can apply to your whole life, every aspect from what you ate for dinner to what you majored in in college to your first date (aka: learning from your past), or to specific life situations (applying what you’ve learned to one thing).

Situation: I am considering ministry.


  • A number of friends have told me they think I would function well in a ministerial capacity (in a way less awkwardly formal sounding way)
  • A number of ministers have told me they think I have potential and that if this is something I want to pursue that they would love to talk to me about it
  • It is truly the only career that I have considered that makes me go “that makes sense to me”
  • I love helping people
  • Most of my friends wanted to be doctors or astronauts or lawyers or actors or politicians when I was in middle school. I wanted to go into ministry


  • I want this.

Ok, I said it. I want this. Not that I want a call to ministry, not that I want a job that, let’s be honest, pays next to nothing and that because of various aspects of my identity will be difficult for me, but I do want this. I have spent the last half a year trying to convince myself otherwise. Reading things on and offline about how ministry can destroy you, how it’s really hard, how this and that and the other thing.

I have spent a lot of the last six months basically living on the UUA website, googling various things about ministers, both UU and other. Reading and reading and reading and talking to people and reading some more. I even stepped way the hell out of the normal Andy-is-really-awkward bubble and emailed the alumni association at my school, asked for names of any grads who had gone into ministry, and then contacted the one grad from my school who went on to be come a UU Minister. We talked. It was great.

I NEVER do stuff like that. NEVER.

As I read more and learn more I keep finding myself thinking “yes” or “I can do this” or “that sounds wonderful.”

I want this.

But my view-master is broken. I am not looking at all the angles. I am seeing only a static picture. All of the dimensions aren’t clear to me. Because I want this I am ignoring a lot of the parts that just make this not make sense.

There’s a lot of work, a lot of money, a lot of time, just a lot of “stuff” that goes into becoming a minister. Interviews and credentialing and internships and sponsorships and, you know, just stuff. A lot of “stuff.” A lot of “stuff” that I DON’T know I could make it through. I tend to think of myself as “less than” or not as capable as other people. I am starting, just starting, to learn that that’s not true. Talking to my friend Jill last night she told me that she hates to see me beat up on myself, and I tried to explain that I wasn’t “beating up on myself” I was saying things that are true from my reality.

Squinting my left eye closed and looking at everything from a 45° angle? Yeah, this is something I could do.

Looking at it through the view-master? With both eyes open, my glasses on, and the ability to examine each piece individually? Still looks like a ridiculous pipe-dream from there.


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