I know it seems counter-intuitive – after all, I talk about it all the time on my blog so I must want to talk about it all the time with individuals, right?
But the truth is that I’m scared. I am scared that I can’t do it. That I can’t get into any halfway decent school because I’m not smart/don’t test well/went to a weird school for undergrad. I’m scared that nowhere will want me and the plan I’ve been building up for my future will be shot down before it even gets started and I won’t know what to do. I’m scared that just through the admissions process they will somehow see “the real me” that even I don’t know about and just intuitively know I am “not minister material.”
I’m terrified that even if I did get in I wouldn’t be able to afford it because of my crappy finances and student loan troubles. That I’d have to give up on it because I won’t be able to scrape together the money to pull it off.
And what if those two hurdles disappear, and I realize I can’t do it? I can’t “do” the biblical history classes or the polity classes or whatever and I just fail? What if I’m just simply not smart enough to do it all and I realize it’s not for me.
Are we sensing a theme here, folks?
So many things terrify me about the whole process. Pretty much every step terrifies me. Beyond what I’ve mentioned above…
The idea of the RSCC terrifies me – that I could go through almost 2 years of school and then have them say “yeah, no, you suck.” The MFC terrifies me – that, hell, I could finish school, have completed all or nearly all the steps and still be told, “No.” It terrifies me that at nearly every step that there is one group or even one person who can decide “yes” or “no” and have that be, essentially, the final answer.
And it scares me beyond what I can articulate that I may be able to get through all of that, with the applications and the paperwork and the committees and the internship and the actual school part of it and then, just… not have a place to work.
My identity is still a big barrier for a lot of folks and I recognize and even appreciate that. But it scares me. Just like every other step of this process, it scares me.
It’s pretty much recognized and accepted among friends (and I suppose most who read this blog regularly) that I intend to go into ministry. That is true, I do. I have stopped using “maybe” because, really, I wasn’t fooling anybody. I want to do it; if other things or people stand in my way then I may not, but it won’t be because I don’t want it or decide against it at this point. But the blocks do seem stacked against me.
But what I said above? That’s not what people want to hear when they ask where I am in my discernment process. They don’t want to hear “well… here are the seventeen and a half itemized reasons it won’t work complete with subcategories and footnotes.” At least, I assume that they don’t and even if they do I don’t really want to go through it with every person. Because I don’t want to hear, “I’m sure you’ll be fine.” Or “everyone is nervous when they start out!” or any other platitudes that don’t carry meaning. You don’t know that I’ll be fine, that I’ll find the money somewhere, that I’d be great in ministry, that a congregation will call me, that a school will accept me, that I’ll find an internship or any of the other myriad of things you’ve promised me. You don’t know that. You may have faith that I will, but you don’t know it.
Thank you so much for caring; for asking where I am and what I need. But what I need right now needs to come from within.
(also, do you REALLY think you won’t all know immediately? I mean, really – through some combination of twitter, facebook, this blog, texting, emails, or (for a very select few) exuberant phone calls… I promise, you’ll know)