I can't shake the feeling. I am wracked with guilt and I don't know if it is justified or not. I feel like I am giving up on God. I know in reality I am only giving up on a profession or vocation and even then it doesn't have to be a permanent cessation. I know that I was only called specifically to go to seminary and there was no time stamp attached to the proposition. I know all of this. Yet I still feel guilty. I spent years of my life, YEARS, thinking that I was going to be going to seminary, I switched my plans from art in a heartbeat, there was no second-guessing or doubt. It was what it was and I was going to do it. That's what I was told to do, and I had no problem doing it.
Until people started to get involved. People can ruin everything. There. I said it. People make simple things infinitely more complicated than they need to be. All of the sudden people who had no problem with me up until this point seemed to have every problem in the world with me and what I was doing. My call had more implications than I could imagine. My thoughts of going to seminary, let alone being a pastor, shook people to their core. It made friendships more difficult and alienated people from me and I from them. The second half of my high school career was not easy. I came to blows more than once with people who couldn't see why I wanted to preach and teach the word of God to people in a pastoral setting. Some people made it clear that if I wanted to do that in a Sunday school setting or be a missionary that would be fine, but Heaven forbid it would be in a church. From a pulpit. Wearing a robe. Teaching grown-ups... men. SHOCKING!
Yes, I'm railing on, I know. But it's my blog. I'm allowed to. But the point really is that I put my heart and soul- literally- into this aspiration. And I did it because God told me to. I'm not making this up. Why would I make something up that became so gut-wrenching it hurt some days? I don't mean to diminish the valiant efforts of those who did support me. I am sorry if I am coming off that way. However, I think we can all relate to the thought, right or wrong, that sometimes a lot of bad can seem to overshadow a lot of good. I know I too often focus on the bad things. I am sorry for that.
My guilt comes from the feeling that I fought for naught. I said that women can do anything in ministry. I said that I was going to do it, regardless of what they all thought or believed. So what am I thinking? I feel guilty, guilty, guilty that I'm leaving it all behind. I guess I'm also too focused (I realize as I am writing this) on the thought that I was supposed to fight that fight for me, but more so for all of the other women who were going through the same thing, maybe those who needed more strength than just they could provide for themselves. I'm not delusional enough to think that it's easy or that I could have done it on my own had I continued on the seminary track. There's no way. My fight was bigger than me.
I'm not giving up or conceding to the other side. My position remains as it always was: women can go into the ministry and they belong in seminary. Just because I'm not going doesn't mean that I've somehow reverted to antiquated thinking. God sometimes has other plans, as I well know. Maybe that was a short-term battle, but perhaps it was preparing me for a bigger one. In either case, I now know how to fight for what you believe is right... and you can never be to young to learn that lesson.