Our theme for 2019 is “The Body” so lets dive in today with the blog…..
The Body living in the in between
Eric Balmer is a student at Truett Seminary at Baylor University. He is pursuing his M.Div. (2020) and hopes to enter into full-time ministry after he graduates. Eric is originally from Cincinnati, Ohio and has been a lifelong Cincinnati sports fan (unfortunately). In 2016, he graduated from Georgetown College (KY.), where he studied Communication and Media Studies. In his free time, Eric enjoys good conversation over coffee, watching Netflix (who doesn’t?), and playing guitar.
Uncertainty is never a comfortable place. Perhaps that’s why people love reminiscing about the past and keeping positive memories alive. There is a certain comfort in knowing where you’ve been, remembering the times of pure joy, laughter, and success. Many of us might think back to victories we had in the sports arena, cherished family traditions, or the giddiness felt in the start of a new relationship. Those memories cannot be changed. Positive past life experiences are cemented and stable.
However, the future is never certain, which can leave the present to be full of anxiety. Recently, I have found myself in a state of uncertainty. After resigning from my first youth ministry position at a church, though I was confident it was because of God’s leading, I am uncertain what the next steps should be. It was over a process of over several months full of praying, listening, talking with friends and mentors I trust, that I felt God directing my path elsewhere.
The only problem was I had no idea where the elsewhere could be.
But maybe that wasn’t a problem at all. As Americans, we have been conditioned to plan, plan, plan. Even from the time I was in middle school, I remember being told by teachers to think about where I wanted to attend college and the type of career I would pursue. Because society has trained us to constantly prepare for the future, when things do not go according to our plan, we become lost. Many are under this sort of pressure. It should give us pause to think that our students in youth ministry face similar pressures in their own lives.
When plans go awry, it causes us to get beyond our own headspace and draw us to ask real, tough questions of God. We do our students a disservice if we don’t encourage them to inquire about difficult topics of faith and life. Bringing our questions and doubts to God and to our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ is exactly what we should do.
In all of life’s uncertainty, God is simply calling for us to “go” and follow him. Many times, we are not going to know where the destination is or the steps along the way. In Genesis, God calls Abram and tells him to “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you” (Genesis 12:3 NIV). God makes a covenant with him to make him a great nation, to bless him as well as to bless others through his family. Although God told Abram this, there was still so much uncertainty. Who would be his heir and who will be the mother? What land will be given to him? Why do I have to leave my family? All these questions are valid but left unanswered at first.
By faith, Abram left his homeland and family to pursue the call God had for him. Likewise, no matter what stage of life we are in, God is calling us to follow him on a pilgrim journey. Our destination will be revealed later, and the route we travel will not always be smooth. After all, the people of Israel endured much in Egypt and the wilderness.
However, God always remained faithful to them. Knowing that God remains faithful to us just as much in the in-between times as well as the times of great triumph can change our perspective.
As I have reflected more about what I might need, it seems to be clear I need to rest. God calls us all to rest, but sometimes we neglect that fact. In scrambling to try to find the next big task, we lose track of the still, small voice inviting us to just be.
Now, this doesn’t mean we must quit our jobs and rid ourselves of all our responsibilities, or neglect all planning all the time, but it may mean that we have a different attitude during the times when our lives seem dull or when God is not working the way we think he should. God is always moving us to action, but we must constantly seek his Spirit in faith to know where we need to be.