Telling people that I’m discerning a call to ordained ministry can make me a little anxious. I don’t know for sure, but I imagine it’s a much milder version of what gay people feel when they come out of the closet. And I think the response I get is similar also.
There’s the over-supportive: “Ohmygosh, yes, definitely. You should be ordained tomorrow.” This was an actual response from someone I had met 10 minutes beforehand.
There’s the under-supportive: “Oh…”
There’s the I-knew-all-along: “Oh, yeah, I could have told you that when you were 16.”
There’s the mildly intrusive: “Can you still have sex?” (yes)
But ultimately, the anxiety comes down to the fact that I am still discerning a call, which means somewhere I have to acknowledge the possibility that maybe, perhaps I’m misunderstanding God, and my ordination is not a part of the plan. In which case I’d have to go back and un-tell all those people. “I thought I was hearing ‘ordained ministry’ and it turns out he was saying ‘maintained poultry.’ I’m going to start a free range chicken farm.”
Which brings me to what I most don’t like to hear when I tell people I’m in discernment:
I know this is coming from such a well-meaning place, but I like to think that if discernment is done right, luck plays no part in it. The outcome of my discernment isn’t a reflection of how good or bad I am, or how hard I’ve worked. Ordained or not, my only goal is to be the Cortney God wants me to be. And I can already tell you, I’m just the right person for that job.