Coming Out of the Discernment Closet

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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:

“Good luck!”

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.

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3 thoughts on “Coming Out of the Discernment Closet

  1. I love the confidence that God has given you to say, "I'm just the right person for the job." One of my favorite quotes comes from the Vatican II Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World: "The message of the Gospel is in harmony with the most secret desires of the human heart." I took me half a lifetime to figure out that my most secret desire was the serve God and God's church. May you be showered with blessing in this new journey of yours Cortney.

  2. Perhaps the people saying 'Good Luck' mean 'Good luck in being certain that what you're currently hearing is God's calling.' And I guess there's always some sort of uncertainty; you're simply collecting more and more information in order to better determine the range of uncertainty…trying to narrow that bell curve 😛

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