Am I doing something because I think it will be good for me and I want to do it, or because I know deep within myself that God is calling me?
Revd Michelle Martin was ordained as a deacon at Bristol Cathedral on Saturday 28 June by the Bishop of Swindon, Rt Revd Dr Lee Rayfield. Here she reflects on her own sense of calling.
Sometimes it is hard to discern God's calling from our own plans. Am I doing something because I think it will be good for me and I want to do it, or because I know deep within myself that God is calling me? This was the question I asked myself time and time again over the many years that I thought about whether ministry was right for me. I came to understand that we dont always need to separate the two.
It wasnt until I looked back that I could see God's hand guiding me throughout all that I have done - when I first began to hear a calling in my late teens at a big Christian youth event, how nursing deepened my passion for pastoral care, how I learned and developed leadership skills in my home church, and through working as a ministry assistant and going on to college.
As I began to explore whether ordained ministry was right for me, I began to discover that the things I was passionate about, the things I enjoyed doing and those areas of my life in which I was discovering gifts were all pointing one way. I have just finished three years at theological college. I have no doubt that I have spent the last three years in the place where I was meant to be.
At the time I couldnt see it, I felt frustrated that God was not making His plans known to me. Now that I look back, I can see so clearly how God has used my experience and passions to lead me to where I am today. Ive learnt so much about how we cant always see God at work when we are in the heart of our experiences. But often we can look back and God's presence and guidance are so clear. God has promised to be with us always, and He is.