Why would I want to rock the boat? Why would I want to change things now? Why, when everything seemed to be going so well, would I possibly want to consider becoming ordained?
It's been a long road to travel, and I won't lie, at times it's been really hard going.
The journey to the wonderful world of vicardom is not a particularly quick or easy one. I should know - I've been on it for about three years already, and I figure I've got another few years ahead of me before I'm fully cassocked-up: first as a curate (a sort of apprentice priest), then as a priest in my own right with responsibly for 'the cure of souls' in my parish. Quite a responsibility, hey?
They call it 'hearing the call', and for me, that's language I can relate to.
The time between first hearing the call and doing something about it was relatively long. I began my journey whilst I was living and working in Cambridge. I had, at the time, a number of friends who were studying to become vicars at one of the ordination colleges in the same city. Every time that I would speak with them, their words resonated loudly in my head. Their stories and desires, their hopes and dreams, these were ones with which I could easily relate, and which seemed to overlap with my own life. Something was being birthed in me - a passion and excitement at the possibility that my life may take a similar course. Yet for the time being, I did nothing about it.
Circumstances changed, I changed, yet the call was still the same. The unavoidable message being voiced through new conversations and new friendships, was still there: "You'd make a great vicar", "Have you thought about the possibility of getting ordained?"
I had of course I had. Yet life seemed like it was presenting a different route to me now. I was excelling in a new occupation, thriving in a new location, loving in a new relationship, and I was happier than I had been for a long time. Why would I want to rock the boat? Why would I want to change things now? Why, when everything seemed to be going so well, would I possibly want to consider becoming ordained?
Yet the call was too strong for me to avoid. I knew that I had to do something about it. So I did. I made contact with the appropriate people, and I began meeting with them at regular intervals. For the past three years these people have stood by me, challenged me, advised me, prayed for and prayed with me. I have laughed and cried. I have known times of happiness, and sadness. I have thought long and hard about the route my life has taken up to this point, and route that it may take in the future. I have learnt a lot about myself, the church, this world, and those who live in it.
You see, I've come to realize that it's not about me, it's about God. It's about travelling in the direction He wants me to go. It's about being in the place He wants me to be and doing the things He wants me to do. It's about responding to His call. For me, I believe this is a call to ordination.
So this isn't about my story well, it is but it's really about me playing my part in His.
Joel Mennie is currently training as an ordinand at Trinity College, Bristol
It can take a long time to realise something, even though we sort of know it already. Pray for a mind to discern.
Is there a boat you think might need rocking? Ask God the Holy Spirit to move the waters.
What have you already been working on for years? Ask for encouragement to stick with it.
Meditate through the day
God calls every single thing to its fullest life.