Willfulness and Willingness

Once again, I got the letter, “We have received a number of great resumes including yours, but we have decided to go a different direction.” In other words, another rejection letter from a church. In fact, I got two in one day.

Was I disappointed I did not get the church? I am not sure, but I don’t think so. In fact, I have more a sense of acceptance and joy in that I am seeking the will of God. I wanted to go to this church very badly. It was my next deepest desire. However, my deepest desire is, “Not my will, but the Lord’s will.” This is the essence of indifference in the spiritual perspective of Ignatius of Loyola.

The reason I started looking for an open door back into the pastorate was because of a strong feeling of consolation when I made this decision. I am assured that this is what God wanted me to do. I feel good because the choice I made came out of discernment.

I know if I get a church, it is because God influenced the call. As far as human standards go, I would never get chosen. I am sixty-seven years old. I do not have a viable network to help me find a place. I have a history with several influential church former leaders who would go out of their way to try and prevent me from serving in a church again.

If I know I am facing such odds, why even try? I try because I feel assured it is the will of the one who called me to ministry in the first place. My heart is not troubled by rejection. My soul is at peace through my desire to be faithful. The challenges I face now are more difficult than I have faced in the past. People would think I am under more pressure now than crushing pressure that led to my not wanting to live. The difference is not my life is one of seeking willingness rather than willfulness. I am not trying through any manipulative efforts of my own. I will continue to do the work needed to be faithful and open to the discernment of spirits that helps me so much now.

The path toward obtaining a “state of indifference” is not an easy effort. There is no place for promoting self-image or believing one can do it by oneself. It takes a good amount of self-reflection and self-surrender but it is worth the peace that one obtains. Of this I give witness.