Monday, February 11, 2013

My life's Mission

“We want to do more than plod through life, going to work, coming home from work. We want to find that special joy, “That no one can take from us.” Which comes from having a sense of Mission in our life. We want to feel we were put on this earth for some special purpose, to do some unique work that only we can accomplish. We want to know what our mission is” –Richard N. Bolles

One year ago tomorrow was a big day for me. After a frustrating day at work leaving me questioning my career and vocation, I went to find a sanctuary to spend some time thinking and praying in (this is one of my favorite ways to connect with God- to be alone and silent in an empty church). I went to several churches in Minneapolis, and found that most closed their sanctuaries after 5:00pm. Finally, I discovered the Hennepin Avenue United Methodist church. I wandered into the dark sanctuary, round in design with a brilliant 8 point star capping the ceiling and permitting small bits of light to filter in from the above steeple.
I sat there engulfed by the dark church, scared first, then excited, then finally calming down. The room reverberated with an intense presence, as if the room was pulsing with something invisible rather than empty. My thoughts cleared, my worries calmed.
I then began an exercise suggested to me by a coworker: sit quietly with a piece of paper, and write down the words that come to you- that inspire you. So I began- with the hope that these words would help me find some direction, some clearer path to follow. Some of the words that covered the page included: happiness, inspiring love and compassion, writing, orating, growth, bold leadership, uniting others, people, mind, natural beauty. Then, after sitting and praying with these words in front of me for several minutes, with a quiet mind and openness to God, new words echoed in between my ears: “Fostering Community in Israel”. The longer I sat with the words the more sure I became that they were the ones I was supposed to hear. I was elated and terrified, confident of the message but unsure of the meaning or how to carry it out. I left the church with new conviction and confidence.
This experience catapulted me into a year of searching. This blog was a reaction to that experience, as well as many conversations with pastors, friends, family and strangers. I have gone all over the spectrum with reacting to that statement “Fostering community in Israel”- from pushing to move over to Israel for a year ASAP to pretending this revelation did not occur and just going on with my life.
I mean Israel? Out of all the places… I mean when I was in Israel I was definitely drawn to the country, the people. But put my life towards it? Have it be a part of my vocation? I’m still wrestling with that- Israel was never a part of my long term plan. In fact, Israel literally means: “To wrestle with God” according to my pastor. The irony is not lost on me.
What I am present to right now is frustration. The last year now doubt has been made in my relationship with God, I feel I have been tested in a variety of ways in the last year- in the arenas of money, personal relationships, career, time management, successes and failures. I have practiced patience, faith, compassion. I have been humbled and have failed at things I have set out to do. I have learned the bible better, stepped into a faith community, served others.
Yet I am still in the same job, experiencing the similar worries, still wondering what is next for me, feeling like although I have learned a lot where I am that my work at Medtronic is not it for me. And I genuinely want to serve, to commit my life to making a difference. But I also am still unsure, scared, questioning. I wonder sometimes if I am just full of myself- who am I to think I can save the world and demand from God to live an extraordinary life of service? Do I even have what it takes?
My pastor suggested I just consider ‘going’ to Israel- to see what I experience. It has been a year and I haven’t even accomplished that! I am scared to! I do not know what I would be doing there. I don’t logistically know how to make it work!
So that is where I am on my faith journey right now. My path feels more circular than linear. I have more questions than answers, more problems than solutions.
I think I need to continue to look to God and the community of people around me. To be open, do my best to be patient, be willing to have faith, be fearless. To not only talk about my faith but live my faith out. And even if it is uncomfortable, I will continue to wrestle with my confusion, my worries and insecurities. Because it is worth it to me to have a bigger picture dictate my life rather than those types of thoughts. And I will keep my eyes open for the impending miracle.

“When we do the best that we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another.” –Helen Keller


  1. Kelsie, I am just going to tell you the clear message that came through to me in reading your last post. While you are at a time at uncertainty and confusion, to me the message you received seems clear (as an outsider sometimes the perspective is easier). You spelled out the meaning of Israel yourself here. "Foster a community to wrestle with God" or "Fostering a community in wrestling with God." Which is clearly what you are doing with this blog. You are posting your thoughts and others are commenting--you are wrestling with God and with the right questions, and God loves your questions. You are causing others to pause and question, and you are good at it!! Wrestling with God is a lifelong process, and creating a community to do this with is so important for us all in our growth as people of God!!! So to me, you are clearly doing what you were called to do. I know this may not seem as clear of a message as you would like, as it doesn't answer lots of big questions about your own personal job or future, it just compels you forward perhaps in what you are already doing. I think you must be on the right path!! But who knows, if an opportunity to go back to Israel comes up, I can see why you may jump on it!!

  2. The thought that occurs to me is that perhaps the concept of Israel refers to the larger concept of God's chosen people; not just the nation of Israel. God's people, his chosen people, are those who wrestle with the faith and their understanding and relationship with God. Those people are everywhere; in our community and in every country of the world. Therefore, your clarifying moment could have been a more general call to foster community among God's people, wherever they are found.