I am still processing the truths revealed to me during the IF: Gathering last month. God laid so many convictions on my heart that weekend, it's taken me weeks to sift through it all! One of the things that stuck out to me was the analogy that discerning our calling in life is often like a stepping stone path across a river. God leads us from one stepping stone to the next as He reveals His will for our life. After a while, we can look behind us and see a path that has emerged.
Sometimes we land on a stone for a day or two before moving to the next. And sometimes we land on a stone for a year or two (or five in my case haha!) when it comes to seeking and fulfilling our calling. Each stone, each lesson and stage in life has something to offer. No matter how long we are there, God uses that place to teach us, grow us and speak to us about what He desires from us.
Thankfully, the Lord has been really patient with my heart over the years as He has lead me through this path. I love how He hasn't pushed me or rushed me to move faster than my heart can handle. He has allowed me to take the time I need to explore, shake off fear, learn more about myself, change and grow.
I've landed on many stepping stones in my life, but I haven't moved much in the last few years. Until recently. I think one of my first recent steps was the decision to go back to grad school. The next stone was actually doing it (it's easy to say you're going to do something and then conveniently "forget" or get distracted along the way isn't it?). To be honest, I've been a little worried about what the next stepping stone would be.
My fear was that God was going to put me back into a little square room with 2 chairs and 50 minutes on the clock. My fear was that He was going to point me in the direction of becoming counselor again. That He was going to lead me right back to the place that I left 5 years ago. But after much prayer and seeking Him I feel certain now that He is not asking me to go back down that road (hallelujah!).
"Sometimes God shows you who you are NOT before He shows you who you ARE."- Christine Caine
I am so not a counselor. And I doubt I ever will be. At least in the "traditional" counseling sense. I've felt such clear conviction on my heart recently that God knows I am not cut out to be a counselor and He is not going to force me to become something or someone that I am not. And what a weight I feel lifted off my shoulders as I begin to feel God assure me of that truth! I finally feel free to shake off the burden of feeling like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. Now I get to dream and explore other avenues that God might be calling me to. I get to stop worrying that He's going to ask me to be something that I'm not. Oh sweet relief!
I feel like I'm one stepping stone closer to crossing this river in front of me. Actually, maybe I'm 3 steps closer. I feel like I've been given permission to shed my presupposition that I have to go back to the traditional sense of counseling in order to fulfill my calling. The release of that expectation I placed on myself has freed me up to explore any and all possibilities that might be awaiting me.
I'm also learning to embrace the fact that just because private practice counseling has been scratched off the list of possibilities doesn't mean that other forms of helping people are off the table as well. Life coaching, victim advocacy, spiritual coaching, crisis counseling, non-profit work, prison ministry, social work and about 2 dozen other things...all still very much on the table.
In fact, last week I was offered a position as a spiritual coach/mentor within a Christian ministry focused on helping people break free from the bondage of diets, food addiction, weight and over eating. I feel very called to be a part of this ministry and so I graciously said yes and accepted the position I'd be lying if I was I wasn't a little
terrified out of my mind anxious. Afterall, coaching/mentoring is just a few steps away from counseling. But I'm trusting that if God has called me into this, He will also equip me for success in it. Yay for another stepping stone of progress!