On Being “Ready”

imagesI am being ordained by my house church in six days.

My mom always told me that if you wait until you are ready and financially stable to have children, you will never have children. She always told me it’s never something that you will be ready for, you just have to take the plunge. She said the same thing about marriage. You never know what you’re getting into, and it’s very hard to actually prepare yourself for it.

I’m feeling the same thing about my upcoming ordination. As I’ve been frantically/calmly trying to prepare the liturgy, arrange the details, send out the invitations, talk with my church about logistics, and stand still while my grandmother hems the alb she’s made for me, my mind is running a race. Am I ready? This has been a weird year for me. I’ve been in the throes of burnout, withdrawing from the activities, meetings, and actions I used to frequent. I haven’t been writing as much. I’m starting to pray again. I’m extraordinarily better at self-care now, and I’ve been exercising my pastoral care muscles. I’m doing outreach again, reading books again, I’m starting to feel like myself again.

But don’t pastors have to have all their shit fully together before they can be pastors? Don’t ministers have all that figured out? Don’t they have the answers? I am determined that pastors and ministers are no less human than the rest of us. Therefore, I’m mostly refusing to feel the discomfort and shame my mind wants me to feel. It’s okay that I’ve had a weird year. It’s okay that I feel ready, even when logically I maybe shouldn’t feel ready. It’s been a long time coming. If I delay my ordination until I’m fully ready and prepared for ministry– what a laughable thought– I will never be ordained.

In my writing and thinking about my ordination, I’ve been reminding myself over and over that this is not a consummation but a continuation. This is not the end scene to a long movie. This is not the darling final chapter on the journey of my discernment in ministry. Really, it is a semicolon, a landmark, a kairos moment in time marking a journey.

It is okay that I have had a weird year. It is okay that I am still healing. Hopefully I am gracefully embodying what it means to a person in process. As a Wounded Healer, I can be aware of my own pain so that I may join you in tending to yours. Hopefully, I can live into what it means to be a minister. I do not have it all together and neither do I have to.

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