I’ve been confused for a while now. Prior to last week, I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do with my life. I felt the pressure of providing for my family, but I’m not trained to do anything besides what I got my degree in, and that’s out of the question…or at least it was. My degree prepared me to do church ministry. I thought that’s what God wanted me to do, but through a series of events and church jobs, I felt less secure in that. So I’ve pursued other options, all to no avail. Plus, there has been this rebellion inside me ever sense I felt a call into ministry to not do it, and the main reason is because it’s what my dad does. I feel like the kid in all those movies that’s supposed to “take over the family business”. It’s not because of anything that my dad has done; in fact my dad has always been my greatest supporter in everything. I’ve always known that my dad would be happy with whatever God led me to do. I’ve realized that my rebellion has come from a response to people throughout my life that have “expected” me to go into ministry. You see, my dad is very good at what he does. He’s an excellent pastor and God has given him all the necessary skills to do that. And for whatever reason, people think that his legacy should live on in one of his offspring. It’s a somewhat natural assumption that people place on great individuals. Great athletes are supposed to breed great athletes, and if they do, the expectation is just as high if not higher for that offspring. “Out-do your daddy!” is the motto. People used to always ask me when I got to a certain age what I was going to be when I grew up and their first expectation was for me to say, “I want to be just like my dad!” Again, it’s a natural assumption. Most young boys want to be just like their dad, especially if their dad is as awesome as mine. And it’s not that I don’t want to be just like my dad. My dad is my greatest hero and if I desire to emulate any individual besides Christ, it’s my father. However, when people asked me that, my first response was one of bitterness and anger. “Why do you assume that? I’m NOT my dad!” is what I would think in my head.
There’s something about fulfilling other people’s expectations that just didn’t sit right with me. I think it’s because as much as every little boy wants to be just like their daddy, there’s an impulse in them to do something completely different: to blaze new trails and conquer new territories, and just be DIFFERENT than their dad. There’s nothing wrong with that impulse, but there is something negative about “taking over the family business”. The job is forced upon you because none of the other siblings wanted to do it or the sibling who is least capable takes it on because it’s their last option and they don’t want the business to go under. And I think I’m especially susceptible because I’m the youngest and none of my other siblings have chosen ministry as an occupation. As I grew up, I really hoped that one of them would so that I could do something different. However, it didn’t turn out that way and it appeared that the lot fell to me. Even after I felt a “call” into ministry, my heart rejected it. I wrestled and argued with God for a while. I took my crap degree as proof that I was right. It’s this weaker man in me saying that if I go into ministry, there will be no new trails blazed; I’ll just be falling in line with expectations. And I couldn’t stand doing that.
So I spent a while running away from ministry, trying to find something else to do, hoping that something would fall into my lap that would guide me to some other field. Even though I knew I was really good at ministry and that I had a blast doing it; I had all these excuses to convince myself that it wasn’t for me: the job doesn’t pay enough, my dad does it, my degree still sucks, etc. Plus I just didn’t like the fact that I was good at ministry. I think it’s because in my mind, it’s really not that hard. The only thing that I’m really good at is talking. Communication comes really easy for me, but that’s not that big of a deal! And so I have good relational skills and I love getting to know new people! Everyone has those skills and they’re so not-fun and not-cool skills to have. My friends are good at marketing and business and photography! Those are cool skills, man! I wanted God to make me good at those things. Anybody can communicate and hang out with younglings for 3-4 hours a week! Psh. Big deal!
This is how I’ve felt for a while, up till last week when I had somewhat of a divine experience. I was writing out the first portion of this blog, kind of throwing up on the page (the step prior to editing it for posting-that’s just how my brain works) when there was almost an audible voice that I know was the Holy Spirit that simple said, “Bryce, you know what you’re supposed to do with your life-ministry. It’s what you’re best at. It’s what I’ve gifted you to do. Don’t be concerned with the gifting of others. I’ve given you some really special gifts that can only be used to spread my message of love and salvation!” It was very startling since I’ve never experienced something like this. The reality and truth of the message kind of floated down into my heart and my heart was satisfied. It just kind of resounded with a very matter of fact, “huh.” But it wasn’t the huge uproar that used to arrive. As I’ve mulled over this, I’ve come to accept it more and more every day. I have been gifted with some very unique and very cool gifts. If the #1 fear in the world is still public speaking, then I’ve got a one up on almost everyone else out there. And the truth is, not everyone can handle younglings or difficult people, but God has gifted me with an exorbitant amount of patience (one of the many things I learned from my dad). Furthermore, some people are just really awkward in social circumstances and I’ve been granted the ability to be super easy to be with and really fun to talk to. My wife reminds me of that every day ☺. These gifts and talents combine to be a pretty stacked deck when it comes to ministry and God seems to be pointing me there. And so far there has been no crazy fear that everyone will be watching to say, “I told you so.” There is also no fear that I’m just doing this out of obligation-there is much joy in my heart, in fact. So I have a great amount of clarity and great amount of confidence in my future. I still don’t have a perfect picture of it, but…all in good time. God is good. God has helped me.