Friday, 29 July 2011

The Interview!

And yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand - Isaiah 64:8 (New Living Translation)

OK, well this journey really starts with an interview. Or perhaps I should call it a selection process. Anyhow, I was questioned by a panel of Bishop's representatives in our Diocese, whose task it was to discern alongside me not only my capability for entering my year of specialist study, but that it was God's will. Talk about pressure!

With this in mind, and given that I had been informed by the Diocese themselves and other applicants for both lay and ordained ministry that what I would go through would be somewhat different to a job interview, I didn't quite know what to expect. I was apprehensive about meeting the panel, but confident that God's hand was on it and if it was His will, then His representatives would see that in me. Still, I had moments of panic. Should I focus on trying to demonstrate any holiness in me? Talk about my thoughts of ordination or hide them? Would my slightly ageing post-partum brain remember any of the preparation I had typed the night before? What if, after my years denying my responsiblity to act on God's call, and finally accepting it, it went badly; what if they said "NO"?!

In the end, of course, OBVIOUSLY, because this is a God thing, I need not have worried. The only thing absolutely extraordinary and overwhelming about the process was that I didn't tell a lie, or pretend to be something I wasn't, or create an example out of thin air, as I (and others, I presume!) have done to prospective employers previously in secular job interviews e.g. "PowerPoint presentations? Yep, I've done loads of 'em" ( in my mind, at least.) Given the circumstances, the only option was to be myself, as God has created me, moulded me, enabled and empowered me to be.

And indeed at one point when I was speaking, almost conversationally, with the course leaders regarding my desire to professionalise skills that I am already exercising informally within our congregation and community - when I suggested that I had much to learn about when to talk, when to listen, when to pray and when to offer unsolicited advice - they actually suggested that BEING MYSELF was more than good enough for now, and BEING MYSELF was something I must continue to do in the future. My talents are God-given. Yes, I can be given guidance on how to use them, but my instincts, my responsiveness and my discernment are already somewhat developed.

Given that I spent years attempting to escape self and transform myself into various incarnations of the person I thought I should be (as opposed to the options that God had on hand and, now, seem to fit so much more easily), this is not only comfort, it's something that Scripture has been trying to make me see for a long while, and it brought into relief everything about the interview. I wasn't there to try to impress, to talk the talk and walk the walk, to show off impressive academic qualifications or try and hide them under a bushel while promoting my salt-of-the-earth people skills. I was there to BE, there to BE ME, to discuss my strengths, weaknesses, fears, abilities, to kind of strip myself bare, to be honest, to reveal the raw clay of my being and wonder about the future potential that God, the Diocese and I can work together to enable me to serve Him better.

Interestingly, the only thing that did stave off my apprehension on the day of the interview was playing the track 'Mighty to Save' and focusing on the line "Take me as You find me, all my fears and failings" - using the humility and honesty within myself to realise that, without Him, I am nothing. As I have focused on in starting that blog, He is my strength and my song, and there is just no use pretending otherwise, to interviewers, family, friends, believers, non-believers - and myself.

Mighty to Save

Everyone needs compassion
A love that's never failing
Let mercy fall on me

Everyone needs forgiveness
The kindness of a Saviour
The hope of nations

He can move the mountains
My God is mighty to save
He is mighty to save
Author of Salvation
He rose & conquered the grave
Jesus conquered the grave

So take me as You find me
All my fears & failures
Fill my life again

I give my life to follow
Everything I believe in
Now I surrender (I surrender)

[ Lyrics from: ]

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