Curiosity and Vocation in Mexico
As children of God, we were created with complex minds, deep gifts and passions. We are made to question, to doubt, to wrestle with the issues around us, just like those in the stories of the Bible. Our story is no different than Jacob, who wrestled with God until daybreak and thereafter, received God’s blessing. This is the journey of the Christian life: that through our questions and curiosities, we are continually drawn closer and blessed by the Living God. One of these blessings is our calling or our vocation; where do your passions and gifts line up with the needs of the world? What is it that gives you life? Where do feel the Holy Spirit is nudging you? It is through this curious faith we are better able to understand our call and how God might use us in this crazy world.
Hear from Molly, where in a time of stress and uncertainty, she was given the space to be curious, to question the issues she saw in the world and from that experience, was better able to understand her calling from God.
Written by Molly Dunn
The winter of 2016 was a tough one. I had just come off of working at an urn factory (yes, an URN factory) all winter, I was taking way too many credits and I had basically lost all sense of direction when it came to my vocation. When you’re overstressed and in a constant state of anxiety, it’s really hard to remember that you have passion and a purpose. Some days, I could only focus on remembering to eat and getting my homework done. My mom could recognize that I was struggling, and she took it into her hands to find something for me to look forward to. I distinctly remember sitting on my couch while my mother showed me the website of a student group called Lutheran Campus Ministry (LCM). She told me that they were going on a service trip to Mexico to learn about immigration and those impacted by deportation, and for the first time in a long time, my interests were peaked. My mother must have seen the spark in my eyes because she said, “Honey, the registration deadline is in two days. Put your chin up, get your stuff together and let’s do this.” Without knowing anything else, I sent an email begging our previous Service & Social Justice Intern, Laura, to allow me to travel along with the group sight unseen. In typical LCM fashion, she welcomed me with open arms.
Little did I know, this service trip would be life changing. It prompted me to reach out to new individuals and forge new relationships with unexpected people. Whenever I felt low, the promise of a once-in-a-lifetime trip gave me hope. On a broader scale, it was an important lesson on vocation. The trip inspired me to research immigration and refugee policy, something that I am still passionate about to this day. More importantly, the trip ignited a fire in me that made me feel many overwhelming emotions: anger, compassion, frustration, joy, sorrow and everything in-between.
In my view, one’s vocation should make you feel these things on a daily basis. It is so easy to become caught up in your personal trials and forget why you’re doing the things you’re doing. Often, as a coping mechanism, it easier to turn off emotion to allow yourself to function more efficiently than cope with the emotional struggles pertaining to your call. I struggle with this to this day. But as I felt in the winter of 2016, living as an automaton is no way to live. Your call will require you to grapple and fight and struggle and question and hurt, but it is this tumultuous process of realization that makes you human. At the end of the day, you have to be able to look at yourself in the mirror and celebrate who you are and who you are becoming.
I am not promising everyone will find their vocation on an on-the-fly trip to Mexico (though I would highly recommend it if you get the chance). I feel like my call changes every other day, and I still face the struggles that plagued me that winter. It is during this time of doubt that I think you should walk into LCM. Surround yourself with people who allow you to question and wrestle. Allow yourself to be vulnerable. Remember the experiences that shaped you. Embrace the burning passions that give you hope. Take a breath and then try again.