What do you want to do when you grow up?”
This is most common asked question to a teenager or young adult, and the most hated. In high school, kids are 14-18 years old. At such a young age, it is challenging to completely know the answer to this question.
During my 10th grade year of high school in Monroeville, Pennsylvania, I started to get the call that God wanted me to go into ministry. What ministry has meant to me has changed over the years, but I knew two things: that I wanted to help people and that God was pretty cool. Combining those two things seemed perfect.
When I was asked that question, I felt embarrassed to share with others my heart’s desire for my career, so I would always reply, “Orthodontist.”
This was the safest way to go. If I would say, “I don’t know.” Then, I would get additional questions, “Well, what is your favorite subject? Did you like math? How about teaching? Etc.…”
These questions never helped me make any decision. Thus, I realized the safest thing to do was reply, “Orthodontist.” There were no follow up questions, just a nod of agreement and maybe an encouraging statement.
For a high schooler, it is extremely difficult to fully trust God with this subject. It is difficult to share with others when you are not 100 percent sure that this is what you will spend the rest of your life doing. Students also worry about what others will think of their choice. I worried people would not understand or they would try and talk me out of it.
The Miller Summer Youth Institute at Pittsburgh Seminary provided a safe place for students to discuss a call into ministry. There were many opportunities to ask questions, talk to peers, and begin to start trusting God with this decision.
When I was thinking about going into ministry, I believed the lie that one had to be perfect. I questioned, “How could I help people in their walks with God when I was not perfect?”
It is common to respond to God’s call for one’s life and say, “I’m not qualified.” My response now is, “Well, what is qualified? Name one person in the Bible who was qualified.”
Abraham lied about Sarah. Moses stuttered. Jonah ran away from God. Peter denied Jesus. The disciples fell asleep while praying. And there are more examples found all through scripture!
As you go through the process of figuring out your call, remember that God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called.
Joy Pedrow was born in Monroeville, Pa., and is now pursuing her communications degree at University of South Florida. An alumna of the program and now an intern, Joy is exploring her call to ministry with the Seminary’s Miller Summer Youth Institute. Check out her blog at http://joypedrow.wordpress.com/.