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There is one instance in my life that immediately comes to mind “when I felt most completely myself, not meeting others expectations, but just being centered in expressing who I was” (Cashman, 2008, p. 54) – as coordinator of the Land of Lakes Group Work Camp. This was a fulltime volunteer position as a Minnesota Housing Partnership Americorps*VISTA assigned to West Central Minnesota Communities Action.  The purpose of the program was to rehabilitate 30 homes of disabled, elderly, and modest-income people living in the agency’s five-county region.  In order to accomplish this goal we brought together 450 youth volunteers from around the nation along with approximately 100 local volunteers, churches, civic organizations, city and county governments, businesses, and the school district to complete the work in one week’s time.

This job involved coordinating a large group of people working towards a common goal.  My primary role was to gather the people and organizations together in order to accomplish the task, to support them in doing their work, and to connect everyone together so that obstacles could easily be overcome.  My secondary role was to act as spokesperson and publicist.

I remember after the interview for the job I had the sense I was designed by God to do the work.  This project explained all the seemingly random training and experiences I had had for the 10 years previous.  I would be utilizing every single bit of it in this position.  I can still recall the deep sense of grounding I had in realizing this position was not one that just anyone could be placed in and do well; there was a need for someone with a broad skill set, and how perfectly God had filled my toolbox in order to get the job done.  So many people would benefit in so many ways if the job was done well.  I would be remiss in not accepting the position.  Even though I had never coordinated a project of this size or worked in housing rehabilitation before, I felt absolutely confident I could bring all the pieces and people together.  It was a profoundly empowering experience for me.

That is not to say the project didn’t have its trying times and struggles.  There were the unexpected curveballs I didn’t see coming or those instances when someone on the team was not meeting expectations and I was unsuccessful in supporting them in getting back on task.  However, those turbulent moments were met with ease because the whole process flowed so smoothly.  Instead of tidal waves they were mere ripples coaxing us on in new directions.  It was always in those moments that being grounded and confident in God’s design for me and my calling moved me away from worrisome thinking, and above anyone’s expectations.  I trusted in there being a solution to every problem; all I needed to do was look for it.

I am looking for the next opportunity for which God has created me.  In the meantime I am adding more tools to my toolbox and trying to find time to be still, listen, and wait.  Instead of trying to create similar projects, my strategy is to wait expectantly to be invited, to be called to the work God has planned for me.  I know if I am open to the opportunity; God will place it before me.  I just need to be patient.

References

Cashman, K. (2008). Leadership from the inside out: Becoming a leader for life. (2nd. ed.). San Francisco, C.A.: Berrett-Koehler

Publishers Inc.

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