“Reading mystical poetry, wishing rituals, expressing desires, Tantric sex”
Yearning….I’ve been yearning this past year, waiting for a new call. It’s not that I’m unhappy with the people where I’m serving. In fact, saying goodbye will be painful. It’s just that I have an ache, a longing, a yearning. The Holy Spirit is calling me elsewhere…and I don’t know yet where that elsewhere is.
In the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) the call process, moving from one position in a congregation to another congregation, relies on the Holy Spirit. I’ve filed my “papers” – a multi-page summary of my experience and self-perceived skills and strengths. Congregations seeking a new pastor are required to complete similar papers of their own, after a period without a pastor, after gathering a call committee, after a period of self-evaluation and vision setting or reviewing. Within 65 geographical areas bishops and/or their staff are responsible for playing match-maker. Relying on the Holy Spirit to guide the process. Waiting for the Holy Spirit is being in the present, living in the moment, and simultaneously being attentive for a still, quiet voice that may be stirring up desires, creating yearning.
I’ve had my papers filed for about a year, and have had a number of interviews with congregations. Two were very close. I fell in love, and have had to let go. I’ve had to spend time praying about, discerning what I’ve loved about each congregation, and have used those experiences to help me more deeply understand the desires, the yearnings I am feeling.
This past year, this process has taught me to be attentive to my yearnings. I think too often we are so driven, so focused on achievements for the day, week, month that we don’t take time to listen, to really listen to the deep yearning within us. We all have deep yearnings, and I believe in a core yearning shared by all.
In Psalm 42, the writer calls out with a yearning heart:
As a deer longs for flowing streams,
so my soul longs for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.
May you find time, take time to listen to your heart, to the yearnings that may be buried deep within. Listening, responding to those yearnings brings us closer to God, and to abundant life.