God help me!

In two weeks I get ordained.  Two weeks.  That’s fourteen days.  Three hundred and thirty-six hours.  Just a few more turns of the earth on its axis and I’ll be walking around with a dog collar on.

I first came to the conclusion I was called to be ordained six years ago.  Since then I’ve had to have numerous meetings with a vocational adviser, followed by many meetings with the ‘assistant Diocean Director of Ordinands’, undergo a Diocean Panel, have more meetings with the Diocean Director of Ordinands, go to a Bishop’s Advisory Panel and have three years at theological college.  Now I’ve brought my clergy clothes, met my new parishioners and moved into my church owned property.  So why, oh why, is it that I’m absolutely terrified?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited too.  Eager.  A huge part of me can’t wait to get on with the job.  But another half of me just wants to run and hide.  Part of me expects the bishop to turn up at the door and simply say, ‘I don’t think so!  We both know you’re not up to this’.  And you know what, I think I’d just drop my head and slowly nod agreement.  I’m not up to this, I’m just not.

Just on a practical level, I’m not sure I’m up to it.  Keeping organised, writing sermons that are actually worth listening to, offering any kind of help to those who lose love ones.  The list could go on and on.  I’m simply not up to it.

But I’m even more sure I’m not up to the projection of a vicar that people have in their heads.  I get impatient.  I get cross.  I lust and swear when I hurt myself.  I find certain people irritating.  I struggle with small talk.  I hate pomp and ceremony, organs and mindlessly reading out words.  Some of the thoughts in my head are, well, how shall we put it … not ‘vicar-like’!  A song I love says “Who I am is full of contradiction.  Faithfulness and friction the companions of my heart.”.  That’s me and more than I can explain, that’s why I’m terrified.  I’m just not pure enough, not strong enough.

All I can hold on to is the apostle Paul’s statements about his own weaknesses:

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. ” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.  2 Cor 12:9-10

So if you’re one of my future parishioners, please be patient with me.  I’m not really vicar material, I just slipped through.  But be that as it may, in two weeks, when I stand at the front of Blackburn Cathedral and promise to give my life to serve God and his church, I promise I’ll mean it and, while no doubt I’ll mess up, I will truly try my best.

God help me!  (and I mean that quite literally).

About David

I'm the curate at St. Anne's Church, in the parish of Shevington, Standish Lower Ground and Crooke. I'm married to Carole and have two beautiful daughters called Sarah and Anabel
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8 Responses to God help me!

  1. Adam B says:

    me too, in every way…

  2. Andy Cross says:

    Your sermons are definately worth listening (and I’m thinking back to the ones I heard three years ago before you went to Bible College!). Plus, I’m very glad you are not up to the projection of a vicar that people have in their heads!

    Great honest blog though and good to know we have another Church leader on the way who will be relying on God’s power!


  3. Mark Hopkins says:

    Hi David,

    The sermon I heard from you at St Michael’s was excellent! I’m sure your sermons at your new church will be very helpful and inspirational.

    I can relate though to what you’re feeling about “vicar projections”. If it’s any consolation, probably so many people have different ideas about the kind of vicar they expect you to be that they wouldn’t match up amongst themselves anyway! The main thing is to remember that God called you and you said yes to following him, and he will help you. I’ve still got a whole extra year until I get to your stage, by which time I’m sure I’ll be feeling exactly the same as you, but I like to remind myself when I think about my calling that God asks for our availability, not our ability. And I doubt there are any (or at least very few) people who don’t feel much the same as you before getting ordained!

    Best wishes,
    Mark 🙂

  4. Hannah B says:

    Hooray for your honesty! Double hooray that a realistic, normal person is going to be working for the Church of England. More of them are needed and I’m sure you’ll make mistakes but more sure that God in his graciousness will use them to build and extend the kingdom& develop you to be more like Jesus.

    We’ll be praying for you& your ladies

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