Courage and New Beginnings

“Rejoice in confident hope, be patient in trouble, and keep on praying” – Romans 12:12

The last couple months as a second year Ignite intern have been equally challenging and joyful. This summer, whether I was working outside, preparing for a service immersion retreat, or making new friends in Cincinnati, my mind was stuck in the future. I was constantly anticipating the new year with excitement and hope as well as some worry. I kept thinking about how unprepared I felt to welcome new interns to the staff and begin a new retreat season.

The biggest challenge of the past couple months was letting go of my expectations and my fear of change, so I could fully embrace the new community surrounding me. In the midst of change and uncertainty, I encountered new experiences in ministry, prayer, and community that challenged me and renewed my gratitude for another year at the Jesuit Spiritual Center.

Many family members and friends asked me this summer was why I decided to stay for a second year of the Ignite internship.

As I sit with that question today, I think back to when I began the internship in August 2017, a few months after my college graduation. I was overwhelmed and felt massively ill-equipped for the year of ministry ahead of me. Yet, at the same time, I firmly believed God led me to the Jesuit Spiritual Center and called me to this ministry. So, I made the decision to stay faithful to that calling amidst my fears of failure and my uncertainties about the year ahead.

As the months passed, my gratitude for the Jesuit Spiritual Center only grew. I found purpose and growth in every experience, retreat, and challenge I faced.

In the spring, as I discerned a second year of the internship, I felt as though my journey at JSC was only beginning. Not to mention, I was just starting to feel at home in Milford. I also lacked clarity for my next step. Was God calling me to full-time ministry, teaching, grad school, or missionary work? In prayer, God left me with the promise that I still had more to learn through the internship. It also became clear that I desired another year at the Jesuit Spiritual Center.

However, by summer, I started to doubt my decision to remain an intern. As a busy year of ministry and community life came to a close, I was starting to question my purpose and ask myself many questions: Was youth ministry really for me? Was I really finding true joy here? Was my dream job waiting for me somewhere else?

During this time, I was reading Matthew Kelly’s book Perfectly Yourself. I felt God speaking clearly to my heart through these words:

“The truth is that when you get the sense that something is wrong, it may be better to stay exactly where you are and try to work through whatever it is you are feeling or discovering. What you don’t know is that you are on the brink of a great discovery about who you are and what you are here for…God has created you to be here right now for a specific reason. At this moment, all you need to do is to stand still and the whole world will come to you” – Matthew Kelly, Perfectly Yourself

Based on my discernment, moving to a new city or finding a new job was not the answer to the difficult questions I had about my life purpose nor the cure to my fear I am not following God’s will for my life.

Beginning something new challenges us to step bravely into the unknown, but often it takes even more courage to be still and wait for the fulfillment of God’s promises when we are in seasons of waiting, transition, or suffering.