Settling down

This is the first blog in our new series Outpost: Life Together in Mission and Ministry.  Each day, we will feature blog posts from younger leaders throughout our denomination.  


As it is with most young adults, I’ve spent the last decade or so being liminal, being betwixt and between. I graduated from college, moved to Brooklyn to teach, headed up the road a bit to get a master’s degree, held part-time jobs in various states, and then eventually I took a vow that would lock me into something for the rest of my life: ordination.


It’s now a little less than two years since my ordination, and I’m still figuring out how to just stay in one place for a bit. You know – let the grass grow under my feet. Settle down. Not think about the next step.


But that’s hard work. And work that I don’t really know how to do. I’ve always been on the go, rocketing toward the next big goal or the next gold star. My husband Blair has often asked me to slo-ooow down and live in the moment. (Do you see a theme developing?) I love the moments, I really do. But I want to get to the next one – the one that takes planning and daydreaming. Once we bought our house, I came up with a list of improvements to make it “better.” Not long after that, I returned to my days to see what else was out there. Call it temptation, ADD, or too much sugar – I’m not used to staying put.


But with my ordination vow – much as with my marriage vow – I made a promise to settle into this life as pastor and not give up when I got bored or saw something shiny. Eugene Peterson in his book “Working the Angles: The Shape of Pastoral Integrity” writes this about ordination vows: “This is not a temporary job assignment but a way of life that we need lived out in our community … With these vows of ordination we are lashing you fast to the mast of word and sacrament so that you will be unable to respond to the siren voices.”


Reading these words from Peterson, I am reminded of the gravitas of my vow to Christ and the church. I have a job – no a call – that is meant to be lived out with dedication. I cannot fold to the whims of my daydreams or my ambition to always be doing what’s next. What’s here is what’s good and to what I am called.


It bears reminding myself of this vow every once in a while. Certainly, days in ministry can be rough and annoying, but those days are so few and far between. What I’m given more and more of are days that demand my attention – my deep, fully present attention. Days that call me to preach the Good News, to administer the sacraments with joy, and to be with the people into whose midst I have been summoned for as long as I possibly can. I’m given those days by a God who is far more steadfast and faithful than I and who still calls me to do this work on earth. I hope I can continue to settle into that abundant grace and let it grow around me all the livelong day.


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talor lewis guthrie harrtmanTaylor Lewis Guthrie Hartman is the Associate Pastor for Youth Ministry at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Durham, NC. She loves preaching, photography, mechanical pencils in planners, long names, children’s books, her hometown of Louisville, and serving Jesus Christ. She hopes to settle down in Durham as long as she can (as does her husband Blair and their dog Addie Patterson).{jcomments off}