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When You Wonder Why: Questioning Your Calling and Who You Are

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If you are in ministry long enough, or just alive long enough, you will most certainly find yourself in the place of wondering why. Not just why you are here, but what good you are doing. Wondering if you are making a difference. Wondering if maybe you didn’t actually sense the Spirit’s leading when you excitedly entered this minefield called ministry. Thinking you are as nuts as everyone says when they hear your job is hanging out with teens.

Well, you are not alone. I have been there, along with many, many other ministry people. Unfortunately, it is not a one time feeling and then done. It is something that comes and goes. Some days you feel like who you are and why God put you on this earth. Other days…not so much. And then you do the sequence all over again.

I went through one of these cycles a few years back. In reading through past prayer journal entries, I ran across my thoughts and feelings when in the cycle. I thought I would use this space to share my experience and hopefully encourage you if you find yourself in a similar head space.

December 15, 2014:

Dear God,

‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ was playing on TV while I was running at the gym this morning. It got me thinking about how often I wonder if my life really makes a noticeable difference or if everyone would have been just as well off if I hadn’t existed.

How much of a difference can one person really make in the grand scheme of things?

I’ve heard it said, “S/he could be the next Abraham Lincoln or Mother Teresa. But those kind of people are rare and few in number compared to the rest of humanity that live and die with little notice, if any at all.”

This really isn’t a matter of craving notoriety, but one of truly wondering if what I do (job-wise) and how I live my life really and truly affects and influences those around me. I am a leader by job description, not because of popularity or some Pied Piper ability to get people to follow.

I don’t have an engaging personality or powerful charisma. I’m quite normal, edging on boring. Which brings us full circle to the original question. How much of a difference do I really make in the grand scheme of things? Or even in the little scheme of things –  messed-up and awkward person that I am? I get why George Bailey asked that question. However…so help me if I meet a wing-less Clarence today…

Ever been there? Still there? To be honest, I don’t think God minds those kinds of feelings, thoughts and questions. It keeps us humble and from playing God. But it can also keep us from reaching our full potential because we don’t see anything of worth. And that would be a shame. Because ministry desperately needs messed-up, utterly normal humans like you and me to bring a little of God’s light into the darkness.


Sarah Vanderaa is currently serving as a full-time youth director in a church located in the south suburbs of Chicago. She is currently in her 11th season and is excited to see what the year will bring. On her rest days, she can often be found behind a computer writing and updating her blog, while drinking lots and lots of coffee. In between naps, she still finds time to read novels. You can connect with Sarah through her blog at WWW.UNLOCKANDRELEASE.TUMBLR.COM or her Facebook page @UNLOCKANDRELEASE


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS. 

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