By Caroline Tucker
Am I really cut out for this? Do I have the skills I need to minister to others? Is my calling enough?
Throughout my discernment process, these questions have crept up at various points and have caused me to doubt my calling and my abilities. These doubts popped up when I compared myself to others and their gifts and talents. Of course, the conservative rhetoric that women are not meant to preach in the pulpit did not help my confidence; rather they fueled my self-doubt. I felt guilty for doubting my calling because I thought that people who felt a true calling never doubted it for a second. I thought that everyone called to ministry felt a steadfast calling that never wavered and felt alone in the doubt that I carried.
The summer before I started my first year of Divinity School, a chaplain told me, “God does not call the equipped but equips the called.” This common quote has had an enormous impact on me. It was that moment that I realized it was okay to not have the skills for ministry yet. I had opportunities in the near future, like Divinity School, to help equip me with skills for ministry. Yet, I realized that my skills did not equal my calling, for my calling is from God. The notion that God would help me achieve my calling was comforting to me and followed me to Divinity School.
Once I arrived at Divinity School, I learned that doubt is a natural part of the discernment process. Many of my peers and mentors shared with me times in their lives when they also had experienced doubts in their calling. Some even shared that the doubts continue to pop up into the present day. It was enlightening to see people with such amazing gifts and talents doubt their calling every once and a while. In a way, the weight that my doubts once held was lifted. Doubting became a natural part of my discernment process and an opportunity to lean deeper on my faith and trust in God and my calling.
I am now in my third year of Divinity School. I have taken most of the required credits to graduate and have had multiple internship opportunities to apply what I was learning in class in the real world. I have spent the last two and a half years equipping myself with the knowledge and skills my calling requires. Yet, those doubts still persist. What if what I have learned is not enough?
As I look toward the end of my Divinity School experience and the excitement and stress of my impending entrance into the field of public ministry, I find comfort in the knowledge that skills can be gained, but a calling comes from God.
Caroline Tucker is a third year Divinity Student at Wake Forest University School of Divinity. Caroline currently is serving as a Music Ministry Intern at Knollwood Baptist Church.