Calling or Temptation

I have a hard time discerning between temptation and "calling" in my life... especially when it comes to dreaming about the future.

I'm kind of a big dreamer. When I was in elementary school I was sure I'd be the next Babe Ruth. When I was in Jr. High, I just knew that I'd someday be compared to Jerome Bettis. In high school I thought I'd be some kind of pro athlete and mega-church pastor/youth pastor/world changer. In college, my dreams became a bit more realistic but still they always involved something big. The mega church stuff and the sports ambitions evolved into small church ministry, writing books, and getting a PhD in theology from some place like Yale or Princeton or Union. My dreams still involved being of influence, even if not in the same way or on the same scale. And they still involved something where people would respect me and be impressed by me.

Now, I don't think that my dreams of getting an education of the highest quality and contributing in the conversation of God's Kingdom are anything like my dreams of being a pro football player. I think the evolution in my ambitions was a mature and realistic change. But, I wonder if the difference is more subtle than I realize. I wonder sometimes if all of that is just another way for me to "prove" myself. I wonder if it's all just a symptom of my insecurity--if I go to Princeton or Union, people will listen to me and think I'm smart.

Well obviously, come graduation, I took a different route. I am still perusing higher education I'm still planning on writing someday. I've been a Youth Pastor at a great church for the last 3 years (the fulfillment of a dream I've had since 9th grade). And through all of this, I've had no doubt that this is what God has invited me to do and be. But a hiccup in my plans has got me back to thinking.... I wrote a post a few weeks ago about the closing of my MDiv program at SFTS. As I wrote there, this is a big deal. The whole campus has been abruptly eliminated by the powers-that-be in San Anselmo, Ca.

This whole thing has gotten me reconsidering the dreams of the past. In conversations I've had with classmates, colleagues, professors, and old acquaintances; it has been suggested to me that God is calling me to something more. The so-called coincidences surrounding the closing of my school, the transitions of my family life, the "haze" I've been feeling about my current connectedness; all of this has been too much to ignore, too much for me to take lightly and make a rushed decision to stay comfortable. Indeed, perhaps God wants to use this to radically change my context, direction, etc.

But what is this? Is it God's calling? or is it just a temptation toward something more "glamorous" than my current vocation and position in life? I can say in honesty, I am afraid to make a decision in either direction...

Whatever happens, it won't be immediate. Even if I decide to leave Ramona for some school back east, I'll be around for a year or two for the healthiest transition...

God, what are you up to here?
What's all this about?