“Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else,” (Exodus 4:13).
Moses’s words at the burning bush have always resonated with me, in younger years before I appreciated the audacity of his request, I was struck by his humility and humanity. Moreover, I was inspired by how God used a person who clearly does not identify as a natural leader to change history.
Unlike Moses, I did not initially acquiesce to God’s calling for my life. Prior to my year of service, God called me to become a doctor. Like Moses, I questioned God that he had chosen the wrong person and deferred medical school, choosing to instead join CVV. Ironically, throughout our year with CVV, my companions and I routinely and masterfully completed tasks for which our resumes would suggest we were unqualified to even attempt.
Now, several years later, I am a family physician and feel blessed by the opportunities my job affords: delivering babies, watching children grow, and witnessing people tackle obstacles in their lives with courage. Despite my initial reluctance, I am competent, confident and able to provide appropriate medical care all the while maintaining a demeanor that brings God’s light to my patients and coworkers. Nevertheless, occasional moments of feeling unqualified are inevitable.
At 28 years old, I find myself guiding families through tragedies that I have not personally experienced: cancer diagnoses, withdrawal of life support, resuscitations, death pronouncements, and stillbirth deliveries. Moreover, I work in an immigrant city that is predominantly Spanish-speaking and although I am proficient in Spanish, I often need to tenderly guide families through these difficult situations without the gentle nuances that only come with full fluency. Yet at 2AM, when no one else deemed, “more qualified,” is around to perform these tasks, I find that in fact God is there working through me to do it Himself. Like with Moses, God provides the needed words and transforms my anxieties into peace, allowing me to maintain my focus on the needed medical care and patients’ family’s needs. With each new situation, God qualifies me a little more to complete the work He has called me to do. Indeed, this theme of God qualifying the called rather than calling the qualified is also very intimately experienced by every Colorado Vincentian Volunteer.
At the start of 2017, a dear friend asked a very good question; what are you going to do in the following year to better experience God’s joy? The week prior, I had vented more than I would have liked to regarding work load and regretted not inviting God into that struggle and not embracing the challenge. This especially tugged at my heart because maintaining integrity is my predominant form of evangelism at my work place. I realized, although I have been praying during the difficult life or death moments, I had not been inviting God into the day to day busyness and decided to combat this lapse by making my goal the simple act of saying grace with every meal. Now, I again have a regular reminder of God’s presence and provisions in my life and regularly am overwhelmed by His joy.
For many Christians, lent is a season of more fully experiencing God’s presence day to day. For me, this often came in the form of reflecting on His sacrifices as I denied temptations to indulge my sweet tooth. This year, I hope to instead focus on experiencing God’s joy by the simple act of continuing to say grace and challenge you to consider joining me. I did not trust God when He initially revealed His plan for my vocation, instead uttering Moses’s words at the burning bush, yet now I could not imagine being happier doing anything else. God is working through us in ways we cannot imagine, all the while preparing us to further His kingdom and the simple act of saying grace significantly enhances our Communion with Him.
Diane Smith is an alumna of the 2016 corps of the Colorado Vincentian Volunteers.