By Archer Mumm
If you had asked me 10 years ago where I thought I’d be on my 24th birthday, I can guarantee you I wouldn’t have predicted any of my current life circumstances. Growing up in an aggressively anti-religion household, I didn’t think I’d ever set foot in a church for any purpose other than academic curiosity. I even planned to get married in an art gallery. But when I went to The Lutheran Center for the first time, it changed the entire course of my life.
Here I am now, three years later, on the path to seminary but still feeling like an outsider in this largely unfamiliar world of churches and Bibles and God. At my first ever Sunday service, I had to frantically ask Tessa what communion was and how it worked as we quickly approached the front of the sanctuary. There are times, during Hive meetings or services or lounge discussions, when I feel lost or feel far behind my peers who grew up in the Christian tradition. I can’t name the books of the Bible. I don’t know the names of the apostles, and I’ve only ever really learned the bad parts of Christian history.
But I do know God’s love. I feel it not only when I enter The Lutheran Center–or during Sunday service or morning prayer–but also when I’m speaking passionately, when I witness acts of charity, or when I enter a used bookstore. I felt God’s love even before I knew what God’s love was; I just didn’t know it yet. The love of our Lord surrounds us at all times, even when we can’t understand or accept it.
I spent most of my life bouncing between life plans and career paths, never really feeling drawn to anything fully. In the past year, though, I finally understood what it meant to be called by God to a vocation. Not only do I finally feel like I’m on the right path, but I’ve found that when something happens that seems like it might lead me astray or send me in the wrong direction, it’s like I receive a sign that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.
It took me a hot minute to accept the call I heard, and a large part of my hesitancy was confusion, and the thought, “Why me?” It seemed strange, impossible even, that the Lord would call an outsider, especially one whose identity is so controversial within the Church, to leadership. I had myself convinced that I was wrong, mistaken, and absurdly self-important to even consider the thought. The longer I worked with the LC and NeLCM, however, the stronger I felt the call and the more signs I’d encounter.
Over the years I’ve felt my fair share of religious imposter syndrome, and I doubt it will ever really subside. I will always be a number of years behind my peers who grew up in the church. But I won’t let that stop me from experiencing and sharing God’s love, and neither should anyone else. God is all around. Look for God’s love and listen for God’s call, and God will guide you in the right direction.