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Women who entered the ministry more than 20 years ago, when I was ordained, endured the mocks and jeers of family, friends and male ministers in order to be ordained and had nothing to look forward to but assignments to a string of some of the smallest, poorest and most difficult charges in the Methodist conference.

I avoided the itinerant parish life, serving to teach instead, that many of sisters accepted and served nobly. But I could not avoid the itinerant journey. Whether it is the itinerant ministry or the itinerant spiritual journey, the commission is the same, and that is to abandon everything -even the place we meant to be going. Those who wish to find themselves must first be willing to lose themselves. Only when we risk getting lost do we find our way, and only when we stop trying to see our footsteps does our pathway become more certain. You’re likely to encounter God and come face-to-face with all the wisdom lying in store within you when you set out in a direction you hadn’t planned to take and are willing to give up going where you intended to go.

The Exodus story gets at the essence of what it feels like to be on journey. We’re never quite certain where we are headed, because arriving is not what matters. Going is what is important.

–Renita Weems

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