I Can Relate To Wonder Woman


By Becky Gilbert

Last week an impromptu Girl’s Night turned into an opportunity to watch Wonder Woman again. It was fantastic! Very few movies in the last few years have lived up to the hype, but Wonder Woman certainly did!

At one point of the movie Diana (Wonder Woman) leaves her home, the only place she has ever known, and travels with Steve—one of the heroes of the movie—to London. Diana traveled to find Aries, the god of war, in hopes of putting a stop to the war. When Diana arrives in London, Steve and his secretary work hard to help Diana ‘fit-in’ with the rest of society. They were embarrassed by her way of dressing and thought her weapons would draw attention to their plan to stop the war. What really struck me about this part of the movie was that Diana seemed to have no idea that she didn’t fit in and was fairly annoyed at the idea that she should cover up what made her unique.

I can relate to Wonder Woman—how about you?

As a college student, I was certain about God’s call on my life and I entered the Biblical Studies degree program to learn all I could and prepare myself for ministry with youth. It was a huge shock to find out that there were people—classmates, even—who were upset and embarrassed that I thought God would call me into ministry. Even my college advisor asked me at one point if I wanted to add some education courses to my schedule “in case the ministry thing didn’t work out.”  What?!? Was I going crazy? All of my life, growing up in church, I heard/learned/experienced people who were called by God to become pastors, youth pastors, musicians, teachers, doctors. God calls people and God had called me to youth ministry. Like Diana, there was no question in my mind what I needed to do. Much like Diana, I charged forward into ministry; and like Diana, was fairly annoyed at people who seemed to have the idea that I was doing something wrong.

Most of us who work with teenagers will receive pushback about our calling. Sometimes that’s in the form of a backhanded compliment (“I don’t know how you do it; I’m glad that someone works with teenagers, but I never could!”). I received resistance because of my gender; but I know so many youth workers—male and female—who hear voices of judgment or suspicion merely for your choice to pour yourself into the lives of teenagers.

It has been more than 20 years since I first questioned my calling—but they were not able stop the calling God placed on my life. I would love to tell you that all these years later, I’m past people questioning my calling. I would like to say that, but I would not be telling the truth. Sometimes I think about doing something easier, when it seemed that the fight to do what God called me to do was not worth it.  Looking out over the group of strong students and young adults I have had the privilege to do ministry with, I wonder how many of them feel the same way? God is still moving and God is still calling men and women of faith to get involved and be part of His mission.

So ask yourselves, youth pastors, youth leaders and youth volunteers: which of your students feel called to impact the world, called to follow the invitation of Jesus, but are told that they’re too young, too inexperienced, or “not ready” in some other way? Don’t make them hide, change or ‘fit in’. Give them a sword and a shield and let them fight.