**Disclaimer: This is a long post.**
Today was one of my long days. It was a normal work day and it went pretty well. I went to Home Depot and picked up some sink strainers. Decided to get a cafe mocha on the way. There were no snags or missteps really. Some process roblems (i.e., my guys not letting me know we were running out of some things) but other than that, just a normal day.
On a high note, I met up with one of my professors who happens to also go to my church. It’s a neat dynamic because I am more comfortable with him that I am with other random Professors. Especially since most of my classes thus far have been online. Anywho, I met up with him to discuss the possibility of Doctoral studies. Since I am in semester two of seminary (and part time at that) this is definitely not something I need to decide upon any time soon, but I am starting to wonder if that is the path God is leading me down. This strange feeling of excitement kept welling up within me. I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face a couple of times. He was talking about greek and hebrew, then german and french, theology and philosophy, biblical studies and church history…so much to learn! So that was a cool meeting.
I had to call my pastor/mentor/friend ‘A’ about something later in the afternoon and I mentioned this meeting to her. I said something along the lines of, “If there is one thing that is very evident to me it is that this is going to be a very long process. A whole decade could pass before this is accomplished.” I said it not because I was overwhelmed with that idea (though it is a bit overwhelming) but because long term plans are hard for me. I prefer short fused tasks that I can complete quickly. Some of this has to do with my personality for sure, but it’s definitely not just that. Pastor ‘A’ is not a very confrontational person and it much more gentle and subtle with her feedback so her response to my statement above was monumental to me. She said something along the lines of, “Yeah, that’s hard for someone who is impatient.”
Whoa. Yeah…so she is right on. And she didn’t say it meanly. I think she knows me well enough now that she just felt okay with speaking her mind more freely.
And so God is showing me (and has probably been trying to show me for a while now) that while my zeal has the potential to accomplish much for the kingdom, improperly placed and unrestrained it is impatience. If I am honest with myself impatience is a big problem in my life. I have gotten impatient about being impatient. And so to Pastor A’s indictment, I plead guilty as charged. And it’s really had me thinking all day…
So when work was over, I went to class early to meet with my group for a group project and then sat in class for three and a half hours. Yikes that’s a long time. We had a guest speaker…he was really good. But while he was talking time stoped for a bit. Yes, I have finally gotten to the subject line of this post. The speaker, a man who has started quite a few successful ministries and churches and who now consults with established churches to identify leadership/organizational/etc. issues, said, “Think. Pray. Seek God.” I have no idea the contex and it doesn’t matter.
I definitely think. I think a LOT. Sometimes I can’t stop thinking. But how often do I stop to pray? How often does my thinking lead to praying and seeking God? Truth is not a whole lot.
I am not sure what was said after that, but the next thing I remember was when the speaker started talking about how often times when we ask for something we think we need, what we need is usually right in our hands…right in our house. While I think his application was slightly different, I started thinking about that. What is in my hands right now? And so, I prayed. Right there in class I completely disengaged from what was going on and I prayed. I wrote it down. Here ’tis:
Father? I’m very impatient. I admit it now. No justification. No “Yeah, but…” Just confession. And I rely way too much on my own power to do things especially when you don’t answer quick enough for my liking. I feel like I need to let go and not try to do anything other than what you have put in front of me. Right now that’s work and school. I’m sorry for being ungrateful for the insight you have given me and for slapping your face with the mentality of “that’s not enough.” So I will try to bring those things to you now. Father, I’d like a mentor who can help me navigate the road you have me on. I think that someone who has traveled this same road would be most helpful but I am not sure I know what’s best in this. I’d really like someone to be able to help me tie all this “stuff” I’m learning together. Until then, I am going to try to focus on what you have in front of my now. Specifically I think those things are:
- Spiritual Formation (AKA, my relationship with you)
- Systematic Theology 1 Class
- Christian Leadership Development Class
I think something shook me back into reality at this point…but I feel as though I have a renewed sense of focus. I feel as though God is removing a layer of scales like in Lewis’ Narnia. I pray that I would not forget this lesson so quickly as I am apt to do. I pray that it would not be forgotten in the busyness of life and the sea of good intentions. I pray that the sense of humility and peace I feel now would stay with me. That I might love God and love others with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength.