Turns out starting over requires investment and vulnerability. I’m not shocked by that fact this week, but I am fairly consistently reminded of that fact this week. I didn’t realize how comfortable I’d gotten at Furman, surrounded by hundreds of people who knew enough about me and my story to be able to care for me well. So in leaving all that I know behind, I discovered this week I have to be willing to let other people in on some of those fundamental facts about myself in order for this new place to truly open up and feel like home. Unfortunately for someone like me, that also means I have to reach out and offer that information (which is still not a strong suit of mine). Let me tell you, seminary is a great place for finding folks to reach out to – the hard part for me is the concept of reaching out. I have to invest just as much as those around me in order to get the best return (also known as the return God planned for me). Some days I’m excited about that truth and I’m ready to spill everything about my life to my new friends. And other days I’d rather retreat and hold on to my solitude. But nevertheless (whether I’m willing or not), God still creates spaces for me to be cared for and for me to be open. And each day I am getting better at choosing to share.
And as always, the other half of experiencing meaningful and substantial growth is the investment in self. With my summer schedule, my only requirement is to be in class 9-12:15 Monday through Friday (with seminary soccer and basketball as self-proclaimed commitments on Tuesday and Thursday nights). That means every day I have a choice in how to spend the 20+ hours of the remainder of my day. Only so much of that can be spent studying Biblical Hebrew (thank goodness). There’s a lot of responsibility in that choice. I have to deliberately choose every day to stop studying and do something for me. I have to choose every day to get out of my own head and allow myself to relax in whatever activity I’ve elected that day. Talk about challenging. Over the last 3 weeks, I have re-learned how to read for pleasure, how to exercise appropriately, and how to practice music simply for the joy of playing music. In the midst of being in a new place with new people and learning a new language (or trying to), my God is still the same. His truth and His love prevails. And through it all, I am being reminded of the value and the necessity of my investment in becoming who He calls me to be and building His kingdom into that which He designed.
Kelly, if you tire of telling people “your story,” just let Pelham Road Baptist know. We have our own story of you and will be more than willing to share with your new friends! You would have loved church this morning. Two American Baptist medical missionaries married to one another were featured in an “interview” setting with Ann Hitt being the interviewer. They spoke about their growing up in Burma, missionary parents, being separated across so many years until after college, renewing a friendship which led to marriage and 6 children reared in Haiti as they served as missionaries. They were wonderful speakers with an unbelievable life story to share with us. We were eager listeners. I think about our church and am so proud of where we are at this point in our church life. ALL are valued. ALL can serve. The church elects deacon servants regardless of gender. Both males and females can preach from our pulpit. Though primarily a Cooperative Baptist Church, we still have Southern Baptists in our congregation along with numbers of other worshippers from different denominations. We have an ordained female Lutheran minister on staff, and today American Baptist missionaries were invited to share their story! We’re in a good place, a VERY good place, and I am NOT talking about a physical location!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Great reading, thanks for sharing and keep sharing, you never know who you are inspiring and helping along the way.