Tuesday, May 16, 2017
This week I began grad class number five, which prompts a pace of full steam ahead until the final assignment is submitted seven weeks from now. As history tends to repeat itself, most likely by week four I will again question my sanity. Taking classes in addition to a regular work schedule and family life equals moments of high stress and chaos. In fact, the whole scenario can be compared to juggling bowling balls. Honestly, some days my toes get smashed ‘cause I’ve run out of steam! Nevertheless, I am thrilled to be able to pursue this goal.
As I venture through this journey I’m often asked, “What are you going to do with your degree?”
That’s a good question and one I’ve asked myself on a number of occasions. Frankly, I’m not 100% sure of the answer, but I am confident this is the path I’m being asked to walk.
Again though, with a statement like that some may question, “How do you know you are being asked to walk this path?”
My response, “There’s a tug on my heart. Something deep inside that subtly pulls me in that direction.” Along with that, because I know my Shepherd I can add John 10:27 to the conversation.
Still, there is something you should know about this journey. It’s not one I jumped into headfirst the moment I felt that initial tug to pursue a grad degree. Truthfully, in search for a clear answer, I spent a significant amount of time weighing the pros and cons, seeking council, praying, and studying my Bible. After several months I could no longer deny the direction I felt pulled. So, I applied to grad school and waited for either an acceptance letter or a rejection notification. During that waiting period I again asked God to open or close the door as He saw fit. I am thankful He chose to open the door.
I will admit though, walking through that open door brought a new set of challenges. Each class stretches my brain cells and tests my ability to think on my feet. Exams are timed and learning to formulate a cohesive essay to answer a single question with a forty-five minute constraint is unnerving. Tests not only leave me drained, but after most exams my brain feels numb.
I’d like to say that I’ve mastered the learning curve of timed tests, and figured out the best methods for cramming excessive amounts of material in my cerebral cortex during a short time span, but I really haven’t. I know what works for me; still, I feel pressured each week, and that adds stress to an already stressful life. With that being said, I am very grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow in God’s Word.
This brings me to my current class—class number five, a class that may prove to be the most challenging yet as I pursue an MA in Religion with a focus in biblical studies. Listed on the master schedule as Preaching and Teaching I, the syllabus aligns with the title, and requires that I not only prepare a sermon, but also deliver that sermon to a live audience. In fact, a huge portion of my grade (25%) hinges on the content and delivery of the message I prepare during this seven-week class.
Folks, I have NEVER prepared or delivered a sermon. Well, my kids sometimes accuse me of preaching to them, but that’s beside the point.
Needless to say, I’m facing this class with a bit if trepidation.
These last three paragraphs introduce a new question into the mix. What am I going to do with what I learn in this class and from this experience? While I do feel like I’m being led to prepare for some type of future career change, I do not believe that includes occupying a pulpit on a full-time basis. However, I am not opposed to speaking at small-scale women’s ministry events, nor am I opposed to teaching a high school Bible class for teen girls.
Because there are a number of variables to this whole journey, I truly don’t have a clue what the end result will look like. And I’m okay with not knowing. Honestly, as with all life journeys we never know exactly where the path will lead us. But with God in charge, we can rest assured that whatever road He asks us to take, He will be right there with us to guide our steps. All we have to do is let Him lead the way.
Have you recently ventured down a new path? Use the comment section below to share with us a little about your journey ~ Jill P
- The first four photos are compliments of pixabay.com, and the last two are from my own personal collection.