Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Seminary Stress

This could be a sequel to my "Seminary Sanctification" post awhile ago. At that point and time the difficult part of the process was the time leading up to the decision of where to go to grad school. Well, that difficulty has passed. I chose Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. It came down to the fact that it's a good school with good profs. It is a manageable distance from home (GR). And they were willing to take off 18-22 credits off my degree because of classes I took at Moody.

The decision making itself was not that bad. In fact it was a little fun. You'd have to understand how much I love signing up for classes though. I made a habit of signing up my friends for their classes while at Moody. :)

After picking the school, finding a place on-campus to live, picking my classes... the real stress came. It manifested itself in 3 main ways:

1. Money- After paying for only room and board for 3.5 years at Moody, all of a sudden I started caring a lot more about how many credits I was taking when it costs almost $700 a credit...

2. Job- This is related to the money. I have developed a talent for not being very good at the job searching process. I got lucky at Moody when a friend hooked me up with a job on Dish Crew. With the costs as high as they are I'll need a more substantial job than that anyways.

3. Hebrew- Still related to the money issue, I'd like to be able to test out of the first 2 semesters of Hebrew. My problem is that I picked up my book yesterday for the first time since Spring 2010... and I don't remember nearly as much as I thought I would. The test is worth $3500 in credits I wouldn't have to take so I immediately feel the pressure.

All of this struck me as I was trying to fall asleep last night. I don't recommending thinking about such things as a way to fall asleep. I didn't sleep well. I woke up with a headache. I sit with a general sense of uneasiness that I did not have before. "Did I pick the right school?" "Should I even be going to grad school?" "Did I really consider the questions that Kevin DeYoung posed about going to seminary? ( "

Do I have the answers to these questions? No.

I do have two things that bring me comfort in a sea of uncertainty:

1. Proverbs 16:1 (NLT) "We can make our own plans, but the Lord gives the right answer." I trust because of all of the comparing I've done and my passion to know God's Word at a deeper level to be able to more capably teach students that Trinity was not a bad choice. I was just talking to a friend about living life planless vs. planned out. The truth is that in both cases, though a plan may provide momentary comfort, there is no telling what the future holds. God, the Ordainer of all things, the One who holds the World in His hands, the Director of all my steps, does know that future. It may very well not turn out the way I thought but I will not turn out differently than God has determined.

2. I'm not afraid to fail. Well, actually I am but if I can set the mentality that Trinity is the right, wise choice and it doesn't work out. If I can't pay for more than one semester... if I do my very best and yet the door still closes, I can trust that God is still working in that to direct my path. That doesn't mean I can be irresponsible with my money but since going to Trinity this semester seems to be the wisest choice, I will trust that it is the right one until it is evident that it is the wrong one.

So, if you think of it, pray that I would not succumb to the stress of the "what ifs" or the things that I cannot control. Pray that I would be wise with the resources that God has given me. Pray that I would find my comfort in God's sovereignty. Pray that I would be brave enough to fail, if that's how God chooses to direct my steps.

1 comment:

  1. Joe, Great post, man! And, again, twas great seeing you at the Whitecaps game. I really identified with your above thoughts, for I too have been looking into grad-schools and differing programs and so forth. Your concerns were likewise mine. For quite some time I was certain I was going to pursue seminary, so much so that I enrolled at Gordon-Conwell. In recent months, however, I believe the Lord may be calling me to a different field and thus, school. But, we'll see! Finances, job, and residence are all part of the journey, and with Amber and Isaiah alongside me, the search for answers to those perpetual "what ifs" you mentioned are all the more daunting to find and pressure-intense as the "man" of the house. I'm arriving though at the place where I have to pursue what I believe in and what also I can have an effect in kingdom work. We'll be praying for you in the days ahead. Keep writing!
    Drew Hutcheson