What’s your deepest secret? Obtaining an M.Div. degree was mine. I didn’t share it with anyone, didn’t talk about it and certainly didn’t write down any goals to complete it. Life was happening around me just fine. Then along came a few bumps in the road, I won’t get into that now, but I can tell you this: when life changes, whether you expect it or not, you adjust. It could be your surroundings, the people in your life, or even your circumstances. Either way, they all have the ability to change you.
I think many of us do not appreciate the opportunity, but as you will soon know, I am someone who embraces shifts. I don’t just wait for things to happen, I encourage it. I believe change is growth. I always tell my daughters that if you’re working on something and you feel like it’s a little over your head, it is a good sign. It means you’re growing, learning and changing. When I decided to listen and pray about the call to attend seminary, I didn’t understand all the changes that would take place in my life. I didn’t even understand how it could possibly happen considering my busy lifestyle. Two teenage daughters, active with sports, a fulltime business to run, commitments with church, family, etc. Where would I find the time for this change in my life?
Fast forward, I am thriving in my third semester at Regent. The process has been awesome. During my first two semesters, I met other women who were undertaking the same commitments. Full schedules, families, work and even a nail appointment or two (when we can find the time). We were all juggling our schedules while adding master’s classes to the mix. I soon learned their similar journeys. We spent countless hours Talking and listening to God – before, during and after the semester. Each class will remind you to, “Begin with prayer that the Holy Spirit will guide your study and give yourself wholeheartedly to the course assignments that involve spending time in prayer.”
So what other conversations are essential? Here is the remaining list of the 7 Best Talks for 1st Year Seminary Students…and each year till graduation.
Talk to your pastor. You will need a mentor or two during this journey. Ask for prayer. Prayer for all you will accomplish now and in the future. Meet on a regular basis and share your growth. You are growing the Kingdom and it is a blessing!
Talk to your family. You can’t do it alone. Change requires everyone in the family to change something. In my case, it was my daughters understanding that Mom needed to be home right after the soccer game for a Wimba class and designating some nights as “Post Night.” I shared with my family my dream and how God is moving in my life. I asked them to change with me. I am so blessed they are a willing part of this journey.
Talk to your co-workers/staff. A time will come when you will have that crazy look in your eyes (usually driven by a major paper assignment due date). Let them know how they can support you.
Talk to your professors. I know it sounds easy enough, but I’m a first year M.Div. distance education student and it was a difficult call to make. Touch base with the professors, say hello, ask a few questions and let them know what’s happening in your neck of the world. I admit I was hesitant (my fault, not theirs). Each time I pick up the phone, it’s the best call I can make.
Talk to fellow students. This is important and I don’t mean on Facebook. Find others to connect with. In my case it was for women from my first semester Spiritual Formation class. We’re getting together this summer to meet face-to-face and enjoy a casual retreat. These women are awesome, and we have encouraged and prayed for each other many, many times. I am thankful for Professor West, who told us to hold on to one another. She was right, again.
Talk to yourself. Really? Yes, really. When the professor says, keep up with the reading, follow this advice. Help yourself to stay on track, look ahead and carve out time to read and write. Take time at the beginning and the end of your day to evaluate what’s happening in school and how this is changing your life. In the midst of it all, encourage yourself, enjoy the journey, and continue to pray. And remember….enjoy the change.
Wishing you Grace upon Grace!