2 1/2 months ago by faith, I finally started my post-baccalaureate studies after a 6 year break from school. A part of me regrets waiting so long, but as I’ll reemphasize later on, God’s timing is perfect. In just 2 1/2 months, a lot has taken place for me personally. I’m starting school in the midst of a season of my life that’s been kind of difficult and challenging. However, in this season there’s been tremendous growth to take place. While I could share probably 10-15 things I’ve learned since starting school, I’ll share with you four.
- My standards must increase in every area of my life. One of the biggest difference between undergrad and grad school is the depth that our work must have. No longer will we get an A or even a B for just “attempting” the assignment. If we’re going to get an A, we must present scholarly work that is excellent. This is a core lesson for me as I am a few months away from 30. In this season of schooling, I have also accepted my call to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. Because of schooling and the call I’ve accepted, I realize that my standards must increase in every way possible. It’s not fair for me to expect excellence from others but not operate in it myself. My calling demands me to walk in excellence honoring Christ. It’s not just about being good enough to get by, but it’s about excelling in every phase of my life. Luke 12:48 reminds us that if we’ve been given much, much more is expected of us. An opportunity to earn a master’s degree and this calling has been given to me. Because of what’s been given to me, much more is required.
- Be at peace with what God leads you to do. Four words have guided me through the start of grad school and accepting my calling to preach: God’s timing is perfect! More and more I am at peace with the decision I made to attend Grand Canyon and accept my calling to do what I was created to do. I firmly believe that in this life you will not have true peace until you are obedient to what God has placed in your heart. While I am nervous about some of the different parts of what God has called me to do, I am peace knowing that He is pleased with me. When you are at peace with what God is calling you to do, you do not owe anyone an explanation. At the end of the day, we as humans are fickle and inconsistent. While we should have accountability in our lives, we should be careful about giving explanations of our call to people who do not have the right to determine what God has called you to do. Be at peace knowing that God is directing your steps in every way possible.
- Making connections is critical to success. Already in grad school, I’ve made wonderful connections with men and women of God who are determined to live out their call. The biggest thing that I love about college and grad school (especially with the way social media is these days) is that we can make connections that will last forever. I love being around people (even online) who do not mind having an intellectual talk about the Christian faith, life, etc. To have people who are struggling like you to accept and understand their call is a tremendous blessing. It is also great to have people who want to help you grow especially spiritually. Lastly, let me take a moment and thank God for a connection that’s happened in this season. God has blessed my church with a new pastor. Since his arrival at our church, he has really encouraged and challenged me to be my best. His push and encouragement is part of the reason why I am moving forth in what God has called me to do. It is great to have someone, especially someone you call your pastor, who is in your corner and doesn’t mind investing in you. There is no telling what God is going to do in my life as a result of who I’m connected with.
- The Old Testament is a portrait of how gracious and mighty God is. If you’ve been around Christians for a long time, you probably know that there’s been this belief that the God of the Old Testament is a mean God full of wrath. While it is true that God punishes disobedient, the God of the Old Testament is also gracious. I’m in the next to last week of my Old Testament class and it has been a blessing in terms of understanding the overall story line of the Old Testament. Since the fall, God’s main concern has been establishing the relationship he had with humanity before Adam and Eve sinned. Taking this Old Testament class has allowed me to gain an appreciation for God in terms of who He is and what He means to me. I’ve been challenged to live my life with more reverence as a response to how holy our God is. I would encourage everyone at some point to really study the Old Testament starting with creation. What we see in the Old Testament is how great and mighty our God is. As Israel and New Breed said, who is like the Lord? Nobody!!
I pray that something I’ve said will be a source of encouragement and hope to you. My focus at this point of life is being obedient to what God has placed in my heart and soul. Life is too short to sit on the gifts God has placed in me to make a difference in this world. I thank the Lord that even though I do not feel qualified, God has called me and that’s all that matters!