(Despite my to-do list this is probably a more accurate picture of how I’ll spend my Christmas break.)
I decided almost two years ago to stop making excuses and finally go to seminary. It was absolutely the right decision, as I love learning generally and particularly learning more about God. Despite being convinced it was and remains the right choice, this has been a horrible semester. Seriously, from missing assignments to almost missing a final, it has been a comedy of errors. I still might pull out of this disaster with decent grades and at least one A (hopefully two), I don’t say this to brag on myself, but to brag on God.
Here’s the thing, I never got my footing this semester. I never found the balance between school, a full-time job, spending time with my friends, freelance writing for a couple of publications, serving my local church, leading two bible studies, and a book club. As anyone who has read the blog post that kicked off my whole writing journey knows, I have no problem quitting things. Unfortunately, in this season, I never felt released by the Lord to say no to or quit any of these things. In fact, I said yes to another pretty huge thing after the semester started because I felt God called me to serve with this group, despite my desire to beg off due to my already crazy schedule. Yet, amid this absolute chaos, God has been right here with me. He’s given more time, grace from professors, cancelled meetings, encouraging words from strangers when I just felt like I could not do anymore, and the wisdom to manage all the things on my plate.
Every time I’ve been tempted to freak out, He’s sent a reminder of His sovereignty and provision. It has not been done perfectly, but I don’t think God ever asked for perfection. He asked for obedience and I am a living testimony that God blesses messy yeses. God is not looking for us to do the things He’s called us to perfectly, He’s called us to be faithful and in some seasons that just looks like showing up for book club with only one of the assigned chapters read or writing the paper in a hotel room between meetings.
I am a recovering control freak and people pleaser, so when I cannot properly obsess over every sentence and re-write every paragraph till it is perfect before turning it in it brings a certain level of anxiety. But, I am learning to let it go, I want to do my work to the best of my ability for God’s glory, but sometimes the glory is just in completing the task or in showing up long past the point when you wanted to give in.
Just completing the task is an act of obedience, its easier to think we are the sole actors in the narratives of our lives, that we are the heroes and nothing happens without our making it happen, including God’s plan for our lives. But the truth is the responsibility for making God’s plans succeed is not on us. It’s on Him.
For a control freak, these are words bring freedom. They are not an excuse to slack off, but a recognition of the reality that where God calls He equips, He opens doors no man can shut, and grace will take you farther than hustling ever could. If I am really called to a PhD (which sometimes feels like a pipe dream), God knows the grades I need to get in and I can trust Him to make His plans come to fruition. I get to participate in God’s work in my life and in the lives of those around me, but it is not an independent study, for better or worse it is a group project, for which I suspect God carries more than a little of the weight.
The semester is finally over. There are some things I know I can do better, not out of a sense of striving but from a heart of stewardship. But, I am grateful for all the ways He has carried me to the finish line.
God wants our obedience, not perfection, where He calls He provides more than enough to complete the task, and our failings cannot stop God from accomplishing His purposes.