Stories from a life in progress.

What am I doing?

I'm in.  I've been accepted as a student at Evangelical Seminary in the Master of Arts in Religion program.  I have the opportunity now to study the Bible in-depth in a focused, academic setting.

At this stage I am unofficially-official.  I have received unofficial word (via email) that I'm accepted, but I'm waiting for the official word (via letter) to arrive.  Waiting impatiently, because I want to get on to the next steps and I don't even know what they are yet.

I'm excited.  It's good to have this big question mark settled.  I'm also gobsmacked, and more than a little daunted.  I feel like saying "what the heck am I doing?  Who thought this was a good idea??"

I suppose it's nerves; graduate school is a big undertaking.  It will soak up a lot of time, work, and resources.  But the nerves too easily become actual fear.  I feel like I haven't justified it well enough.  I feel like I should have a much clearer plan for what I'm studying and what I want it to do for me once I graduate.  I'm not sure any more if I've chosen the right concentration.  I'm just not sure about anything.

Similar fears echo elsewhere in my life.  Now that I have new, lovely office space to work in, free of helpful distractions, I've not been able to avoid the simple fact that I have no idea what I'm doing.  I don't know what to sit down and work on every day.  I don't have a plan.  I don't know how to be a professional writer.  I don't know how to make this into my career and living.

It's terrifying, and so far I haven't done a great job at facing it.  I've felt all locked up, no idea what to write about, no idea what decisions to make, or where to find guidance, or that guidance is even available.  (It is, but fear doesn't see that part.)

There's a good part to all of this uncertainty.  It's making me search for Jesus.  It's forcing me into fervent prayer, sometimes desperate prayer.  It's making me come to grips with how badly I want to be a competent, respected, modern professional, when that isn't what I need most and deepest.  What I need most and deepest is to realize what I've already got -- a place in God's family, all the promises of guidance and care written out in his book, love and life that will last beyond any modern competency, respect, or professionalism.

If I had a clear plan right now, I'd follow it -- eagerly, single-mindedly, selfishly.  I know I'd run after it and leave Jesus in the dust, and after wasting time, days or weeks or months, I'd come limping back when I got to the end of my ideas and realized there's nothing there.  If my future is veiled right now, it's a blessing, even though it doesn't feel like it.  It's making me stick close to the one with the REAL plans, the one who is preparing good work for me, work in which I will be made more real and alive at the same time that I serve other people and help them become more real and alive too.  This is what I really need.