Thursday, October 11, 2007

86 Days ~ Immediate Changes for Long-Term Benefits

Time flies when you're having
fun!...
time flies when you have each hour of the day booked up on the
calendar...time flies when you are staring at your wedding to-do's and your
school to-do's knowing full well that one is clearly more fun than the other.
Yes, time flies. And I even forgot to mention that time flies when you have
planned your wedding immediately following the already crazy holiday season! So,
no, I haven't had writer's block this past week. If anything, I feel like I have
TOO much to write and therefore would struggle to fit it all into one or two
entries. The days feel as if they are becoming shorter and shorter, and I am
having a hard time believing that my first wedding shower is just over two weeks
away!



I made a pretty significant
decision this past week while my fiance' was away, one that required much
thought and prayer. With things being so quiet during the break from school, it
seemed that I was provided just the right time to think through such a decision.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am somewhat of a nerd. I say that somewhat
jokingly, but in all seriousness, I have been academically-driven throughout my
years of education. While I have never been driven to achieve top honors, I have
still wanted to excel in my studies. This is still an important area,
particularly in regard to personal stewardship, but it has proven to be a vice
at times as well. While I savor most of the areas of study I have been given an
opportunity to dive into, I am at times too concerned with the status benefits.
I am that student who immediately goes to the syllabus at the start of a new
semester, marking my calendar accordingly and examining the professor's grading
scale. I am a nerd in how diligently I keep track of such things. If this seems
like a lot of background data for a decision I haven't even mentioned yet, bear
with me.



I
have decided to change my degree track in the Biblical Counseling program from
Master of Divinity to Master of Arts. What this means is that rather than
continuing in a program that requires upwards of 90 credit hours, I will now
only be responsible for 50 in order to graduate. Some may think I was crazy for
even pursuing the M.Div to begin with, but that would be wrong thinking and
incorrect. I began school two years ago in pursuit of the M.Div because I wanted
to take the additional requirements. After making it through an extremely
liberal school of theology in undergrad, I yearned for classes full of sound
theology, ones that savored and found inexpressible joy in the truth of the Word
of God. I am switching to the M.A. at a good time because I have absolutely no
regrets about the classes I have taken thus far that will not count toward my
new degree track. I am SO thankful I took Greek and Hebrew, even if they won't
count for credit toward the masters degree with which I will be graduating.
(Sidenote: I don't think seminary is the ultimate requirement for ministers of
the Gospel - I have known plenty who only went so far as a bachelor's degree -
but I have serious reservations about someone who desires to lead a congregation
when they have not studied at such a level.) The counseling classes are
virtually the same for both, and all of the classes I have left to take are
requirements for both tracks.




What drove me to
this?
I did not make this decision simply because Hebrew is hard...
No, I
made this decision for myself, and not with an attitude that claims
this should
be the expectation or standard for anyone else in a similar
season of life.
Quite simply, preparation for marriage has compelled me to
re-evaluate pretty
much every aspect and priority in my life. I stepped back
this past week and
honestly asked myself if I need to pursue a Master of
Divinity. Do I need to be
pursuing such a saturated degree when the Master
of Arts is designed precisely
for the area to which I feel called. I have no
desire at this point to pursue a
Ph.D; I have no reason to do so. And I am
not going to be pastoring a church, hehe -- if I had such a desire, I am CLEARLY
at the wrong school! I desire to
enter into a biblical counseling setting
in which I can serve as an instrument
of hope which comes only from the Word
of God. The bigger picture is
characterized by my passion to encourage as a
godly wife and woman in the
church. These are not desires which require a
more prominent degree. The bigger
picture is also achieved by my decisions
in the more immediate future. I would
much rather be finished with school,
not only to be that much closer to actually
being able to counsel others,
but also to help that much more in getting my
husband through school. One of
the many ways I have been encouraged during my
time at Southern is by women
who actually work full-time and see it as the
current way in which they are
serving their husbands. That excites me so! The
Lord has provided a
wonderful season in which I get to serve my husband in such
a way that
allows him more freedom to study and prepare for the position to
which he
has clearly been
called.




What have I learned from all of this?

  • Wisdom is not defined by an academic title or pursuit.
  • I admire women in both the Master of Divinity and the Master of Arts tracks.
  • Cultivating a home of Christ-centered love and submission should not be put aside, but rather something which begins from day one.
  • I am thankful more than ever, even on the most stressful of days, for the job the Lord has provided.
  • I am beginning to see the stark contrast between the many definitions of success in our culture.
  • Preparation and focused goals are not easy, and I am incapable of achieving anything of worth in this life apart from the strengthening and empowering of the Holy Spirit.
  • I like Diet Coke with Lime.

5 comments:

Funderstorm said...

37 days!

Jenn Swadell said...

Hey! Glad to hear the outcome of all that thought:) I appreciate your humility in making this decision--if I had to make it, I am sure my pride in wanting the bigger degree would get in the way! I love you, dear sister, and I'm very thankful for you:)

Gretchen said...

Grace -- we are going to Ohio this Saturday to see our new nephew. It's been almost a month since he was born -- and we still haven't seen him!

ColoradoDreaming said...

Sounds like you are doing some major searching and finding. Time is passing so quickly. Will be here before you know it!

Amanda said...

wow! Well that was very thought out! Going through those decisions are sometimes annoying, but I bet you feel a lot better now that you've finalized that! Good job!