Confession Time: I withdrew from the Master’s Program I was in last week. Honestly, I don’t owe anyone an explanation, the decision was strictly between God, me, and Tyler. BUT, I am working on overcoming this wonderful little thing called Pride, and I think sharing part of the reasons behind my decision may be a step in the right direction.
First let me start by saying this, I am a ridiculously prideful person. I am also a ridiculously competitive person. I do NOT like these qualities in myself and unfortunately I have lost some friends because I didn’t see these qualities as a problem for a very long time.
I realized not too long ago that when people asked me what I was doing, it felt really good (but in a bad way) to say “Oh, I’m pursuing a M.Div through the BMA Seminary and working with girls at my church and at a local college ministry.” If you read that in my voice, you would hear a tone of snobish in it. When I finally heard myself say these words I was shocked! It dawned on me that I had two reasons for starting Seminary last fall: 1) To know God more/better and 2) Because that’s what I was supposed to do- after Bachelor’s comes Master’s.
Although my first reason was a good one, at least it seemed like it at the time, my second reason is just ridiculous. While I wanted to know God more and thought I could do that best if I was graded on it, I was wrong. I turned studying God into a chore to check off my To-Do list, something I absolutely dreaded instead of seeking Him because I love Him. I am so ashamed of that. How in the world was I supposed to be an example to my Middle School Girls and my ABSer’s when I dreaded reading my bible and praying?
Thankfully God has this beautiful sense of humor that feels a lot like a swift kick in the rear at times. I realized that seminary, although a good thing wasn’t necessarily a God thing for me, last Sunday over the course of about an hour. When I looked into the last day to withdraw, it happened to be the following Friday. (Coincidence? More like God-incidence)
Dropping out in the middle of the semester is something I never would have done on my own. In fact, even writing about it now I much prefer the term withdrawing over dropping out- it sounds so much more positive.
There will be some people that think I made this decision due to one of the following reasons (all of which are false):
- I’m Pregnant- FALSE!
- I was failing my classes- also false!
- My Husband didn’t want me to continue- definitely false!
- The list goes on…..
I recognize that through the world’s eyes, this is marked down in the failure category and I’m making my peace with that. I recognize that not having a tangible reason for this decision is not a good way to make the decision. I recognize that if I probably would’ve prayed about this semester before I signed up for classes, I would’ve saved a lot of time and money. Ultimately I recognize that my life is no longer my own.
For the longest time I thought I was in charge of my life and while I do have free will to choose whether to obey or not, I want to be all in. If I’m going to make the statement that I want to be a living sacrifice and to give up my life (desires, plans, needs, etc) to the Creator then I have to be able to obey when he starts leading. I have to learn to be sensitive to his guidance and to see it when He provides it. I don’t want to just talk the talk about being All In, I legitimately want to live a life fully dedicated to Christ.
As I was making this decision, I came upon a great quote by Glynnis Whitwer that was perfect for this competitive, pride-filled heart.
“I want a heart that pursues God more than goals.”
So long story short, although I hope God will open the doors for me to continue my studies one day, I want to make sure I am seeking Him first. I want to pursue God more than myself, more than my goals, more than my plan. I want to be obedient. And so far, he’s been answering my prayers to break me to His will, not my own.