The last sixteen months have been spiritually challenging for me. Challenging in that I feel like I have been in a bit of a rut. I think it started with the move to Dallas. I quickly discovered that I was not fitting in at Dallas Theological Seminary and I realized that I had gone to DTS without really seeking God’s guidance. Don’t get me wrong, the semester at DTS was not wasted. I took 6 hours of Greek that were extremely valuable and really helped me get my footing with a language that had eluded me during two semesters of study at Oklahoma Baptist University.
The transfer to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary helped somewhat, at least I know I am in the right spot now. The seminary culture continued to get to me, however. I missed interacting with other disciplines outside of the seminary bubble of studies. The need to put on a mask of perfection is greater in a seminary environment than anywhere I have ever encountered. Everyone seemed to have to wear a mask of perfection and it grated on me and made me bitter about seminary in general.
This semester did not start out much better. The move to Fort Worth brought me closer to campus but dramatically lessened the time I could spend with my wife because her job is still in Dallas. I was frustrated with some of the hoops you have to jump through at school.
Things started to change as I got further along into my church history class. I started enjoying the class in a way that I hadn’t since I left OBU. While I can’t say I am loving my other classes, having the one class that I absolutely love has helped make the others more bearable.
My wife and I began to make a conscious effort to spend more time together. Her insane work schedule had made it hard for both of us to set aside the time needed to continue to grow our relationship. Now, there are some days where school work and other responsibilities get pushed to the back burner because I have come to realize that when things are running smoothly in my marriage, the rest of life runs a lot more smoothly as well. I have learned not to sacrifice marriage on the alter of seminary. Family comes first.
Finally, and most importantly, God began to push through the walls of bitterness that I had built up over the last year and half. Some of this was a result of my church history class. Studying history and seeing how God has moved in history reminded me of what an incredibly powerful God I serve. He also began to speak to me through music. Hymns and praise choruses became true cries of praise and not just words. Times of worship in chapel and church became times of true spiritual growth. I also recently got out my guitar after a two year hiatus and found that a personal time of praise and worship has helped to reinvigorate my relationship with my Savior.
This time in the desert has taught me a lot of things, and I am sure that through my life I will spend much more time in the desert. I know that when my relationship with God is where it should be, the rest of things in life tend to fall into place. Things that I wouldn’t have considered before, are becoming a possibility thanks to the oasis.
Thanks be to God for His amazing grace and bountiful mercy!