Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I stand amazed...

Well, the journey continues. It is a new school year and classes have begun. Although part of me, deep inside, was not ready for the year to start - my semester last Spring ended poorly - this new semester has gotten off to an amazing start. I am teaching four classes: two sections of Old Testament introduction, Introduction to Theological Reflection and my favorite: Theology and Culture. The fact that I am teaching these classes is not why I am amazed. Yesterday, after my first Old Testament class, I had a line of students asking me questions about faith and their own faith journey. I stayed an extra 27 minutes after class was finished just answering these questions. What a joy! That is why I answered the call to teach!

Between the ages of 17 and 30 (roughly) we enter into an existential crisis. We ask ourselves the questions, "who am I", "why am I here", "what do I believe", "why do I believe it" and "do I believe it enough to actually live it?" That is where these students are, and at a very basic level, I have been given the opportunity to guide these students through the process of answering these questions.

Although I wonder sometimes how much longer my call will remain here, I know why I am here and I stand amazed at God's plan - that Father, Son and Spirit would use this cracked, broken vessel (me) to be an instrument of His love, wisdom and story. I stand amazed at how He is working in these student's lives. I stand amazed at the changes that take place in the student body when students, faculty and staff embrace the work of the living, dynamic, Triune God in their lives.

I think the most amazing truth though is how He is transforming me in this process as well. When we submit ourselves to God's desire for our lives, He completes us. To be complete means to be changed to suit God's design, but additionally, it means to be satisfied. Change is never easy; but one of the things that smoothes the process is understanding. I understand why God is changing me; I know the areas of my life that He needs to transform in order for me to be what He has called me to be... and I am grateful. Then there is satisfaction. As I operate in the arena to which God has called me, I am satisfied.

So I stand amazed: amazed at my students, my wonderful friends, my precious family, my beautiful God and more than anything, I stand amazed at how God is changing me before my very eyes.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Keeping Your Head Above Water!

Have you ever gone swimming when you were tired? I am sure most of you have. But then while you were swimming, did you get even more tired and find yourself at a place where you were in over your head and treading water? Well I'm there. How do we allow ourselves to get to into these places in our lives? Is it a lack of wisdom? Is it a personality quirk? It is probably a bit of both. Anyway, I'm there. I've got enough irons in the fire for about 4 careers with no end in sight. So now I'm simply looking for the shore so I can rest. I know that I will be able to divest myself of some of these stresses in the near future. Now, for those of you who know me, I'm on a quest not to pick up anymore. I don't want anymore. I certainly don't need anymore!

For me - and here's my self-diagnosis! - I get into these jams when I start doing things without carefully praying through them and seeking God's wisdom. These "opportunities" look good, so I commit without thinking and praying them through completely. Again, there is nothing "bad" here, other than I am worn out, short with my family and unhappy with myself for taking on so much.

Things brings us back to an important note: life is a journey with God. He allows us to make decisions and commit to things even when He knows that we will become overwhelmed. Why? Because I believe he knows that we will end back up in His arms. Because life has always been about the journey and less about the destination.

Must go for now. Need to finish a couple of obligations.

Pax Christi.