A look back at the beginning

In honor of the last day of my first semester at George Fox Seminary, I’m posting a blog post I wrote, and never posted, on the first day of Threshold – the orientation and start-up for seminary.  What a joyous journey it has been so far.  Although I’m looking forward to a short break, I’m looking even more forward to the start of next semester….

August 20, 2010

The sun rises over Forest Grove, and several thoughts are running through my head and heart. The first, although likely obvious to most of you, but was not at all to me until it was too late – in all its glory and greatness, the iPod Touch does not adjust itself to reflect the proper time zone. So, if you were to set an alarm on an iPod Touch that normally resides in Mountain Time, for say 5:45 AM when you are in Pacific Time, it would in fact go off at 5:45 Mountain Time. Which of course means you are getting up one hour entirely too early, at the, dare I say, ungodly hour of 4:45. As the eternal optimist, I always have to find an upside – and it is this. At least I had not traveled to Central Time, as I would have been one hour late. Yes, it could have been much worse.

And so as it worked out, I’ve had extra time this morning to pray, read the Bible and reflect on the journey upon which I’m about to begin. Seminary. A couple things stand out in my mind as I ponder what the next four years may be like, and where they will take me. Firstly, my whisper from this morning: It isn’t so much about what I will do for God, but what God will do in me.

I admit – I’m not a process person. While I certainly respect, and sometimes even enjoy the process of getting from here to there, I’m much more results-oriented. I tend to be interested in where we’re headed, and much less so about how we’re getting there. But clearly seminary will be significantly process-oriented. Who I am becoming in Christ? How am I developing and growing? How am I being spiritually formed, and transformed?

The thing about being results-oriented is that most of the time, the results stem from my own hard work, dedication, ideas and talents. I’m in the driver seat, and can push the accelerator to go as fast, or as slow, as I need or want. Achievements and accomplishments are not unnecessarily messy, and honestly, don’t really require too much faith and trust.

That’s hardly the case for process. When you’re focused on the journey itself, instead of just the destination, the road is bumpy, filled with speed traps and even detours. The way is uncertain, and it’s all about faith and trust. It’s about becoming, not accomplishing. It’s about being molded and transformed, not being finished. So as I got into the shower this morning, praying about the day to come, I heard this whisper – It isn’t so much about what you will do for God, but what God will do in you.

That rings true in my heart, but I’m not entirely sure I like it. It means stepping back from the controls I believe I have firmly in my hands, taking my focus off achievements, and just enjoying and relishing where I am now, and the road upon which I’m traveling today. Tomorrow is another day. The destination is currently unknown, and frankly, not that critical.

And so it’s time get headed down that road, and to discover, at least what’s around the first bend.