School has started for all my teacher friends. Last year I was figuring out how to decorate wall panels and how to teach math, how exactly the temperamental copy machine works, and which seat each of my students would sit in for the first quarter.
But not this year. This year is something new. And while each year of the last six years has always had something new about this time of year, this year is something different.
This year I’m the student, not the teacher.
This year, I’m going to seminary.
No, not to become a pastor. At least, not a head pastor of a church somewhere where I give a sermon every week. I have no desire to do that. But I do have a desire to love and serve and minister to people. And while I already know how to do that, I’m going to school to learn how to do that better. And mostly because, six years ago, God planted that seed in me.
See, when I graduated college, I kinda figured that was the end of education for me. I never had any desire to go get a master’s degree. At the time, I wasn’t even sure I could mentally handle it. And I definitely didn’t want to try. I was done. I knew everyone else expected me to at some point, but I can be pretty good at ignoring people.
Plus, I had my life pretty much figured out. Granted, life was already deviating slightly from the plan, but I figured that was a temporary thing.
The original plan was to get my teacher’s license, teach high school English for a couple years, pay off my college debts (ha!), and then go be a live-in tutor of sorts for some family on the mission field in the bush of Africa (does Africa even still have a bush?). I was going to meet my husband on the mission field in the bush, and we’d get married under some tree somewhere in the bush, and then I’d teach our children wherever he was being a missionary (in the bush).
That was my plan.
And God laughed.
He sent me to college in Iowa instead of Colorado, like I had planned. And THEN, He gave me the desire to get a minor in theater, along with earning my Teaching English major. Which meant I spent an extra year in Iowa. Plus I had a minor I had never intended on having.
And then, after I graduated, I went straight to the mission field. No teaching in the States for a few years to pay off debts (yeah, as a teacher, that was never going to happen in just a few years). But the living overseas thing ended up not being my long-term calling. So I came home. And was a third-grade aide for a year, and then…well, I’ve had a lot of jobs since then.
And now I’m going to Seminary, because the summer I came back from Bahrain God planted that in me, and now that seed has grown into a rather intriguing plant, declaring to me that it’s time.
All that to say, life is NOT how I planned it. Life is NOT what I expected.
I’m not complaining. It’s been quite the journey, and I’ve learned so much. And I know God so much better than I ever dreamed, and I have so much more to learn.
I guess what I’m trying to say at the beginning of the school year is this: Life is probably not going to go the way you expect. Keep moving in the plans you have. Keep pursuing them, but when God comes along and swipes them away from you, and when He replaces them with something crazy – don’t be alarmed. Don’t even be surprised. Just keep moving forward.
Learn to enjoy the unknown and the surprise and even – yes – even the failure.
Hold everything with an open hand – it’s easier and less painful for God to switch things up on you that way.
Just remember that as Christ Reflections, it is our duty to bring Him glory. And when you offer Him your life to do with as He pleases, He’ll do just that. Trust Him; He’s great at planning adventures.