So, I started seminary today. I'm going to get my Master's of Divinity.
It always amazes me how God answers prayers in the most unexpected ways. I've been feeling really frustrated lately, because I didn't know what I wanted to do. Not being able to practice law in Pennsylvania was a blow, but not in the way most people might think. I wasn't disappointed because I couldn't practice law per se, I was disappointed because for the past seven years law is how I have defined my call to ministry. I didn't doubt that I was called to be involved in ministry, and I didn't doubt that my calling involved going to law school, but every combination of the two that I had imagined was thrown out the window when we decided to move down here. It's not an easy thing to find out that you've been wrong about something for the past seven years of your life!
I've been looking for jobs and trying to decide what my next step should be since we moved down to Pennsylvania in December. I've applied for several jobs, but nothing has really felt right. There were one or two I was excited about, but nothing ever came of them, and the excitement wore off.
I was reading an interesting article the other day about how we make decisions. (Thanks, Qwittle!) Basically, the article says that when we are making more complex decisions, it is better to look briefly at the facts, and then not to think too hard about it. The idea is that our subconscious can consider more factors at one time than our conscious mind, and what seems like a "snap" decision will often be the best decision overall. It's an interesting theory, and I think I probably subscribe to it. Honestly, most of the major decisions in my life have been made with what might have seemed like little conscious consideration, but I don't doubt that they were the right decisions.
Personally, my Christian faith always figures heavily into my decision-making process. I think that when I make the right decision, I will have a sense of peace about it. I suppose that sense of peace could be interpreted non-religiously, too, in that the right decision will sit well with every other aspect of my being. But I like to think of that peace as a tangible confirmation from God that I made the right decision.
On Saturday I went on a job application spree. I spent hours on the internet browsing jobs and emailing my resume out to people. I had come to the conclusion that the only way I was going to figure out what I wanted to do was by applying for lots of different jobs and hoping that one of them would strike me with that long-hoped for peace.
Then, on Sunday, I had another idea. I had talked to my friend Erin before we moved down to this area about the possibility of going to this seminary. Getting my M.Div. is something that I have considered for a while, but every rational part of me had decided that I had been in school for all but two of the past 24 years, so I should get my Master's later. But I remembered Erin mentioning that classes were divided into quarters, so on a whim, since I was considering options, I went to their website to see when the third quarter started. And, what do you know, it started today. I made a few phone calls, and the next thing I knew I was at the seminary today to attend a class and see if it seemed like something I wanted to do.
And it is. In the past year, I have felt that peace about a decision a total of three times: Once when we decided to move down to Pennsylvania, once when we decided to attend our current church, and then today when I decided to go to seminary. My last hesitation floated away when I found out that, even starting mid-year like I am, I should still be able to attend on a full scholarship.
Thanks to everyone who has been praying for me. There are still some details to work out, (like will I try to find a part-time job while I'm attending classes?) but I have a sense of peace about the overall decision, and I know they will work out.