Three times a year I travel to Denver to be in community with my fellow students at Iliff Theological Seminary as we gather for our intensive hybrid classes with meet for an eight-hour block to fulfill our residential credits for our various programs. Some students live in the Denver area and the rest of us come from all over the United States. It’s a fantastic community. But I am finding that even after completing almost five quarters, there are many of us who still struggle with our identity at this institution.
During my Buddhist Philosophy class, I had a realization. Now I did not have much to say in this class because Buddhism is not my thing (yet very interesting), there were people who had a deep, vested interest in Buddhism and knew way more than I ever will. Here I am, holding on for dear life by completing the readings and trying to post somewhat insightful responses to our discussion boards, and I feel like I don’t belong.
Of course, Cazandra, you aren’t a Buddhist! That is what my mind tells me, but as a student, yearning to know more about faith and why I believe what I believe, I feel like my deficits are in abundance. But then I stop to look at the different reasons so many of us are in seminary. Many are on the path to ordination with a calling to be pastors. Some are called to chaplaincy, others to non-profits to work tirelessly in the name of social justice. And a few like me who are still discerning their call to ordained ministry as a deacon. It could be after my discernment with my mentor that I find my ministry can be fulfilled as a layperson who has an MDiv. No matter what, I’ll come out with the knowledge and ability to help others as they move forward in their faith journey.
For now, I take it a class at a time, a week (or even a day) at a time with the hopes that I put my best efforts forward and that I am listening to the call of my Creator.
Sometimes we “cast out our nets” in the hopes of gathering all we need and often are disappointed in what we collect. Why not cast your net and instead of trying to grasp on to what you think you need, collect the joys, love and hope that God has put into your life?
When we revel in the abundance that God has blessed us with, we know not only who we are, but whose we are, and we will never struggle with our identity again.
Today I Am Thankful For: