Sunday, September 26, 2010

Ups and downs of the process

If you were ever to read my diaries from ages 6-22 (how dare you even think of doing that?!), you would probably think I was some lovesick, depressed loony. I actually had a wonderful childhood full of amazing people and a lot of love. The reason you would have a misconception about me is because I usually only wrote in my diary when I was upset about something. A boy broke my heart. I didn't get the teacher I was hoping for. I was homesick. So on and so forth.

I've come to find that this blog has been somewhat of the opposite type of outlet. I like to write on it when things in life are going well because I don't think the world wide web wants to hear about my whining and murmuring. Plus I've realized that I have a really hard time being vulnerable. I have no problem with others sharing the deepest darkest contents of their hearts with me, but when it comes to my turn, I usually resort to "I'm fine, thanks."

I haven't written on this here blog in over a month which is a good indication that things haven't been going so well. The week following my last post I was in New York helping with new YAV orientation which was great. Wasn't much time for blogging there. After that I spent one day in Colorado and then drove back down to Austin. Two days later I took the Bible Content Exam and that's when things went sour.

I failed the exam. You need a 70% to pass the exam and I scored a 69%. The results of the exam are instant since it is online and when my score popped up on the screen I just stared at it. Now, if I had just casually studied for the test and walked into it in a cocky state of mind, I wouldn't have been upset. I would have realized that I needed to put more effort into studying. But I worked my ass off for that exam for the entire month leading up to it. I spent nearly every bit of free time during YAV orientation to study - taking prior exams and actually reading the Bible (gasp!). I'm not sure what else I could have done to be more prepared.

To make matters worse, this was a public failure. The results are immediately emailed to both our Vice President for Student Affairs as well as the chair of the Committee on Preparation for Ministry (the ones who are steering me through the ordination process). Plus, my peers all knew about the failure so there was no hiding it (although I did get to see some shining example of pastoral care/counseling from them).

My immediate frustration was in response to the test itself. But as the days passed I realized there was a much bigger problem here. I was beginning to question the discernment I had done which led me to seminary. I had to wonder: if God was calling me to this vocation, why am I meeting so much resistance? I'm referring to other matters, not just this one lousy exam, but I think this exam was a slap in the face that got me reflecting on life.

So that's where I'm at. I've been weighing a lot of options. Giving up my fellowship to take away the pressure I feel. Quitting my job. Dropping out altogether. For now I have quit my job so that I can make school my full time priority, but the other options are still on the table. It was not an easy decision to quit the job I love, especially since I've worked since I was 15. I realized that I need to focus my attention more since I am not a scholar and I have to work really hard to do well in school.

We'll see how things go from here...