I’ve noticed that this chase has developed a sort of pattern involving me pursuing the Lord about it, Him revealing things to me that freak me out and then I back off. Then we start the process all over again a few months down the road. And now I’m starting to think that I might be taking my first obedient baby step towards discovering what He has next for me (Sidenote: I adore photography and my business, I will never walk away from it if I have any say in the matter…I just feel like God is going to have something else planned for me too).
And that first step is actually a step back in time. I’m going back to grad school. Ha! No, not really. Well, kind of. I think I’ve decided to go back to seminary and audit some classes.
Long story short, I went to seminary for my M.A. in Counseling from 2007-2009. Half way through the program, I realized that counseling wasn’t sitting well with me. It was hard and I really didn’t feel like I was any good at it. I was thrown into really tough situations (counseling former prostitutes and homeless ex-convictss anyone? yeah, tough) and I eventually got to the point of having borderline panic attacks before counseling sessions. I was incredibly disheartened and defeated and sad. I thought that this was what God had called me to, how could it be such a difficult, painful and paralyzing experience?
And so, maybe as a defense mechanism, I basically checked out of school in my 2nd year. I turned away from my internship, rejoicing when clients no-showed or cancelled their sessions with me. I stopped trying to learn how to be a better counselor and just accepted that I was an ineffective counselor and there was nothing I could do about it other than quit. I stopped doing required reading for class, I stopped studying for tests, I came up with excuses to miss lectures and avoid my 3 hour daily commute to and from school and I just generally turned my focus away from school. I did manage to maintain a good GPA and I graduated, but I pretty much vowed to never use my degree.
At the time, I was fine with slacking. But now, it’s one of the deepest regrets I have in my entire life. I feel so much shame over how I finished my time there. It haunts me. Every now and then, I drive by the campus, and I just feel pain in my heart. Pain that I robbed myself of what could have been a great experience. Pain that I didn’t treasure my education at the time. Pain that I gave up without a fight, even though it was hard. Pain that I could so easily dismiss my opportunity to be there. I cheated myself and I regret that so much.
And now, 5 years later, I think I’m ready for a do-over. I’m ready to put my fears aside and go back with an open mind. I’m ready to attend all the lectures I missed and do all the readings I avoided and soak up all the knowledge I can. I’m ready to make up for the all the ways I cheated myself out of a good experience and try to reclaim some of the broken pieces of my heart that I left on campus.
I have felt a gentle theme of “finish your unfinished business, Becky” coming from the Lord for quite a while now. This relates to several areas of my life, but going back to school and redeeming my experience there is definitely at the top of the list. I really feel a conviction in my heart that this is something God wants me to do. And so I’m going to step out in obedience.
I recently found out that alumni can audit one class per semester for only $35. That’s amazing! I’m still praying about it, but I think that starting in January I’ll go back and audit one class per semester until I feel like I’ve gotten to a place where I can say I made up for all I lost in my first go round. It might take me 10 years, but I’m going to do it. And maybe along the way, God will give me a glimpse into fulfilling my calling. Maybe it will happen in class or in a reading or in a professor I meet, but I think this is my first active step towards exploring something else God might have in store for me. It took me 5 years to get here, but I’m here!
Now to be fair, counseling still completely freaks me out, so I think I’m going to start with a few of the Biblical classes I missed and then I’ll eventually build up the courage to take a counseling class or two. I don’t want to get too crazy and dive in head first or anything! Baby steps, baby steps….. 🙂