I love school--always have, always will. There is just something great about contemplating difficult questions and ingesting sweet knowledge! The problem? I want to get out of the practice ring and into the real world. You see, it was the real world guided me to this place. I chewed up lectures and assigned readings and spit out papers and presentations for my Religious Studies classes in undergrad, but I was adamant that I would not go to seminary just because I loved school. And then I became a YAGM.
As a participant in the ELCA's Young Adults in Global Mission program, I was thrust into the real world in an all too unfamiliar way. As a missionary volunteer accompanying a community in the West Bank, I learned that ministry looked a whole lot like relationship, caring, trust, sharing, grace, and agape love. I felt a call to work alongside, guide, and care for people in faith, and ordained ministry began to feel a whole lot more like my reality. This year exposed me to life outside of the classroom, and yet these experiences pointed me right back to the classroom. I decided to attend seminary not just because I loved to learn, but because I felt called to share the Gospel.
Still, seminary is a 4 year process of which I am a little over 2 months of the way through. Bottom line: though I love school, it seems a little counterintuitive to sit in a classroom again. I am impatient. These classes and assignments are extremely thought-provoking, practical, and applicable, and are helping me build a solid foundation for ministry that I would not otherwise have, but I still find myself praying for patience. ...A few weeks back, God heard my prayers and fed me soup.
This particular soup I'm talking about was a delicious chicken noodle soup a member of my dinner group made the other night. She said the soup must simmer for four hours in order to reach its fullest flavor. ...Okay, I get it. Building a strong foundation for ministry is like cooking up some delicious soup--it takes intentionality and care for all these ingredients to mix and mingle and come together over time to reach their fullest flavor-packed potential.
For this reminder, I am grateful-- there is still so, so much I must experience and learn. I continue pray for patience and God continues to say, "Simmer down, Janelle. We're still adding spices."