Crying in a Portuguese Bathtub
Life after School of Ministry.
I graduated from the School of Ministry (SoM) in Toronto, in February 2013. Since then, I have embarked on the great journey that is ‘life after SoM’, or as others might call it: life.
One thing you should know about me is that I love ice cream. I mean, I really LOVE it! Ask any of my friends, even acquaintances, and they will tell you the same, ice cream is one of my favourite things. To tell you the truth, I could sit and eat ice cream forever. I could frolic through mountains of vanilla bean, gleefully conquering the caverns of cookie dough, or go for a dip in the babbling brooks of chocolate saucy goodness. The fact is I love ice cream. If you love ice cream too, you'll know what I mean. If not; I hope I have stirred up the thought of one of your favourite things, because you might need it.
The best way to describe SoM is with ice cream.
Bliss. Incredible bliss, laughter, joy, openness, love, honour, challenge, encounter, change, and sprinkles. The School of Ministry was without a doubt the most life altering, incredible 5 months I have ever experienced, and it will be dear to my heart forever.
"As we move from glory to glory, to leave one glory behind takes trust."
Now imagine a life without ice cream. A barren wasteland of dry pies, limp lifeless cheesecakes. I shudder at the thought.
In all seriousness, finishing the school is difficult. To have something so close to your heart ripped away is painful, and to go home to a place that hasn't changed when you have is like trying to put a square peg into a round hole, it just doesn't seem to work. School of Ministry was great. But the hard truth is, sometimes we have to trade in something great for something greater, even though the loss can be painful. As we move from glory to glory, to leave one glory behind takes trust.
I had a really hard time going home from the school. I left a lot of great things in Toronto, and it was hard to see any real hope in going home. To my eyes, what was there for me? I suspect God's eyes saw something completely different. A few months after I got home, I went to Portugal with my family for a pleasant getaway. I dont know why, but thats when the poison of hopelessness finally reached my heart, and I realised it had been slowly destroying my insides. As it hit me in the bathtub, I bawled my eyes out. Partly at the bleakness of life, but mostly at the realisation of the lie that I had believed that life is bleak. It was the release of months of believing lies, and it was messy.
"Although sometimes you feel like you're being pushed out of the nest early, you have to believe that you will soar when you feel like you will fall."
You know, although I've never specifically talked to Gordon and Cathy about their heart for the school, I’m pretty certain that they would never want for every student to stay after the school finished. The logistics would be horrifying! The business boom for Attwell coffee would be nice though. Anyway, I digress. There is nothing like SoM. Praise the Lord for that fact! But I can't imagine staying there for my whole life, I would get so bored! There is a time to stay and a time to go, and although sometimes you feel like you're being pushed out of the nest early, you have to believe that you will soar when you feel like you will fall. The view from the nest is the best you will ever see, if its the only view you will ever see.
So how do we get out of the bathtub? I eluded to it briefly earlier. Trust. That magical word that is so vastly incomprehensible one could spend their whole life studying it and not even be knee deep in its relentless and perfect nature.
I have really struggled at times to believe the words God says about me and the promises he declares. Me? You must mean that other guy who seems to be great at everything?
"Trust empowers the impossible to become possible, because it chooses to believe in the unshakeable essence of God."
I love the story of Caleb in the Bible, what a man! He was given a tough challenge, to go into the land of giants, and after being in the wilderness for so long, it could have been easy to wallow in his present circumstance. But Caleb was a conqueror, and he chose to trust. He trusted in the goodness and the promises of God, and he, along with Joshua, received an incredible inheritance, more than his whole generation!
Nothing facilitates movement more than trust. Trust empowers the impossible to become possible, because it chooses to believe in the unshakeable essence of God. It chooses to make the impossible possible by believing in the God of the impossible. Its trust that got me out of the bathtub that evening, and trust that keeps me going. As I believe what God has for me more and more, I start to see it more and more. Trust takes that step of faith in who God is, despite your understanding. The truth is understanding really shouldn't be a precursor to faith, otherwise faith becomes redundant. Hebrews 11:1 tells is that "Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see" (NIV), not ‘the understanding of what we have to see before we believe in it’.
Take hold of what you learnt in your time at the school. Believe it. Say it over and over again if you need to, I do for sure. You carry something so so special, believe that you do.
When you've run out of ice cream, just remember: There are better things out there than silly old ice cream!