11 am, Monday September 29, 2014,Touchstone: the first class of my Fuller career, the first meeting of its kind in the seminary’s history. And my fervent prayer for my journey as a full-time MDiv student, reiterated again as I walked into our classroom: God, teach and mold my heart alongside my head.
In March of 2013, when 23-year-old fears about lack of purpose or calling or job began to provoke major anxiety in me, two wise spiritual mentors advised taking a break. “Cease striving,” they said, “take time to learn with your heart that God loves you.” And, “find your worth in being, not in doing.” Heeding their advice, I took a year to allow reflection space into my life. And thus began a year of God teaching my heart freedom. Freedom simply to be with Him; not in bondage to doing and striving and proving. Freedom in the identity He has given me in Christ, which Ephesians 1 catalogs: I am “blessed,” “chosen,” “holy,” “blameless,” “adopted,” “for the praise of His glory,” “marked in Him with a seal,” and “His possession.” As I found freedom in my being, I found release to take the next faithful step in my “doing”: seminary.
This fall has seemed a kairos moment, the right timing to come to Fuller, both in how God is working in my life and in the life of the seminary. The new emphasis on vocation and formation demonstrates Fuller’s commitment to form whole people (head, heart, and hands) for ministry. And the Touchstone course, with its goals of spiritual and character formation and theological reflection, has been a clear answer to my frequently uttered prayer: God, teach and mold my heart alongside my head.
On that first day of class, our professor began with the words “leadership begins with listening.” We must listen, he said, in order to hear what those to whom we minister truly need—just as my wise mentors did when they recognized I needed a Sabbath rather than a job. And we must listen to our own experiences in order to learn from them, to see the narrative God is weaving. I look forward to listening to and reflecting on my Touchstone experiences (pun intended) this fall quarter, and watching as God forms me: head, heart, and hands.