January 26, 2008
I’ve been trying to learn balance. With so many things demanding my time and attention these days, it seems impossible to prioritize rightly anymore. I’m having to let go of my identity as the stellar student who throws herself into every assignment and turns in only the most meticulously researched and edited papers. Even taking advantage of the option to pass/fail a class feels like cheating (but what a relief it has turned out to be!), as though if I were just dedicated enough I could do it all.
I don’t want to be the kind of person who is so busy learning how to be in community that I forget to take time for people. Working at the bookstore provides the perfect opportunity for daily interaction with the Fuller community, but sometimes it seems like just a job. Or worse, just one more burden, one more demand on my time and energy. It’s so easy to get distracted from the subtle ways God sets me up for practicing the theories of “third place” community interaction. I’m trying to learn how to think “people” instead of “obligation.”
I don’t want to be so busy practicing leadership and administration skills with the coordination of Presbyterian Chapel that I forget to be involved myself in that opportunity for the corporate worship of God. I was telling a friend yesterday how ironic it is that while our theme this quarter is “building community,” I’m too focused on last-minute details and time management to notice who came to chapel or whether the Holy Spirit moved among us.
Going to PIHOP (the Pasadena International House of Prayer) gives me an opportunity to practice the fluid moving in and out of worship as necessary. I try to read for class while entering into worship and meditation with others in the room. Sometimes I wonder if I’m doing a disservice to both activities by not devoting full attention to one or the other. But here’s what I’m discovering through my efforts: those of us who will be in any kind of full-time ministry position simply will not be able to focus on only worship when engaged in leadership roles. We may find time for individual worship, surely, but the participation in corporate worship is also a vital part of the Christian life. Our only option, it seems to me, is to learn to balance worship and leadership, to develop the ability to move fluidly in and out of these roles so that everything about our mindsets and actions revolves around and centers on the worship of God.
This is the balance God has been teaching me since moving into my second year at Fuller. It’s a real balancing act, and I fall all the time. I have the bruises to prove it. But isn’t that what seminary is about? Learning to balance? Learning to build community? Learning to worship?