Friday, December 19, 2014

What I Learned

10 weeks ago, I started a journey called #amydoesseminary. 


70 days were spent reading through the book of Leviticus, and I'd like to think I walked out different than when I walked in. 

I signed up for the class as a fluke, testing to see if any classes were still open. I had probably tried about 6 other classes before typing in the code for Leviticus, and when I saw I got in, I immediately dropped the course. I didn't have any interest in trudging through the book of the law, but after reading the description and the requirements, I realized my mistake. I had to call and get a one-time-only exception to re-add the course I had dropped, and as I snagged the last remaining spot, thus began my study of Leviticus. 

I learned a lot in these past 10 weeks. The girl who thrived under the pressure of school all of her life suddenly found herself overwhelmed with stress. It didn't make any logical sense; I enjoyed what I was studying, only had one course load to manage, understood the material, and typically enjoyed writing about scripture. So why the unexpected anxiety? 

I don't know if there's a clear answer, but here's what I do know: I'm thankful for that stress. I'm thankful that it forced me to take some deep breaths, and completely sift through everything I've ever believed about school. I had to ask myself, why am I doing this? Am I doing it to get straight A's? Or am I doing it to learn? There was never any doubt that the answer was the later, so I was forced to reframe what my 25 year old mind has always believed about success. 

You see, my entire life I measured success by the outcome. A successful course received a good grade; it didn't matter how long I retained the information so long as my report card displayed 'success.' Seminary school has brought me to a new measurement style.

Am I learning? If the answer is yes, then I'm doing what I'm supposed to. If the answer is yes, then I've got myself success. 

So now let's ask the question: did I learn something? Besides some personal growth, did I learn anything biblically? 

Absolutely. 

I had read Leviticus before, multiple times in fact. But though I had read it, I had really only skimmed it. I had really only read out of obedience, rather than seeking to learn something

This time was different. Perhaps it was essays and homework assignments that forced me to go deeper, or perhaps it was the aid of some incredibly insightful and wise commentaries {it was definitely both}, but either way, this time I learned more than just how to obediently read scripture that doesn't appear applicable anymore.

This time, I gained a deeper understanding of the beauty and necessity of the law. You know that statement of Jesus', "I didn't come to abolish the law, I came to fulfill it?" I get it now. 

I get that the law was given out of love. I knew that before, but now I understand it. Funny how there can be a big difference, right? Between knowing something, and understanding it. Now, I understand that the law was designed to protect what God designed for good. God designed man to live in harmony with all the earth, rule over its inhabitants for their protection, and enjoy fellowship with the one and only God. 

So when you read laws about agriculture and farming? It's so that man can live in harmony with all the earth. And when you read laws about dietary restraints? It's so that man can rule over the animal kingdom for their protection, not for their harm. And when you read laws about maintaining holiness? It's so that man can enjoy fellowship with a holy God. 

How frustrating is it to be forced to follow a law that doesn't make sense? (Speed limits and red lights when there is no one else on the road, anyone?) It can spark a reluctant and rebellious heart, that's for sure. Understanding the meaning and intention behind the law changes everything. It illuminates the fact that our God is worth obeying because He loves us, not because He is a distant tyrant. 

To close out this post, I want to say a giant thank you. Thank you to everyone who read one of my (multiple) SOS PRAYER posts on Instagram, and prayed. In the moments where I was desperate enough to publicize my melt downs, those prayers were game changers. 

You guys are all game changers, though. I hope you know that. I started this blog in quite possibly the most distant position I had ever been from God, and somehow, He met me in this space. So from the very bottom of my heart, thank you for being a part of it. 

If you obey my decrees and my regulations, 
you will find life through them
I am the Lord. 

Leviticus 18:5

1 comment:

Alessandra Ferguson said...

I can only imagine how tough of a class this was! Way to go girl. I am so excited for this journey you have taken, you are going to rock seminary! Also, very good to not measure by your grades but what you learn. I had to do that through Bible College as well. That letter grade doesn't necessarily reflect everything that you gained from that class - including the spiritual growth!