The Year of LearningI have been thinking about how my experience this year has been varying from my experience last year. If I were to give last school year a designation, I would have called 2011-2012 the "Year of Surprises and Blessings". God surprised me around every corner by overcoming my cynicism and pessimism about what is possible around me, through me, and through those I work with.
This year has been a great one so far. It too has been a blessing, but in a completely different way. It has been a year of being humbled and challenged. And while the entire experience has been very tiring over the last few months, I wouldn't trade it for a moment; I'm going to be much better on the other side of this experience. God is at work molding me, pruning me, and teaching me to continue to grow in my leadership abilities.
If I could be so bold as to make a presumptuous prediction:
2012-2013 is the Year of Learning
It's been a year of learning about my personal capacity. I pushed the limits of what I was trying to do this summer. I set goals that were a little too high and expectations that were probably even higher. From fundraising to personal growth to what I hoped to accomplish in my ministry, I kept trying to feed the "expansion monster". I wanted my knowledge to expand, my ministry to expand, our funding to expand, our impact to expand... I forgot to listen to what God was doing; I ran past Him. I bless Him for His gentle call back to where He was on the path.
It's been a year of learning how my plans are not always (or even most of the time) God's plans. To hold my dreams loosely and wait on what God wants to do in the lives of other people was incredibly important to my sanity this first quarter. This is not to say that it wasn't a personal struggle -- it most certainly was. But to constantly be reminded that just because our interns don't respond the way I envisioned them responding, or just because my disciples don't see life the way that I see it, or just because I'm not able to be the rabbinic Superman at the BEMA House that I wanted to be, this doesn't mean that God is not directing our steps, impacting lives, speaking to our hearts and setting captives free.
It's been a year of learning about the things I still struggle with personally. Pride. It rears its ugly head from time to time. And it hurts. When I don't hold it in check, it can hurt other people. This leads to confession and the need to seek forgiveness from other people. People are most often ready to grant that forgiveness and that actually leads to another challenge -- accepting grace! When you know that you've dropped the ball and blown it and the offended party tells you that they know and that it is OK, can you accept the grace? Do you continue to try and "right the wrong"? Prove your genuineness? To accept love is harder than we might think. But it makes us better, doesn't it? To be a part of that story is compelling and I long to put that on display to others.
It's been a year of learning. The Spirit is such a tricky thing to discern. As Jesus said, like the wind, She blows this way and that, and it's impossible to tell where She's coming from or where She's going. But you know that the Spirit is working. (see John 3:8)
To stay faithful to the call. To be ready to jump out of the way and let God move.
This is a tricky thing to learn.
But it's good.
And it's going to be a good year.
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