Leaning in

On my way out of the gym this morning, a man offered me a Bible.  I always find it awkward when this happens.  At least once a year, the Gideons position themselves around campus and hand out New Testaments.  I do my best to smile politely, not wanting them to feel discouraged, and explain that I already have one.

When it happened unexpectedly, at the gym of all places, it got me thinking.

This semester is extremely challenging in many ways.  The apartments, which have been my home for three years, suddenly feel WAY too small.  My workload is immense.  Being in three literature classes is insane.  I’ll sit and read all day long and still not feel like I accomplished half of what I needed.  Preparing for the Bible study I lead is taking a lot more time.  Speech season is coming up, which means my Saturdays will soon be spent judging meets all day instead of getting ahead.  In addition to all this, the head copyeditor of the student paper is away for the semester and requested my assistance to help the paper stay afloat.  (Do I say yes when I really don’t want to?)

Then, there’s my senior seminar, which is the most challenging class I’ve ever encountered.  I knew it would be hard going in, but good grief.  The professor is one of the most intelligent human beings I’ve ever met.  All my classmates have had him before, so they already know how to handle his intense, direct, probing way of teaching.  I know I’ll get there, it will just take time to adapt and get a grasp for the ideas.  What’s most frustrating for me, though, is that he’s very into philosophy, tied intimately with theology and religion.  I’m not irked by the fact that his views and treatment of Christianity are flawed, but by the fact that I find a lot of that strain of discourse pointless.  My brain doesn’t naturally function philosophically.  I’m much more practical.  I like to see the work before me and do it, not sit back and ponder the philosophical meanings behind things.

Last night, I woke up at four in the morning and spent an hour having a hypothetical, half-asleep theological debate with said professor.  Back and forth I went, mentally finding scripture passages that validate my points, all the while knowing he (who is an atheist) will not understand.  The whole time, I knew it was stupid and dearly tried to fall back asleep.  But the thing is, part of me knows that my professor will push me and put my faith on trial when he finds out I’m not only a Christian, but one headed into a lifetime of ministry.  He’s going to batter me with empty philosophy, wisdom of the world, in attempt to push my critical thinking skills.

That’s why the man at the gym offering me a Bible stood out to me so much.  It was a reminder–God’s on my side.  I don’t have to debate or defend myself.  Because my faith is not his business.  It’s not his job as my professor to push that.  It’s his job to teach me about American biographical novels and help me learn.  In turn, it’s not my job to try to win him over.  This isn’t the movie God’s Not Dead (which I haven’t actually seen ’cause I find the whole concept too heavy-handed).  It’s my job to be diligent, write my big paper, and move on with my life.

It’s incredibly comforting that, even though this semester feels like such a burden and weight in so many ways, I don’t have to worry or fear.  All I have to do is lean in and trust that God will bring me through.  He’s called me to a life of serving, doing, encouraging, loving, and building the Kingdom and He is going to get me there.

2 thoughts on “Leaning in

  1. elliekristi January 23, 2015 / 3:35 am

    My dear Amelia, I see that you have encountered what I like to call “The Lackey Problem.” (I don’t actually like to call it that, but I just came up with it now and it seems fitting.) The man is a genius. It’s undeniable. I walked out of my class with him so many times feeling like he’d just ripped my faith to pieces, and I couldn’t even be upset with him because he was so rational about it. But all was not lost by the end of the semester, and I know that you of all people will get through it, too! And on the upside, I came away from that class with such a widened perspective on things and a stronger ability to think things through and choose for myself what I wanted to believe, and I don’t think any other professor could have given me that like he did. He made me a deeper thinker, and I’m sure you’ll find that as well. Benefit from his crazy intelligence, but don’t let him get you down. He’s smart, but not all-knowing! Good luck, I miss you!

    • Amelia January 23, 2015 / 9:04 am

      Ellie, this is EXACTLY what I needed to hear right now. I knew it was coming. But man… I wish I didn’t have to face it with hard-core senioritis. Thank you SO MUCH for the encouragement. I deeply appreciate it! You’re right, Lackey is smart, but not all-knowing. Plus, in many of the books we are reading, the characters and people back then are the ones misinterpreting the Bible. So he is really digging on the misinterpreted, poorly demonstrated Christianity of the day, not Christianity as it is supposed to be (although I don’t think Lackey recognizes the difference). It’s AMAZING how much people don’t understand without the Holy Spirit and faith holding it all together.
      Anyways. Thank you again for your encouragement!! I miss you right back!

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