From the land of texting and Facebook statuses, yet another acronym. This time courtesy of my soon-to-be 13 year old brother.
To my delight, one of his friends had to comment on said status, asking what LML stands for. So I’m not totally uncool for not knowing.
But it means LoveMyLife.
I felt a surge of joy to know that this is how my brother feels right now. After all, there are so many disaffected young people out there in this generation. To know that one loves his life – especially one as dear to me as he is! – is worth my joy. But the phrase did more than that to me. It hooked itself into my subconscious, reverberating around my heart. You see, I too LoveMyLife.
There is an overflow of my heart at the moment which I cannot control. Somehow everything has come together this term. As I have stepped out of the boat, as I have taken my first few tentative steps on the water, as I have panicked and worshipped, wobbled and praised, something has happened. There is such a sense of convergence. Convergence between call and passion and gifting and where I’m at right now.
And I know that sounds like a crescendo of words, a mere literary device. But it’s not. My call and my passion and my gifting have collided with my present experience and it is a powerful mix, a heady combination which is becoming more and more unstable, more and more likely to explode everywhere. My academic research and my pastoral practice have come together as one, and even my own walk of discipleship this term has echoed them.
As a friend said to me at the beginning of last year, I have a calling to stand with one foot in the academy and one foot in practice. Whether I like it or not, whether I know what to do with that or not, I am A&P, academic and practitioner. And finding that out this year, I mean, really finding that out, has been a source of great joy and also great spiritual growth. God knows that I do not study theology at this level to become an academic-y kind of academic. (And respect to those who do because we need those who give the whole of their lives to the development of the academy.) But I am called and impassioned and gifted to hold the two together. I immerse myself in academia that God might thereby break me again and again and again with the beauty and immensity of his dreams for the church and her leaders. And I immerse myself in the church because only there do I learn the context which makes sense of the deep thinking of the academy. And, in it all, I rediscover the true north of his call on my life: his desire for a beautiful and glorious church for himself.
So today I am celebrating with great joy. God began to speak clearly about this study only just over a year ago. (And, yes, I know half of you reading this already knew way before me that this was where God was leading me!) As his revelation unfolded to me, he led me to the discipline and the supervisor and, slowly but surely, he is leading me to the thesis. I have seen his faithfulness demonstrated again and again this term. Nine weeks ago, I met with my supervisor and I was beyond clueless. I had sat in the induction week of seminars, which was fine because all I had to do was sit there and be talked at! But that week, I had been wondering what I would actually do when I got to my desk the following week since I had no idea where I was going with this.
Yet, nine weeks on, things are different. I have a tiny bit of an idea, maybe not quite a full-on thesis but definitely a honing of my topic. And, as a complete ISTJ who only does detail (and fairly detailed detail at that!), I have loved and benefitted from interacting with a supervisor who thinks big picture, who encourages me not to need to know everything right now, not to need to control the details but to enjoy the bigness of this sea on which I’m walking.
Now, none of this should work for me, you know. Not the discipline in which I have engaged – if anything, we’d all have said that I’d do Biblical studies. Not the supervision relationship – I really don’t do big picture and I really do like the details. Not the whole idea of not knowing the end from the beginning which is intrinsic to doctoral research. But it works. It works for me because it was God’s idea, not mine. And this term I’ve been learning that his ideas are so much better than my own because it is only in that place that calling and passion and gifting collide…one day to explode everywhere for his sake.
Do you love yours?