I’m a runner.
Hmmm… Maybe I shouldn’t say it quite like that. After all, that statement gives off the impression that I run long distances for the heck of it, when in reality my running typically has a purpose and is more akin to a baby giraffe taking it’s first few steps; it’s awkward, it’s funny, but it’s not incredibly rewarding.
So allow me to rephrase that: When the proverbial ish hits the fan in life, my first instinct is typically to cut and run… And to continue running until I slam into something that forces me to stop.
For years, this was my coping strategy to make it through life. Oh, you don’t like something? Just run away from it. Eventually it will all be okay again.
Learning to play the guitar? Too complicated? Just quit.
Oh you backed yourself into a corner in this relationship? Don’t want to go through the pain of fixing it? Just vanish.
[Insert difficult situation here: You name it, I’ve probably tried to run away from it in my last 23 years on earth.]
In recent years I feel like God has begun to fix this tendency and root me a bit more deeply within Him and my own life, and because of these new roots I feel as though I’m less of a runner. But every once and a while, my old tendencies kick back up and I get that uncontrollable desire to split.
Today I finished my first semester of graduate school-– an accomplishment that I legitimately never saw coming to fruition about five years ago. And to be honest, it almost didn’t.
You see, a few weeks ago I felt that “cut and run itch” beginning to intensify in the depths of my mind and soul.
Graduate school is difficult (duh, Kacy.); especially when you are studying religions that you don’t practice in languages you’re not fluent in.
There have been several occasions over the last four months when I have screamed at, cursed at, and even cried over my computer and textbooks out of frustration.
This. Crap. Is. Hard.
And not to sound like a snotty jerk, but school as a whole has never been hard for me. I chose to major in English Education and Human Services for my undergrad because I am freaking phenomenal at the skills required behind both of those degrees: I love to read, write, and talk to people about life. The programs were perfect for me.
But this whole shebang is different. I mean, I have always been interested in anthropological study and linguistics, but I’ve never actually given either of them a serious try… and without even meaning to I leaped headlong into a program that terrified me, in a state that I have a general disdain for. (Sorry Texan friends.)
Oh, and did I mention that I am inadvertently doing my program backwards?
Yeah… Because I’m doing my schoolwork online in Colorado, I have had the extreme pleasure (ha!) of doing my second year of grad school before ever doing the basic linguistic courses that all of my peers had last year. (Things that have significantly added to my stress and confusion levels over the last few weeks…)
So when I had survived all of my menial tasks for the semester and was left with the task of writing a thirty page dissertation, I freaked out!
There is no way I’m smart enough to do this.
There is no way I should be doing this program.
Clearly everyone here knows what they’re talking about except for me.
Maybe I should just drop out of GIAL and pursue my missionary training through a cute little agency where I wouldn’t have to be far smarter than I am...
Nope, I probably shouldn’t do this.
And just like that, I had semi-rationalized the fact that I wasn’t good enough to be in this program and I was ready to drop everything and run. That is when one of my ever rational, darling students got wind of my plan and essentially told me to slow my roll.
“Miss, I know that you’re all about adventure and stuff, but maybe the stability of this program would be good for your ‘wandering soul’.”
Did my student just give me pertinent life advice?
Yupp, she surely did.
Without saying the exact words, she essentially told me to kick off my running shoes and stay awhile.
Try. Fail. Cry. Learn to let God pick you back up, and try not to fail once again.
Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
So for now, I’m sticking with it and I’m trying to let God work out all of the identity kinks that I’m experiencing, without freaking out and running away.
I am smart enough. I am more than capable.
The “Class Completed” banner on my school home screen shows me that. (The sleep deprivation and cup of coffee next to my laptop as I write this are pretty solid reminders too.)
But I am not capable because I have somehow instilled these qualities in myself. No, I am capable because I abide in God, and He is more than capable. Heck! He created capability.
So here I sit, a grad student at GIAL, a thousand miles away from my school, struggling to figure out what the heck is happening while my King is redeeming me and teaching me how to be still in Him.
I am His daughter and He has created me to be a woman who is going to wreak some serious havoc on the world for His Kingdom.
As for the whole running thing, I am going to run now. No, literally, I’m sitting in Purple Door Coffee with my favorite running shoes on. And as of thirty minutes ago, I’m on summer vacation, suckers! So I am going for a run before teacher inservice to clear my very cluttered, frazzled brain.
Because I finished my first semester of grad school without running away from the hard things or the things that make me feel kinda stupid. (Sorry, that was more for my benefit than for y’alls’.)
Also, the hair dye is coming out today… but that’s a story for another day. Stay tuned.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”