i = sick.
Saturday, March 5, 2011
I’m not sure how clear it was in my symposium speech that my time at FLI made a profound impact on me. Just tonight I explained to a professor the greatest difference that I have experienced after returning back to Michigan from Colorado Springs. It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy school before, but now I engage my classes differently, I engage in the content and discussion more than I ever have.
I know that I carried a level of laziness before. Things like theology and philosophy are difficult subjects for me. They are heady and involved and abstract. I am concrete and black-and-white. So because these areas were a lot for me to take, I tended to avoid them. I would participate when something of specific detail caught my interest or something that I felt knowledgeable about. Fear in many ways, pride in others. Or quite possibly much of both.
But something changes when you find yourself surrounded by professors, both educated and also extremely zealous for the things that they teach. They require that you read and read and read, and they don’t necessarily demand that you engage with the material, but they conduct their classes (and their lives) in such a way that you can’t really avoid engagement.
So this was the shift for me. In many ways I grew up last semester, and I almost wish I could go back and re-do the last 3 years that I spent in college because I wish that I had walked into each class with this eagerness. I know how to listen like I didn’t before. I know how to ask questions. I know how to approach disagreement with a curiosity rather than a spirit of opposition. (And as much of a challenge as the JFA experience was, this was a monumental piece of instruction that I now take into so many conversations and situations.)
I believe in myself and my ability to understand. This isn’t something that I could say before. I didn’t believe in my intellect, but it is a beautiful thing when you come to the end of yourself after wrestling with these questions. It is a beautiful thing when you are embraced by people who provide a safe environment for you to ask questions, and who aren’t afraid of your failures, and who don’t care how much you know.
It feels great to dream outside of anyone’s expectations. It feels great to trust far beyond myself. It feels great to hear from my professors that they are excited that I am going with them to the conference in Cincinnati. I’m going this year because I don’t feel inadequate. I’m going because I have been invited and because people believe in me. It is no small thing to feel safe and loved.
People either reflect Jesus or they don’t. I’ve been blessed by those that do.