This spring semester was my last spring semester at seminary. I have two courses to take during summer intensives in June and then my one-year internship to complete. Being my last full semester, I had high hopes for a wonderful experience.
However, in early March I was hit by the unexpected, literally. Without going into too many details, another driver wrecked into me while I was stopped at a red light. My car was totaled, and I am still recovering from the injuries and doing rehab work for them.
This has been a frustrating situation for me for many reasons. I’m a careful driver, but no matter how careful we are accidents happen. I had to miss several weeks of seminary and work and spent a lot of the first weeks lying on the couch. What I learned from this situation is that I needed to extend the same level of patience that I so easily have for others to myself. This has been hard to accept.
Despite how hard it’s been to accept the frustrating aspects of my injuries (and the greater process of dealing with everything that comes from having a totaled car), I have realized how important these lessons are for my future ministry. I had to learn to let go of my expectations for a wonderful final spring semester and accept that I cannot always work at the pace I have set for myself. Before this, I thought I mostly honored my own limitations as part of healthy boundary practices, but I realized that I was actually just using effective time-management and planning. The deeper truths about where my own physical limits lie were not being honored because I was physically healthy and active before this car wreck. So, I needed to be adaptable while also accepting my new limits.
None of this should have surprised me, but it goes to show how we can expect limits to involve one thing, in my case time and psychological boundaries, but they can actually encompass the things we least expect. As a future pastor, this is a valuable insight for me because I will face other times in my life where I need to be aware of and adapt to my own physical limitations. I will also need to continue to be patient with myself. So, my overall learning from this is that I need to extend grace to myself and be adaptable about what my limits are.
As I said above, this should not have surprised me because of the many major things that have happened to me since I started seminary. As hard as these things have been, I believe God is merciful and has used traumatic and challenging events in my time in seminary to teach me foundational skills and truths that I will need for ministry.
Along those lines, a new book has come out that I am finding really meaningful as I process all of this. It’s called Unexpcted and is written by Christine Caine the head of anti-human trafficking organization called A21. To check it out click the link below.
How have you faced the unexpected in your life this spring? Tell me more in the comments below. Please also note, that the link above is an Amazon Affiliate link. Using it to make any purchase, does not cost you any extra, but I receive a small commission that helps me with seminary costs. Click here to learn more.
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, so that you may also be glad and shout for joy when his glory is revealed.
1 Peter 4: 12-13