I’ve been working on my masters degree in ministry since January 2008 – four years. (The Antioch School of Church Planting and Leadership Development) Because the Antioch school had a few false starts at Calvary, I didn’t immediately feel the effects of being an “official” student of theology. However, after about 16-24 months of being an Antioch student, I experienced what in hindsight I would call a spiritual crisis.
I had been a student of the Word for a number of years before starting Antioch, so I was used to taking time to intentionally study the Word. However, I found that the precious, intimate time that I so longed for with my Savior was crowded out by countless hours of reading academic material. Though spiritual in nature, it didn’t serve the same purpose as the Bible study time I had enjoyed for so many years. While the academic study deepened my understanding of God, the Church, and His plan for our lives, it didn’t taxi me to the foot of the Throne the way my personal study did.
I was well aware that I couldn’t blame the whittling away of my personal study time away on my Antioch course work alone, but it was a contributing factor. During this season of Antioch training, I have also researched and written a book, researched and written a growing number of messages for women’s retreats and conferences, and written three Bible studies. Hence, research and academic reading of the Word filled every crack and crevice of my life that wasn’t already taken up with marriage, homemaking, mothering, and homeschooling.
During the summer of 2010, having just served on the Lead Pastor Search committee, which was much more stressful than I might have imagined, and facing a school year (as teacher and student) for which I was spiritually ill-prepared, I had a mini-holy-meltdown, if you will. My dear husband and I made the diagnosis and we both prescribed a weekend sabbatical. In solitude and quiet, I spent 48 hours with my Savior. I took no academic books along. No research material. No manuscripts. Instead, I scripted 30 pages in my journal, spent hours in my Bible, poured my heart out face down on the carpeted floor, and devoured two books – one purely for pleasure and one for healing my heart. And I left my Elim refreshed and with this knowledge …
Regardless of the amount of academic knowledge I am gaining about my Lord, I have a responsibility to myself, to my Savior, to my family, and to those whom He has given me to minister to keep my knowing, being, and doing in balance. I was made keenly aware that my knowing and doing had been choking the living daylights out of my being and I had allowed it to happen. God willing … never again. I made a commitment to BE mindful of the condition of my soul … to BE intentional about giving Him the first fruits of my day … to BE prepared with a plan to meet with Him in prayer, in meditation of His Word, and in memorization. Sometimes my plan is to simply sit still … to be quiet … to listen … and to BE content resting in His presence. That is how I intend to keep my heart, my head, and my hands in balance.