We have told anyone who would listen that the years spent in Fort Worth in seminary were some of the best of our lives. Yes, it was life-changing that we met each other during that time, but even if it didn’t happen we would still count those days as rich and full.
Not that every single day was spent walking around campus hearing the “Hallelujah” chorus ringing in our ears, or seeing prophets of old playing racquetball in the rec center. Quite the opposite. The workload during our time at seminary was ridiculous. A good ridiculous but ridiculous nonetheless. The reading assignments alone would cause your eyes to cross.
One thing I learned when I met Nikki. She is a reader. I am as well, but Nikki is a reading machine. She can absorb information and spit it back out to a group of learners with ease. Like learning algebra and explaining it in such a way as to make it seem like 1+1=2 to the student. She is amazing in this regard. Me on the other hand will absorb information if it is delivered through song with heavy reverb and a delay pedal.
Then there were the exams. Professors didn’t joke around when it was time to measure recall and comprehension of theology. Stress increased as did intake of Twinkies and Mountain Dew. One day before an exam in Systematic Theology II, Nikki whispered something to herself that I overheard. The phrase was repeated many times over the course of our seminary experience. “I have prepared to the best of my ability. This exam has no eternal significance.”
I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Lean in close. The full phrase was the following….
“No eternal significance, I don’t care if I fail….No eternal significance, I’m not going to hell.” (The phrase rhymes if said with a southern accent. Try it.)
Played a bit for laughs to herself to relieve a bit of stress before an exam, but a portion of it is a phrase for life. “This has no eternal significance….”
What was she really saying? “This worry has no eternal significance.” “This worry………”
Divide the things of life into two piles.
1) Eternal significance 2) No eternal significance.
Pile one should guide you. Pile two can be thrown into the garbage.
Repeat after me, “This life is but a vapor. This life is but a vapor.”
We spend most of our days worrying about things that will eventually burn up when the end comes. Every single day we need to take off the ten ton backpack loaded with worries that carry no eternal significance. (Side note: I stopped by Home Depot to use their industrial scale. They told me my backpack weighs in at twenty tons. I win.)
I am well into my thirties. I don’t have the life experience to say I am an expert but I have enough miles to be able to see that worry has sidetracked me, slowed me down, and stopped me dead in my tracks.
If I were to be honest I would say I have been hampered most by one recurring worry…. if I take the steps of faith the Lord wants me to take then my world of security I’ve created will be adjusted in a way I don’t particularly like.
Until I daily divide my life into two piles, and take one to the trash, my insides will never be at peace. (Though it could be the Twinkies. I think it’s the worry.)