EFM (Education for Ministry) may be a saving grace for me.
I had qualms about signing up for the program when it was offered to me by our pastor. Not because I felt inadequate to the program mentally or spiritually – but because God has given me this “less than perfect” body that I live in every day. My first fear arose from the fact that the seminar is held at a parish that is 37 minutes away from my home. I hear some of you already, “Big deal! I commute further than that to go to work.” It isn’t the length of the drive alone that caused my second thoughts. It’s that I have to leave the house about 6:10 PM and drive home after class at about 9:30-10 PM. It’s dark and my eyes have been giving me trouble driving at night. I have fibromyalgia – I never know from day to day whether I will have energy adequate to the day. Driving in the dark on a day when I felt like curling up and napping all day scares me a bit. My husband and I drove the route and timed it so I would be more familiar with it. Last night the driving went well. I have to trust God to make that true for the next 35 sessions.
I decided that having the program offered to me was, in essence, God telling me to take a step off the cliff and get up off my sometimes lazy behind to do something. Since I believe that God puts the things I need into my life at the right time and since I believe that faith without works is meaningless, I decided to accept God’s challenge. I haven’t taken a class in a long time. Now I have course work to do on a weekly basis – mentally stimulating but pressure nonetheless. I’m hoping it will be good pressure, not the bad pressure that will cause a fibro flare up. Stress is not good for fibro folks. The fibromyalgia also caused some concern when it came to the full length of the program. It’s like a college course – 36 weeks from fall to spring. It’s also a 4 year program. I worried briefly that I would not be able to complete the program due to health issues. Again, it came down to trust in God. God has never asked me to do something that hurt me in the long run. So my plan is to focus on one week at a time and let God worry about the long haul.
It may sound arrogant or “high and mighty,” but I also worried that I would be bored. I have participated in many shorter theological programs in the past and I am fairly well read. I wondered if I would learn anything new. After reading my first assignment, that worry is still there. But at least I could answer questions during the seminar last night and pull things together – hopefully in a new way – so again, I’ll wait and see more before making a judgement on content.
What was, for me, the best part of the evening was the Christian fellowship and the ability to express deeper spiritual thoughts and feelings with others who understood what I was talking about. I think it’s inexpressibly important to be able to share God and His love with others who understand it on the same level. I haven’t been able to do this for a while. Maybe this is God’s ultimate wisdom in putting this challenge before me. It is hopefully my wisdom in accepting it.
So all you “pray-ers” out there, kindly keep me in your prayers. Pray for strength, health and the grace of God. With those three, I can’t go wrong.