Last week I told you that I was thinking about going back to school, and today I am excited to say, I AM!! School is something that I have been thinking about and praying about for the last eight years. That is a long time to consider it and I am definitely not getting any younger, so I have decided it is time. I’m 48 and can finish a Masters degree in two years part time, I will be graduating before I turn 50, and I can’t imagine a better birthday present than that!
My age is one of the reasons that I decided I can’t really put this off anymore, it’s either now or never. Also, I am at the age that I am looking at the choices I’ve made in my life and deciding what could have been different if I would have pursued this degree in my 20’s when I started it. I really don’t think I can say that I would have done it differently than I have, I certainly do not think my age is a hindrance in education. As I think about going into this program, I honestly think a person that is my age has an advantage to younger individuals that haven’t been through as much. The standards, published by the college I am looking at, for this degree stated, “it is assumed that students not only desire, but also intend to pursue the inspection of their own personal identity, growth, and development – both inside and outside the classroom”. I would say doing that first is an advantage to understanding more of what I will be learning.
I’ve spent the last eight years of my life doing just that, committed to personal growth and healing through Jesus Christ. My experience tells me that without Him, change is short lived and what I like to call, “white knuckled”. What that means is doing something without the will or desire to make it a way of life, doing something begrudgingly because you have to, not because you want to. What I have learned with Jesus is that I want what He wants. Period. If it isn’t His idea, I don’t want it! That being said, I do a lot of things that He wouldn’t do or want but what He does is give me the will and desire to do His will so that after a process, it has become my will. I sometimes would like for Him to immediately give me a hate for things that aren’t of Him, but I think in some ways that goes against His character. We have personal choice, laying our choices down for Him when we know tings are not good for us, after years of doing them is darn near impossible. It is impossible without Christ, based on personal experience. We are in habit at a cellular level, what is going to change that without a God that longs to renew everything about us to our original design? I have watched as God has done some of that cellular level change in our home and it is crazy to watch! He does things in a way that I know it has to be Him! Because of that experience I know that God changes our hearts, wills, and desires to match His and gives us a way out of everything.
“The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more that you can stand. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT
I believe in a God that loves us so much, He is preparing a way out of my desert of affliction and shame, the areas that I hate about myself the most. He is loving me through in those places and He has given me the courage to step back into a classroom! That is really awesome! The degree I am looking at right now is at OCU (Oklahoma City University), it’s a Masters of Education in Applied Behavioral Sciences, a program that takes me five classes from a LPC, a Licensed Professional Counselor. I feel like I did it backwards, most of us go into the field so that we can understand ourselves better, I am going in understanding myself better so that I can offer that to others. I don’t think I will want to be in a counseling setting every day, but I do think it can be beneficial in helping me become a professor or offer teaching at Biblical conferences. Not only that, but I will simply understand the human way of thinking a whole lot better. I feel that other’s perspectives are necessary in life, if we only have our own, how do we grow? I know that my family didn’t do everything right, I’d venture to say they did the majority of things wrong and so have I. Learning how to hear other’s perspectives and not let them rile me, that is what I believe someone that is really good at counseling others is a pro at offering. It will take some work and Jesus Himself to get me to that place, unfortunately I was raised in a very narrow thought process and breaking out of it can be painful. ther are still areas that I avoid to avoid the pain, but I will continue to grow! Education in this field will challenge everything I’ve believed to be true about our world we live in, and that is exactly what I am anticipating will grow me even more.
As I embark on this season of life, I know that I have to really consider what is important. I realize that I will have to say “no” more than I am right now, and I have to recognize my own limitations physically. I think that is why it took me so long to decide that it was worth it. I can hear my counselor now, “Chandra you are already saying yes to so many things, how can you add this?”. My answer is simple now… This is what is really important for my future and my focus, so to everything else, see you when I am done. Everything else does not mean my family or our business, but it does mean that this comes third on that list. Managing life like that is going to be a challenge for me, I like to have fun and love being with others. After much prayer and eight years of saying yes to lots of other things, I am ready to say yes to this new season and see what God does with it, after all, it was His idea.
God bless and have an awesome week! Would love to hear your thoughts!