The Christian Graduate Student

The mountaineer badger

The mountaineer badger

 

Blotchy,  disconnected, rough edges of my thoughts of being a graduate student thus far:

“If I were in full time ministry, it would be easy for me to see how my life is ministry. I can see how my day to day activities are ministry. Culturally, I can connect the dots to my eternal significance…”—Journal excerpt

Honestly, I struggled quite a bit with the decision to attend graduate school. I was strongly encouraged to go into full-time ministry. Growing up, too, I had just assumed that I would end up in missions, or something related. And then Jesus put in me a fascination with the learning process.  And completely paved the way and directed me to Madison, Wisconsin. And so here I am. And here i’ll very likely be for the next 5 years. And i’m completely confident that i’m in the center of God’s will here.  But there’s still a lack of understanding of how i’m fulfilling the Gospel in while studying for exams.

If there’s nothing sacred about how I conduct my work (research, interact with my cohort, teach my students, and administer assessments) then it’s true that only my “explicitly Christian” activities welcome the Kingdom. Meaning that only 10% (max) of my life has eternal significance. And Christianity itself is largely irrelevant.  But the God I serve demands all attention.

“…do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father, through him.”

–Colossians 3:17

“It’s a ridiculous & disbelieving thought process to refuse to believe that God can maximally work in me in my current situation. Jesus is never not dwelling in me.” –Journal excerpt

This idea to see every waking minute of graduate school as an opportunity to usher in the goodness of God is not the norm. For me it’s a daunting thought. And I can’t fully mentally connect the dots, of how spending a day reading journal articles is as valuable as a day of “ministry.” It means that i’ll be desperate for the hand of God to make my life fruitful. I will be fully relying on the Lord’s presence to make my time as a graduate student “full time ministry.” Which I think is exactly where God wants me to be.

That’s where I am now.  This is going to be a journey of understanding how everything I do can be God-saturated. If you are a full-time Kingdom welcomer in the secular workplace or graduate school, i’d love to hear your thoughts.

With Love,

Rachel

Being a big kid with a mailbox!

Being a big kid with a mailbox!

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2 thoughts on “The Christian Graduate Student

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