This will be another episode of "Some plain ol' open honesty."
Earlier this month I was approved for candidacy in the ELCA Minneapolis synod, the culmination of a four month journey before actually applying to a seminary (presumably Luther in St. Paul) itself. For many reasons, now felt like the right time... again... to pursue this dream. I know I am Called to ministry, and my current understanding of that Call points me toward pursuing chaplaincy in a hospital or prison setting. After enough years pining over the idea of seminary, I decided to chase it.
Now, after taking many steps toward that goal, I'm at a logical resting point; time to take stock, see where I am, and where I'm going.
My life has seen more change in the last four months than I could have imagined. As it turns out I was not ready for most of it. I'm coping, but I'm overwhelmed, and constantly on the verge of breaking down from stress. I have a strong support network, but at the end of the day I just have too much on my plate.
Seminary deserves more than a half-hearted effort. It deserves more than doing the bare minimum to pass classes and "get by." When I go to seminary, I need to devote myself to it wholeheartedly. And where I'm at right now in my life, I just can't do that.
There's an irony here: three weeks ago I was afraid the candidacy committee would say to me, "not now, but wait", and to me that would have been the worst possible response to receive. The difference is, I needed to reach that conclusion on my own terms, not have it dictated to me from outside. And now I know, for my own well-being, for my own spiritual growth, I need to be the one who says, "not now, but wait."
I'm not giving up on the dream, I'm just hitting pause.