I’m a drain on the taxpayer. And by that I mean I am a full time student. I study at Cliff College and enjoy my time doing so. Much of my week is taken up with lectures, and the nature of being in a small institution means there is a great deal of interactive learning. We tend to discuss things in our classes, exchanging ideas and experiences as we all seek to make sense of the God we worship.
In the classroom I am often vocal. Those who know me may find this a humorous understatement and it probably is. I feel no shame in suggesting alternative readings of texts which I have observed people use and enjoy bringing different theological traditions to a discussion. Yes, this makes me a bit of a swot but I kind of enjoy it. I like to challenge and to be challenged.
In the classroom, I will often answer direct questions and even interject where there is something I have in my mind which has not been addressed. I find the only way to reconcile the many competing ideas I have read is to discuss them.
People are impressed with me in the classroom. I even have awards to prove it. On the downside I have the envy of some of my friends…
This classroom persona I assume is confident, charismatic and cool-headed (I included the last one because I wanted to have three ‘c’s – truth be told I’m not very cool-headed whatsoever). This persona is also intimidating and threatening, never letting things lie, always having to strive for more. This persona has an insatiable appetite for success.
Outside of the classroom this person quickly evaporates. I lack confidence. I lack charisma. I am hot-headed. So that combination mean I get agitated at things and then d not ever say anything about them. I don’t challenge people and run a mile when someone tries to challenge me.
Outside the classroom I become a different person. I know how to function in the classroom. I know the rules, have the confidence to express ideas which I haven’t fully stretched out, relish in the experience.
A steady prayer of mine is that God would give me the strength and confidence to step into what he is calling me to do more often. Maybe that might mean showing grace and kindness to someone who may or may not be going through a hard time or calling to account someone who is clearly violating God’s standards. Usually, though, I walk away from opportunities to be myself.
I am confident to be an academic. I am ashamed to be myself. What’s up with that?
O LORD, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways. (Psalm 139:1-3)