Wednesday, November 9, 2016

grad school lessons: semester 1

i blinked and the first semester of grad school is almost over. it went nowhere close to the way i thought it would go, but the peace, love and faithfulness of jesus has overwhelmed me every day since i moved into my little home here in san antonio.

lesson #1: it's okay to not know.
i started the semester with a stupid amount of self-induced pressure on my shoulders to be "good" at grad school. wake up early, spend time with jesus, drink my coffee, make my bed, look presentable, go to class, ask great questions, do homework all afternoon, then have the rest of the night to myself. sounds ideal, doesn't it? life never goes the way you plan it.

instead, i started the semester that way, then realized that everyone in my class seemed to be a lot smarter than me. they understood concepts that i was still having a hard time grasping. i was insecure because i possess strengths that didn't seem to be applicable to the traditional world of healthcare administration. why should anyone care that i'm empathetic, harmonious, a developer or love to connect with people? they can comprehend financial statements, understand payer mixes, and ace their statistics exams.

it turns out that when you're vulnerable and open with people, you discover that people "don't know" things just like you "don't know" things. when that happens, it becomes easier to trade knowledge with each other and work together to make one another better. if you don't know the answer to something, find somebody who does. learn. grow. do things. make mistakes. don't be afraid to fail. the only way you'll ever wind up learning is by doing these things.

lesson #2: hold your plans lightly in your hands.
it is okay to wrestle with, cry to, shout at and question jesus. it doesn't change the fact that he loves you more than you could ever imagine, and that all he has in store for your life is good. pain is an invitation to draw close to him. let him love on you... let him heal you. then pick yourself up, set your eyes on things above and walk in freedom. his plans far outweigh what we could conjure up for ourselves.

lesson #3: surrender leads to joy.
the more i want what jesus wants, the more my desires will come into alignment with his. every day this semester, i have had to surrender something. it hurts, it's hard, and at the same time it is the most freeing thing in the world. trusting that jesus loves me and remembering that he has never ever ever once been anything other than faithful allows me to follow him in joyful anticipation for what my future holds. and speaking of which, the future doesn't have to be scary. hallelujah!

lesson #4: people are fascinating. 
i have loved getting to know everyone in my class. we are all united by the fact that we want to ultimately make a difference in the healthcare industry, but at the same time we are so different. we have different interests within the field. our upbringings were all different, we studied different things, we hold different religious and political views, some of us are married, some of us are dating, some of us are single. none of this changes the fact that we are all human beings who are deeply loved and are worthy of respect. everyone has a story. life is hard and it is messy, but when i take my eyes off of myself and focus on jesus and the people that he has placed around me, it puts everything in perspective.

lesson 5: discomfort is beautiful. 
the words that are defining this season for me are "refinement" and "hope". despite uncertainties, newness and transitions, i can trust that i am not alone and that joy can be found in every circumstance. "for i know the plans i have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you -- plans to give you a hope and a future."

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