Last week, I received word that I had been admitted into the M.Div program at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) for this coming fall. I knew in my heart that I would have no trouble getting into this school or any school for that matter; however, the quickness of the decision took me by surprise. The slowest part of the application process had been gathering my official transcripts. It has been over ten years since I graduated from Loyola Marymount University’s (LMU) MFA program in digital/film production. It has been at least fifteen or sixteen years since I completed my undergraduate degrees from FIU.
Because so much time has past since my college and grad school days, my personal accounts went dormant due to inactivity. I always will be on record as an alum of both LMU and FIU. This does not ensure quick and easy access to my student records; consequently, SBTS experienced a significant time delay with respect to receiving my official transcripts. It did not help that I began my application process after Thanksgiving and right before Christmas. I viewed this time between the holidays as a black hole, i.e. requests get sent out, but nothing comes back. Of course, the application process required patience and understanding, which are two things that come so easy for me.
At some point, I realized that I needed to rescind the desire to control this process. I followed up with both LMU and FIU as needed, but there was a limit to this, too. During those follow up calls, I discovered that my transcript request to LMU wound up lost in the mail or in an undiscovered, black hole. To make a long story short, one of LMU’s student records’ officers personally took care of my request while I remained on the line. I received an email notification from Southern that my application had been completed last Wednesday morning. The very next day the admissions department notified me that I had been accepted into their M.Div program. When I read that email, I sat at my work desk rather stunned. My application review took no more than a day.
I mentioned my surprise to my wife, who nudged me last Spring/Summer to either put up or shut up regarding seminary. She responded to me that Southern knows a good thing when they see it. Again, in my head, I knew that I would not have any issues gaining acceptance. My heart was another matter along with my imagination. Those two aspects had been essential throughout my grad school days at LMU. Sometimes my heart and imagination trip me with making decisions. It is too easy to second guess, over-think, or stew about future plans. When my wife took me task about seminary last year, she gently and firmly demanded a decision. From her perspective, I must have looked like a hamster in a wheel. Once I took the first steps toward completing the application, then securing the letters of recommendation, and then the transcripts, a definite sense of peace and resolve entered my soul.
One seminary is down, and there is one more to go. The peace and resolve remain in my soul, but I still come away with some amazement regarding SBTS’s swift decision regarding my application. It seems to me like my heart needed this in order to catch up to my mind. There is a saying that I have heard over and over again. The wording goes something like this: “The longest journey you will ever make is between your heart and your mind.” It is a worthwhile journey that requires trust, which the prophet Isaiah stated years ago under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit: “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock” (Isaiah 26:3-4, ESV).