Saturday, August 01, 2009

First Day of School

It's been six years since I've gotten to experience the excitement of the "first day of school"--the thrill of new school supplies, the unknown of walking into a new classroom with a teacher you've never had, wondering who your classmates will be, the overwhelmingness of reading the syllabus...ahh. All of it a distant memory until this month. My binder is ready, my books are purchased, my syllabus is printed, and today is my first day of school!

Over the last few years, I've thought many times about how I would do things differently if I could do college over again. For starters, I'd focus more on personal enrichment and taking advantage of every learning opportunity, less on the grade and just plowing through to get the work done. I miss being a student, and sometimes I feel a little wistful when I hear about former classmates and their grad school experiences. I don't know that I really have a desire to ever go to grad school, though, and at this point in my life it would be totally unrealistic/pointless anyway.

Over the last several months, I've had more and more exposure to the Christian Counseling and Education Foundation. I knew about them before, and had read a couple of books written by CCEF faculty. Then I subscribed to their podcast a while back and have just found it to be fascinating. Their mission is "Restoring Christ to Counseling and Counseling to the Church"--the idea is that we need to look to what God says in His Word to understand the human condition, to diagnose the problems of the heart and find real, deep, lasting change. Scripture is incredibly relevant and helpful to the problems we face, if we would trust what God says and learn how to really apply it to the nitty-gritty of our lives. But most of us only know how to apply it in really superficial ways.

So when I put these two thoughts together...I started looking into CCEF's distance education program. And after talking with Steve, I registered! The first class all students have to take is called Dynamics of Biblical Change. The lecturer is Dr. David Powlison--I've read many articles by him and have found him to be a profound, insightful man. In fact, he wrote one of the textbooks for this class. I've got 12 weeks of mp3 lectures by him to listen to, and then I'll submit assignments to an online instructor and participate in a community message board for the class.

Dynamics of Biblical Change serves as an introduction to the concept of biblical counseling. I'll be learning to connect the truths in Scripture to real-life struggles and situations, both in my own life (one of the major assignments is a self-counseling project) and in the lives of those around me. The class covers "the nature of idolatry and faith; the relationship between motive and action; the way Christ's past, present, and future grace intersects with and affects how people live their daily lives; and the interplay of suffering and other situational factors with a person's actions and reactions." Awesome!

I don't feel any sort of calling or gifting to become a counselor; I may not take any other classes beyond this. But I think first of all, this class will be really beneficial and enriching just for me personally. And then I anticipate that I'll have plenty of opportunities to use what I learn in my relationships--with Steve and Elijah (when he gets older), in informal situations with family and friends, in mentoring (whenever I get the opportunity to do mentoring again)--to be able to give wise, biblical counsel.

So that's my big news--I'm going to be a student again, and I can't wait!


Kelly said...

Ahhh....I like this! :)

Enjoy it to the fullest!

I miss you, dear friend.

PS. If I could do college over again, the first class I would re-take would be Dr. Lennox's Inductive Bible Study course. I would do it in a heartbeat!

admin said...

Wow, please share with us about what you learn! Sounds like a great opportunity to grow personally :) I found a great article to share with you and posted it on my blog for my readers who belong to CSA's! check it out sometime! :)

Laura said...

So excited for you!!

ThatLadyInAWhiteDress said...

Wow.It's funny how you articulate what i am thinking.You are one blogger I don't know in real life but would love to meet in heaven if not before!.First of all,congrats on registering. Learn loads and be sure to pass on what you learn.Secondly, regarding doing things differently if given another chance to do college again, I so feel you. I am hoping to do grad school next year september[funds permitting]. and whilst I don't regret my undergrad days, like you I would do so much differently.I would cram less for a start and grab more opportunities for personal growth..hmm. Also, I am now using your memory method to memorize Phillipians..I started chapter 1 and have the first 6verses done. for me that's quite an achievement. You are a mega blessing Amy. God bless!

Zoanna said...

I'm really happy for you. I have wanted, at various points, to take CCEF courses. You will use them regardless whether you get paid to do so or not. But I have a sneaking suspicion you will, down the road, be in ministry using what you've learned.

PS The word verification word I'm seeing now cracks me up. It is "pherapif" which sounds like "therapist" if said with a mouthful of crackers. Amy de pherapif.