Open to Grace

13 Nov

    I’m a new campus minister. I graduated from seminary in May, and began my current position in August. Overall, I love what I am doing, but it also can feel overwhelming. I’ve been learning a lot, a whole lot, as I adjust to working in full-time ministry. I’ve been learning what the culture of the university is like, getting to know the students who are a core part of our ministry and those who we see less often, discovering how time can seem to disappear, what programs seem to work and which do not, what brings me joy and what I procrastinate in doing, and more.

    I also tend to be a perfectionist, and have incredibly high expectations for myself. Although I feel that I am not as bad about this as I once was, I still will sometimes over-analyze a program after it is over, and wonder if I could or should have done certain things differently. Or, more often, I find myself wishing I had gotten more done in a day, feeling that I was not as productive as I should have been, and forgetting that being productive does not always look like crossing things off of a list.

    I was driving home a couple of weeks ago after what had been a good day, thinking about what I had done that day and how much I needed to do, beginning to feel overwhelmed only 3 blocks after I left, when I realized I needed to stop the track my mind was on. Why was I feeling this way after what had felt like a good day? Why was I not able to spend the drive home happily reflecting on what had made the day seem good, instead of thinking about what I could have done differently and all I needed to do? I realized I was thinking I should have it all figured out, how to do this whole campus ministry thing (and apparently all of the different aspects of it as well). I had to say to myself, “Cut yourself a break. You are only two and a half months into this, and you’re not supposed to have it all figured out.” I realized that I was not allowing myself the grace to learn and grow, the grace I want my students to feel, where mistakes are okay and we are not perfect people.

    I think we all know that the truth is none of us ever get to the point where we have it all figured out. People who have been in campus ministry for years don’t have all of the answers, yet it seems easy for those who are new to the field and those who have been in it a long time to feel like we should. This is not what God requires, nor even desires. God wants us to live lives full of God’s abundant grace. We have the privilege of sharing this grace with the students who come into our ministries, who we get to journey with, yet it can be easy to forget that this grace was meant for us as well.

    Like everything else, I don’t have this fully figured out yet. God’s grace can be hard to comprehend – it does not fit with anything the culture of our society teaches us today. While it is awesome to share this with students, I need to remember that it should also be awesome to share with myself, that it is awesome to share with myself. In the midst of each of our ministries, let us make sure we are open to God’s grace, a grace that we are meant to dwell in. May God’s grace be what we rest in, at the end of each and every day, whether it is good, bad, or somewhere in between.

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Rev. Megan LeCluyse is a campus minister for the Christian Association at the University of Pennsylvania. A recent graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary and an newly ordained Presbyterian minister, she is settling into life in Philadelphia, and enjoying all of the new things to see and explore (and an abundance of places to eat!). Having grown up in Phoenix but always being interested in American history, she is enjoying living in such a historical place! Megan graduated from the University of Arizona with a BA in English, where she also played piccolo in the Pride of Arizona marching band. She loves to bake, and enjoys that the students will gladly eat whatever she makes!

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