In 2013, the NBA’s Philadelphia 76’ers began a rebuilding process marshaled by a brand new general manager Sam Hinkie. At first, some questionable moves left some fans feeling uneasy about the future of their beloved “Sixers.” It was during this time of rebuilding and uneasiness that a new phrase in “Sixer” culture was born. Interestingly, the catchphrase continued to be the team’s mantra even after Hinkie’s departure and has since escaped the sphere of “Sixer’s ethos” becoming a cultural phenomenon. That phrase? “Trust the process.”
As of this writing, I am three classes away from completing the MACM program via distance education. Perhaps it is natural when coming to the end of a long process or the end of the year (or beginning of the year for many Christians) that one gets a little reflective. Perhaps there are other reasons. At any rate, I am in a reflective mood and have been thinking about my experience at ACU in this “process.” As I reflect approaching the end of “the process,” I am impressed with a few words of wisdom that I wish I could have told myself at the beginning of “the process” and they all are in the orbit of “trust the process.”
To my younger self, and to new students alike, trust the process.
1. Your professors are intelligent and dedicated to your formation into the image and likeness of Christ.
Never doubt that. When their decisions seem irrational and their judgments appear unfounded, give them the benefit of the doubt and trust the process. In the beginning, I remember being so irritated by proper footnoting and bibliographic style. I could not imagine why the margins on a paper should subtract from my work! And the reading? Do they know that I am not a speed-reader? Now, I am only irritated with my former self. Trust the process.
2. Try not to think about your program as a means to an end.
I am often asked, “What are you going to do with your degree?” When I began, I thought I would be acquiring new skills and better information to make me better equipped to do some job. Now, I really have no idea. I think a better question might be, “What has your degree done with you?” If “the process” is not forming you into a better human then you have missed the point. The beautiful thing about ACU, and the Christian perspective for that matter, is that we believe that better human form is in fact the form of Christ. If you can allow yourself to be worked with, amazing things will happen. Trust the process.
3. Everything is an invitation to prayer.
Each class, each interaction, each assignment, each email, and each paper you write is an opportunity to be drawn into an eternal conversation with the living God. In the beginning, I organized my thoughts like a scheduling planner. I mean, I had so much to do and so little time! I just did not have time to pray! Now, I realize that it is all about prayer and I missed so many golden moments along the way because I did not trust the process of prayer. There will be times when you do not feel like praying or cannot even imagine what to pray about when a 30-page paper is staring you down. However, even this is an invitation to prayer. Trust the process.
Though I can only speak for the MACM program at ACU, I am sure the same applies for any program one might choose. It is a process. A long, difficult, arduous, wonderful, rewarding, and beautiful process. It is worth your time (even the late nights), your money (even if it leaves you strapped), and I would recommend it to anyone who was interested in a theological education. On the cusp of my graduation, I simply want to remind us all to look forward through reflection and encourage each of us to “trust the process.” To all those people who made the “process” possible, I pray we are always able to represent “the process” well.
About the Author: Currently, I live just outside Huntington West Virginia and, in some place or another, I’ve lived in West Virginia all my life. During the school year, I attempt to teach middle and high school students about Mathematics alongside my wonderful wife who teaches in the classroom next door. Together, we have four children, two grandpuppies, and an appetite for travel. In my spare time, I forgot what that feels like, I like to spend time in my woodshop making furniture. I usually tell people to never take me too seriously unless we are talking about God, wood, or Star Wars.