I thought they’d never accept me. A professional actor with a degree in acting and a lifetime of performance experience applying for seminary. You could have never convinced me that I would ever go back to school to get a graduate degree, let alone a seminary education!
I have been a believer my whole life and always loved the Lord, but I didn’t have a lick of formal Christian education. I had never even been in a bible study. My rehearsal and performance schedule didn’t allow for weeknight activities like bible studies, or even weekend events like baby or bridal showers, birthday parties, weddings, and even church services. I’m pretty sure the members of seminary admissions board were all season ticket holders to the theatre I worked for so I had a bit of an advantage. Each interview began with them gushing over their favorite shows and how they were so surprised to see me off the stage…thank God! For some reason, they let me in.
I was so excited for my first day of class! I dressed professionally, had a new book bag, computer case, new pens and highlighters, and an appetite for knowledge. I had no idea what was in my future, all I knew is that I wanted to be as prepared as possible. I needed some knowledge to go along with my love of the Lord and my zeal to serve Him.
I arrived early and grabbed a spot at a large round table in the front of the class. As others filled in I found myself to be one of the only women in the room. My table filled up with men who were friendly and we all began to chat. Some of them had been in school for a few years, and some of us were just beginning. They were sharing their resumes, what church they were pastoring or what ministries they were running. I remember nervously thinking “What in the world am I doing here!?!” I didn’t know what the heck to say! Someone recognized me from the show I was currently in and I got to deflect from the questions of what ministry I was a part of, or why I was in seminary.
You see, I had no idea what I was doing. I knew that I felt a strong call from the Lord to pursue a new life in ministry, but I had no clue what that meant. I. Knew. Nothing. Want proof?
As the guys and I were nervously chatting, one of them cracked a joke about Calvin. I don’t remember what they were talking about, and clearly I didn’t know who they were referring to because my response to the joke was, “I don’t read that comic strip.” The world stopped. They looked at each other, at me, and in response to their puzzled expressions, I clarified, “Calvin and Hobbs, right? I don’t think I’ve ever read it.” Faster and deeper I spiraled into the hole of shame and ignorance. Good thing I’m cute and smile big!
They were kind and withheld their ridicule. They explained to me that the Calvin they were referring to was a man named John Calvin. A sixteenth century priest and theologian who is credited with the protestant reformation (something else I knew nothing about) and pretty much one of the most (if not the most) famous theologians. Yea, like that clarified anything for me. I didn’t even know what theology was, let alone who was famous. This was next level embarrassing because I was sitting in a theology class!
I laughed it off as my heart sank. I. KNEW. NOTHING.
Let’s fast forward. It’s five years later, I’ve got my Masters of Divinity from Bethel seminary. I’m so blessed to be pastoring at the best church in the world, and I can honestly say I know a heck of a lot more today than I did that fall evening in Theology 1. But don’t be fooled, there are still so many things I know nothing about!
I’m so thankful we live in a world where we have freedom to start at the beginning! We have permission to know nothing. It takes guts but if we push past the fear of being the only one in the room who doesn’t get it, there will be a day when we do get it!
You have permission to know nothing! When we admit that we don’t know something we give ourselves permission to learn. Let’s admit what we don’t know and move forward in humility and grow! I’m so thankful I took a risk, and I’m still taking them. I dare you to admit what you don’t know and set out to learn. You’ll be so thankful you did!