Once upon a time there was a boy who studied theology. This boy went to school at a prominent Biblical studies university. He spent three years at this university learning to study Scripture. During this time he also became disillusioned with the university and Biblical studies, to the point of frustration and avoidance of  his studies. At a certain point he was asked not to return to this university because of his lack of commitment to the process of study and academia. Time flowed and, in his infinite wisdom the boy let his copies of Scripture and collected Biblical studies literature collect dust. He also let the tools gain rust.  He learned new skills and grew older, yet somewhere deep in his Soul he was unfulfilled. There was something missing. He ignored this longing, pursuing his career of choice, becoming a professional counselor. It can be argued he is good at what he does. This message has been told to him over and over. Family, friends, peers, clients all have reinforced this message. Yet, the longing remained, unaddressed and ignored, buried deep within. It is as if there was a whisper growing louder with each passing day saying, “You are meant for something more. Something greater”.

In case you haven’t figured it out yet. I am that boy. A little less than 20 years ago I attended what was then Philadelphia Biblical University (PBU). Through the constant study I can admit I became disillusioned with Christianese. My belief in God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit never waned but the required study fatigued my desire to dive any deeper in Scripture or its teachings. In fact, I had no desire to even open my Bible. I made some of my best friends during my time at PBU, one of which I remain in regular contact with to this day. But, at a certain point my attendance became more about human relationship building than about deepening my understanding of Scripture and my relationship with Christ. It showed. About 3 years into my degree, I was asked not to return. Of course that’s not the end of my story. I learned from the experience, moved on, and restarted. I obtained my Master’s degree in Counseling. That achievement, while great, is not the focus of this entry.

I buried my failure, and in a very real way remained stagnant in my Faith. While I can cite many reasons, overall, it was simply because I became disillusioned with current Christian culture — always looking at the positive without recognizing the challenge of this world. Christian culture also has seemed increasingly two faced to me, filled with “Sunday morning” Christian’s who go to church but, do not live as Biblical Christian’s Monday – Saturday. It puts a bad taste in my mouth. So, I distanced myself from the “church”. In that process, I also let my Bible study skills and Bible collect dust. I became as guilty as those a part of the the American Christian culture.

So time moved forward. I grew, changed, became a different person all together. Yet, my Soul longed for more. There have been times in my life where I have been able to completely ignore my longing, becoming involved in life — counseling studies, work, friendships, hardships etc. It is so easy to ignore the small whisper coming from the soul when compared to the screaming of life. It’s so easy to lose yourself. And I have. Work and hardships of life have screamed at me for so long, I started to simply move from one day to the next without intention, only surviving. That’s not enough. And my soul knows it.

I don’t know what it is about turning 40 changes things, but it does. I started to review the last 20 years of my life. While there are accomplishments and failures, it has also been underlined eventually by stagnation and being unfulfilled. I ignored it, and just continued to move forward as if nothing was wrong, brushing it under the rug. There has been a constant tug on my soul. In the story above, I suggested it was as if it was saying, “You are meant for something more. Something greater”. And that is exactly what it feels like. It’s not an unfamiliar whisper either. There have been distinct times where I can remember thinking and feeling the exact same. And I brushed it aside. Now, I look back at my time 20 years ago at PBU and I wish I applied myself more. I wish I had not become so stubborn and realized what an opportunity I had to study and learn under Biblical scholars. Maybe if I had applied myself then my life would not be earmarked by being unfulfilled.

Recently, I have begun to return to my roots and study Scripture and I’m finding I have missed it. 20 years of longing. I have returned to reading some of the “text books” used during my time at PBU and am finding the act of studying and learning to be refreshing. I’ve actually had to repurchase some of the texts I am now using because I had long since removed them from my library, but at least I have them again. I’ve missed all of this and, honestly regret applying myself then. I know God can use even my 20 years of stagnation to His glory. It is hard to do a 20 year review and realize you have been unfulfilled and stagnant for much of that time.

This is a hard post to write for many reasons. Primarily, it’s because it’s a personal admission of failure and ignorance. It’s very revealing. I’m not sure how many posts of this nature there will be, but I can say this — This has been on my heart for the last little bit.

Till next we meet.