It all becomes official next weekend (it can't be official yet, they haven't given me access to the alumni portion of the seminary website yet). Now I have the opportunity to audit classes (listen to lectures, no papers, no reading requirements, no exams. Why didn't I think of that sooner? Oh yeah, they wouldn't let me) and observe the classes I would have had to take had I stayed in the original degree program I was in.
I never would have thought in 2008 that I would be working full time in ministry but I am. I never thought I would be working through seminary at a pace that it would take me 6 to 7 years to do what I thought I could knock off in 2 or 3, but it did, and that only worked because I reduced it to a one year requirement. My hat's off to the men and women who do it in the officially allotted time. You are better than me, but chances are I am older than you. The mid-50's is not the ideal time to be a student in my book.
So what is next? Full time ministry, yes. That will continue. But also doing what I find the hardest thing of all to do. Being more like Christ as I move through the world. His standard of perfection is a struggle for me daily, and it is the thing I really wish to do well and do full time (unlike being a student).
For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.Romans 7:18-19 (New King James Version)
Trying to meet His example, the standard He lived up to perfectly. That's what's up next. Trying to live a life He would have me live, doing it daily and not getting hung up in the book smarts and the study, but in people. Doing His will as I move along, and not worrying about the things I would have chosen to make important.
Funny thing is that has been what has been up next all along.