Though succeeding in your pursuit of academics at seminary is important, it’s equally important that you take the opportunity to grow spiritually through your journey during your journey. Your time in school can enrich not only your knowledge but also edify your faith if you commit to a rhythm of spiritual practices to produce growth. Your time in school can enrich not only your knowledge but also edify your faith if you commit to a rhythm of spiritual practices to produce growth.
When all is said and done, you’ll not only be teeming with new knowledge and skills, but you’ll also have a deeper faith and relationship with God. This leads you to being a more loving, spiritually connected individual whatever vocational path you pursue.
From a theological perspective, gaining wisdom and understanding is important to a person’s spirituality. Whether it’s the study of God’s word to better understand it or the study of history and society to gain a better understanding of the human experience and the wisdom that accompanies it, knowledge leads to spiritual growth. Proverbs 2:6 (NIV) states, “For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.”
This means that gaining knowledge and wisdom is the fruit of spiritual growth. Seeing this connection allows for a broader perspective and a more enriched understanding of life, God, and God’s plan.
Regardless of how busy you are, God should always be a priority. The important thing is that you give Him your time when you can and make the most of that time. God wants to meet with you on a regular basis to cultivate in you a life of holiness. Creating a rhythm of spiritual practices and intentionally blocking out time in your schedule shows devotion and strengthens your spiritual walk. Whether it’s a few moments of quietness each morning with scripture or a prayer time in the evening, God is inviting you into a deeper relationship with him.
It’s also important to set aside a certain time each day for worship if you can. This time can be scheduled to compliment your daily activities. For example, if you’re an early morning person, then perhaps the best time for prayer is in the morning before the day begins. Perhaps it’s during a long break in between your classes. This time can be scheduled to compliment your daily activities.
One way to make God a priority in your busy schedule is to include Him in your study routine. You can begin and end a study session with a quick prayer. Even if the study session is a group, there’s a good chance your peers would enjoy the opportunity to pray with you.
You can also use your study materials and texts to reflect and question things, allowing your perspective to be broadened and strengthened. When you’re stressed over finals or struggling with an assignment is a perfect time to give God some of your time. Not only does it give you a mental break from your work and allow you to reinvigorate yourself through your spirituality, but it also gives you a chance to seek His guidance.
Study groups are important to any student’s academic success, offering both accountability and support to all involved. This rings true in spiritual pursuits as well, whether you’re looking for someone to help you set and follow through with academic goals, or someone who will remind you to slow down and take time for God in your busy day. Aside from the support, encouragement, and accountability, having a group can also provide you with essential knowledge and differing perspectives. Building yourself a community like this can enrich your experience and allow for maximum spiritual growth.
Though working with a partner may lower the amount of support, encouragement, and perspectives you’ll have access to, it can still be a very enriching experience. Sometimes partners increase accountability and support due to their focus being on you alone.
Whether it’s for sleep, work, or study, your environment is important. This is why you should put effort into your study space, ensuring it’s not only conducive for study but for your spiritual enrichment as well. You can do this by creating a calming space with good lighting and no disruptions. Ensure you have a comfortable place to sit, as your well-being can be affected if you spend too much time in discomfort. You can also negatively impact your mental well-being and add unnecessary stress if your study environment isn’t well organized.
You can play religious music or chants during study breaks – or even while studying if you’re someone who enjoys some sound during that time. You can also make the space feel more spiritual and tranquil by adding religious symbols that are particularly meaningful for you. Remember, you’ll be praying while in this space, so anything you need for moments like that will also need to be nearby.
With all the required adjustments when starting academia, busy schedules, and your views always being challenged as you learn and grow, it’s no wonder this can be such a stressful time for students – both socially and in their classes. In times like these, you must turn to religious texts, friends, and leaders to seek support and counsel. This is exactly why you’ve put so much time and effort into building yourself a community, and now it’s time to use it. You can also seek comfort by turning to prayer and reflection. These challenges aren’t just an obstacle in your way to a good grade. These challenges are spiritual lessons meant to shape you into the person you need to be to fulfill your calling and be the best you can be for God and humanity.
A current student shared how shifting to this perspective transformed his seminary experience: “When I first started my education journey, I was overwhelmed and miserable because my only purpose was to complete the class with the grade I wanted. When God revealed to me that he was preparing me for something down the road and that this education was a big part of that preparation, it changed everything for me. Since then, there has not been a class that has not greatly benefited me in some way. Even in times when I seemed overwhelmed, God always provided the strength I needed to overcome.”
Despite your busy schedule, it’s important to find time to attend religious events at school, join groups, and utilize any services you may need. These things can never be a waste of your valuable time because they broaden your perspective, strengthen your spirituality, and allow you to build your community.
It’s also important that you find time to meet with the campus chaplains and spiritual leaders you have access to. These individuals are there to provide you with spiritual guidance, emotional and academic support, and chances for personal development. They have a plethora of wisdom for you to gain from them and can provide you with great opportunities to question and learn more about God, religion, and life itself. Whether you’re in a crisis or just looking to enrich yourself, these individuals are essential parts of your community.
Just as you can engage in fruitful conversations with the spiritual leaders and chaplains on campus, you can also do so with your professors and peers. By opening yourself up to these people and their perspectives, you allow for unprecedented knowledge and enlightenment both academically and spiritually. It also allows you to learn how to show respect to beliefs that differ from yours while respectfully sharing your own views and beliefs.
When it’s time to make important life decisions, you probably turn to your mentors, religious leaders, and God. This should be true when you’re making academic decisions that can impact your life, especially when choosing your courses and majors. These decisions can affect your entire life’s journey and interfere with you fulfilling your calling if made incorrectly.
It’s especially difficult when you need to balance spiritual obligations with your worldly pursuits. This is why it’s essential that you consult your religious leaders, mentors, and God when choosing what and how you’ll study. You can also utilize your religious texts to help you gain perspective and make a good decision.
As is important in everyday life, you need to keep an eye out for potential distractions and temptations while pursuing your studies. Identify where your weak points are and what you’re most likely to come across in the new setting you’ll be in ahead of time. This will make you extra vigilant as you navigate your surroundings, allowing you to identify and quickly remove distractions and temptations from your path before they have a chance to negatively affect your spiritual journey.
Your community can also help you when it comes to this endeavor. Leaning on them and seeking guidance through prayer will be great ways to keep yourself on the right path.