John 8:31-32. Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, ‘If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.’
Especially in today’s world, it can be hard for some to imagine that following a practice or discipline can lead to freedom. The logic does not compute at first. Doesn’t freedom mean that I can do whatever I want?? How can boundaries and rules make me free?? In seminary I struggled to make the transition from the joy of creative writing (my college course of study) to the strict demands of academic writing. In undergraduate classes, I took joy in breaking the rules in quirky yet meaningful ways. My seminary professors did not find this amusing, though, and I spent my first year of graduate school rebelling against requirements that I considered rote and boring. I grew weary of receiving the same feedback over and over again, but the critique that bothered me the most was my need to be clearer in communication. I took that to heart because of the weighted importance of my call to preach the gospel. I was putting a whole lot of effort into this (i.e. my whole life) and I wanted to be understood. Through moderate grueling—and maybe even a little weeping and gnashing of teeth—I began to write with more structure and discipline. In time, I found that I could in fact be very creative in my arguments—even within a set of firm boundaries. My process became much quicker too which freed me up in other ways. I found joy again too and that made all the difference.
— Sarah Butler Ginolfi