One of the processes of getting ordained in the Wesleyan Church is having an oral interview. The oral interview consists of a round of theological questions that have to be backed up with scripture. On my first round of questions, I failed miserably. I knew the theological concepts but I couldn’t back them up. I gave scriptures that didn’t match up with the theological concept and I fumbled my way through the interview. They asked that I study and come back at a later time.
There was nothing more devastating to me than hearing that I had failed the interview. I had a rough day and a rough couple of weeks. During those couple of weeks I became bitter with the whole process. I didn’t want to continue on. The one thing that kept me going more than anything was the voice of my dad saying, “When you start something, you finish it.”
Before my final interview I met with a person whose job it was to make sure I was up to snuff on my studying. I fumbled through the process again. The person I met with told me that if I didn’t study and make flash cards then I would fail. I again retreated to the comfort of bitterness. My bitterness began to morph into anger, but I wasn’t angry with the board. I realized that I was angry with myself for putting off such an important task.
From that moment on, I made flash cards and didn’t let them out of my sight. I practiced them alone twice a day and my wife quizzed me at night. At this point I had less then a month to get all of these answers down.
When it came time to do the interview over again, I wasn’t nervous at all. It took less than fifteen minutes because we flew through the answers. The board asked me to leave and when I came back in, they congratulated me on passing the exam. I was relived that this process was over. But before it was over everyone wanted to say a little something.
I don’t really remember what everyone said, but I do remember what one pastor said. He said, “David, we knew that you understood all of these concepts, but we had to make sure you would submit to the process.” I had never thought about it that way.
In life there are many processes to submit to. Even the most strong-minded people have to pay their taxes or go through the process of treatment. All through the interview process and the seven months of waiting till I could interview again, I was learning to submit to a process.
This is a huge life lesson. Learning to submit to a process is in many ways learning the value of humility. Since submitting to this process I have gone through the process of being edited, which is a humbling experience.
What I have learned is when you fully submit to a process, you see the best results. What process have you had to submit to? How have they impacted your life?