I used to tell myself:
"Once I graduate from seminary I will be able to...... "
"After I get through my Probationary Exam I'll have time for...."
"Once I'm Ordained I can......"
Usually those blanks were filled with some version of:
...... read a certain book I am interested in.
...... study some church or theology related issue that I would like to know more about
...... exercise, eat well, relax at little bit
Well, the other day I realized that I met all those above requirements! No more excuses! That's kind of a scary thought. Yet I also realized that I am actually doing some of those things that I told myself I would, one day, be able to do. The realization came in the form of a little epiphany I had while walking one morning and it felt good.
The books I'm reading are not listed on a syllabus or recommended reading list, but they are things I want to read. I just read a book on Aimee Semple McPherson and the rise of evangelicalism in America simply because I was interested. At the same time, out of curiosity, I was reading a book on Buddhist teachings. Currently I am re-reading Bonhoeffer's The Cost of Discipleship just for 'fun.' I am also studying up on various aspects of the Emergent Church / Worship movement with the idea of exploring more deeply what it means to be 'church.' I'm having a good time!
That is not to say that there will not be more, "Once I..." and "After I...." thoughts. There will be moves and new appointments and challenges ahead. Yet it was a nice feeling to know that I am doing some of those things I always said I wanted to do ~ and that, in some sense, I can set my own agenda and guide my own study.
As for the eating right and relaxing, I'm still working on that. "Maybe once I....."