By Emma Jones
A few weeks ago, the Capital Fellows had the opportunity to attend the TFI Micah 6:8 Conference via Zoom. We heard from speakers who spend their careers fighting to overcome really difficult, complicated world problems in the realm of social justice, particularly human trafficking, poverty, and racism. Safe to assume, these people are doing important work — something most of us long to be able to say. All of the advice and wisdom shared with us by these speakers however, included the premise, that what we do does not matter nearly as much as we think it does. This was especially good to hear from people we esteem highly as successful world-changers. We take ourselves far too seriously and put far too much pressure on ourselves in this beginning season of our vocational lives. This internal pressure often leaves us feeling let down, unmotivated, and disappointed. It doesn’t create a life-giving culture around working hard or working in general.
Knowing that God has orchestrated every single step, breath, word, and task in our lives frees us. It frees us to fail, to delight in the process, and to step out of a consumer/producer intensive mindset. Though easy to slip into, thinking only about how to position ourselves for important work is inherently selfish. We do the most effective, important work when we allow ourselves to experience Sabbath where we are and work according to God’s expectations of us, not the world’s. This is what we have been focusing on lately in Dr. Ince’s class as we’ve read Peter Scazzero’s The Emotionally Healthy Leader. Scazzero encourages similar thought in terms of Sabbath as a process of delighting in another (not ourselves) and in doing so, resisting the powers and campaigns of hell. He pushes the reader toward a cycle of stopping, resting, delighting, and contemplating, easier said than done. Sabbath is not meant to be experienced only after a long week of nose-to-the-grindstone work, but is meant to be sought as a sacred, daily rhythm.
Reflecting on this form of Sabbath in my own vocational experience brought me to remember the only job I’ve ever had that truly brought my focus outside of myself — the time I spent working in a maximum security juvenile prison. In working closely with young men who had seemingly very little to delight in, I experienced the kind of rest and delight that gave life to the other aspects of the work God had called me to there and fueled many of my vocational efforts for years afterward. They taught me a great deal about humanity and humbled me greatly. At the beginning of our classes together, I would ask them about the best part of their week, and listen as they recounted joy and delight from the most minute instances — a walk they got to take, a card game with a friend, a rare extra few minutes outside, the privilege to make a phone call, or the even more exceptional privilege of having a visitor — instances I experience often and take for granted. In these interactions with society’s most poorly regarded members, I learned what Sabbath means when you truly cannot survive without it, how important it is to find this kind of self-forgetting rest within our work, and that we all need relationships with people who live far less privileged lives than us to remind us that we regard our own importance far too highly. It is here that I want to push you, Capital Fellows and friends of fellows, to recognize your gifted unimportance and to rest as if your life depended on it.
Pictures from the Week
Many Capital Fellows have been taking to some competitive tennis matches lately
A sweet shared breakfast the week before thanksgiving!
Have the lovely opportunity to bring fellow Capital Fellow, Sam Trizza, home to Chattanooga with me for the full Jones Thanksgiving experience this year including my favorite thing in the world, outdoor church!
Become A Capital Fellow in 2021-22
We are now receiving applications for Season 15 of the Capital Fellows program!
The next program year runs from late August 2021 through mid-May 2022. If you are a college senior or recent college graduate - or know someone that is - we would love to hear from you! The Early Application Deadline is November 30th!
Want to learn more before you apply? Join an upcoming informational webinar. Click here for dates and times.
Pray for the Capital Fellows
Thank you for praying for the Capital Fellows each week! COVID has made everything weird and hard this year. For example, for the remainder of this semester the fellows activities will be virtual. COVID has forced all of us to wrestle with our call to serve and to love the most vulnerable among us, even when it requires us to do things we don't like. In spite of these hard circumstances, the fellows have done well...loving the people in the Capital Pres family and each other. Please continue to pray for the fellows, that they might live out Colossians 2:6-7: Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. In fact, may this be our prayer for all the world: that, having received Jesus, we would be utterly united to him; that our minds would be transformed by his Word, our desires would be aligned with his desires, and that we would be lovers of his justice and mercy.
Want to pray for the Capital Fellows throughout the year? Download this handy prayer guide for your phone or tablet.
Benefits of The Fellows Initiative
You probably already know that Capital Fellows is one of 30 fellows programs in The Fellows Initiative network. But, did you know that the sponsors of TFI offer great benefits to Capital Fellows alumni? For example, Reformed Theological Seminary offers a 33% tuition discount for 5 years. You can learn more about TFI's sponsors by clicking here.
If you know of a graduate school, seminary, employer, or other organization that would be interested in becoming a sponsor, please contact TFI by clicking here. Thanks!
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