Tuesday, May 1, 2012

What a difference a year makes!

In addition to learning that I just plain suck at blogging (I think of so many things to say but don’t’ spend the time stopping to write them down), I’ve learned a great deal about God’s providence and provision.

A year ago yesterday I walked into the office of my boss and was told that the place that I had poured myself into for ten years was headed in a different direction and I would no longer be a part of it.  I can feel the pit in my stomach today as I type those words.  No warning, no set up, no hype, just those words.  Within a month or so I had landed a job with Colorado Christian University as a professor of communication, director of debate and doing special projects for the President.

Today I was honored with an award voted on by the student body; Faculty of the Year.  Honestly I think the vote might have been fixed.  The runner-up should investigate.  Someone afterward said that I looked surprised.  I was surprised.  After one year?  That just doesn’t happen. 

So one year ago, I felt like my world had been ripped apart. I asked some tough questions of God and He asked some of me.  One of them was to revisit words I had said to students for years; “What are you doing when you feel the most alive? Or the most fulfilled by God?”  My answer is teaching.  I love the classroom and I love the engagement of learning that goes on when students, a teacher, a good text and some powerful ideas collide.  There is magic that can happen. 

During the last couple months there have been a number of challenges that have come up in my role as Chair of The Classical Academy board.  In the days when I have felt beat up by my leadership role, I found myself the next day standing in the classroom at CCU and just filling my soul (and the students were not even aware – they thought they were there for them…)

I have been able to find that “one thing” (Curly talks to Billy Crystal in “City Slickers” about it – watch it sometime) and connect with it.  Additionally I have found myself amongst a wonderful faculty, some stellar students, and being able to follow a leader like Bill Armstrong (former U.S. Senator from Colorado and now President of CCU) has been a huge blessing.  Yeah the drive from the Springs to Denver a few times a week can be a drag (or a real challenge on some snow days).  But the calling that is fulfilled is amazing. 

You also don’t travel that road alone.  I have gained a new appreciation for Team Leland and their support in a year of transition.  When I was out of work my wife, Becca cried with me and then being the “challenger” she is, went to work on a plan on how this would all work.  My boys reacted to the news a year ago differently but positively; from writing a worship song about the experience to plans articulated by my youngest that we needed to open a deli.  Not my sweet spot, but worth considering down the road perhaps. 

God provided perfectly for this season of my life.  I don’t state that in a matter-of-fact way.  I truly believe it.  He is Jehovah Shalom – my peace.  He is Jehovah Jireh – my provider.   He is all of those things for me… and YOU!  Don’t forget it.


Ashley N. Mays said...

I love this post, Dr. Leland. Sometimes I still feel hurt after my FOTF layoff experience from 2008, so this was a great reminder. I'm thankful to have been one of your students at the Institute in 2006. I learned a lot from you. I'm excited to hear about the wonderful things you continue to do at CCU. Those students are blessed to have you.

Unknown said...

Hey Doc, though it's been almost 13 years (eek!), I still credit FFI (and yours and Sheryl's and a handful of others' influence) as the single most transformative season of my life as a believer and follower of Christ. It actually doesn't surprise me at all that God is still faithful to His calling in you OR that you were named "teacher of the year." Congrats and thanks for continuing to model a heart and passion for Jesus. It's obvious your kids get it, and the first place they would be looking to learn those kinds of things are from you and Becca.

J. Seubold said...

It is good to have a reason as to "why we woke up this morning." Thanks for the passion infection I received while at FFI. It is one to which I wish never to recover from and spread to as many as possible.
Keep Smiling, -J

Jeremy Tarbush said...

Directed here by Dr. Scot McKnight. You blogged expertly today.

Kipey said...

I guess it was FLI for me, but I second Jess' statement. It was definitely the most transformative season of my life as well. Your passion and purpose makes others come alive too. I'm glad you are rockin' it at CCU!