Taking the Plunge: Starting My Doctorate

Saturday night, I was talking to my mom about my desire to go back to school for another degree. About a month ago, I started praying and fasting about my desire to go back to school, and I asked others to pray with me.

One day into my fast, a friend/mentor who I had lost consistent contact with called me and asked how I was doing. I told her about how I was leading a Saturday academic camp at my school and by getting my feet wet in some administrative things, I was considering getting my doctorate or another Master’s degree. Instantly she told me that I needed to get my doctorate and that she believed that’s what God wanted for me. As I expressed my concern about finances, she said she would be praying specifically for that to be handled and that I shouldn't allow that to be a reason not to pursuit my degree- God is capable of any and everything, she reminded me.  

While you may think that’d be confirmation, I decided it wasn’t LOL, because my fears and concerns about finances disallowed me to think that God would lead me in this direction. I mean, I literally just finished paying off my undergraduate student loans, and now I’m going to add even more? Plus, what about #mr2017... I'm supposed to be getting married soon, and TBH I'd like to be a housewife 😉 That didn’t seem logical. She texted me the following day repeating what she had said the previous night, but again, I refused to believe it was confirmation.

My fasting finished (Honestly, I got hungry and kind of gave in and stopped, but I did continue to do my social media fast which was powerful too lol 😡) and I was convinced that because I didn’t have clear confirmation, God’s answer was no, so while I desired to go back to school, I figured it wasn’t in the cards to do so right now. Again, if I'm honest, I wasn't too sad about this.

Be careful about when you start convincing yourself that something isn't of God when it clearly is. Don't let fear play you like that. Don't let the devil cause you to doubt what God is doing through you. Someone out there, even though you don't understand it, is depending on you to man up and push through fears, in order to bring forth what God is trying to elevate you to.

Last week, a colleague, who I had mentioned that I wanted to go back to school but had concerns with finances, sent me a screenshot of an email that showed that employees in my school district now had access to a 15% discount to the school I had already decided I wanted to get my doctorate through. Of all the thousands of universities in the world, my school district had just entered into a partnership with the ONE school I planned to attend. I started thinking maybe that was confirmation lol.

Last night, I told my mom, “Okay, Mrs. ___ randomly called me and told me to get my doctorate. Then Liberty enters a partnership with the school district so that I can get 15% off, which answers my prayer of finances, so maybe that’s confirmation, but I don’t know. I think I’m going to be Gideon and ask for one more sign, and then I’ll know. If God gives me one more sign, I’ll have to listen because at that point, He will have given me too many signs and I don’t want to be Jonah, sitting in the belly of a fish because I was disobedient.” We laughed and went about our business.

Shortly after, we received the song schedule for church, and the following day, I was to sing a duet with my sister and then shortly after, sing a trio with my mom and sister. I’d never been asked to sing two songs back to back, and quite frankly, I was mad lol. My voice was already struggling, and I have permanent stage fright! I grumbled all night and day.

On Sunday, right after we sang our first song, I was talking to God during church announcement time 😏. I said, “God, I think it’s clear that you want me to go back to school, but I just need clarity and confirmation on what degree to pursue because I don’t want to make the wrong decision.”

Right as my mom, sister, and I went to sing, my Pastor introduced us by saying, “This is the mom. This is the first born, and this one (pointing to me), she’s a genius.” I laughed because I knew it was a sarcastic joke. Then he said, “She’s been considering getting her PhD, and I’m just going to say, in advance, she’s going to get it, and I want this whole church to pray for her as she starts the journey.” WOW! I literally held back tears hearing him say that. How good is God! I literally had just prayed for confirmation and there it was. It was almost as if God said, “Since you have been mistaking my other signs as confirmation, let me give you one that is so loud and clear that it is irrefutable that it could’ve been a mistake.” I got in the car after church, and immediately started applying.

Can I be honest though? I’m starting this journey out of fear of not listening to God (Sometimes that's all you need... be obedient because of your reverence for God. You'll never go wrong. Cause ain't nobody got time to be "sitting in a whale"), but I honestly have no idea what the next step is. I don’t know what I’ll do with my doctorate, nor how I will manage my time to take the classes, amongst everything else I do, but one thing is for sure- God told me to take the step, so that’s what I’m going to do.

To anyone reading this who feels that maybe God is calling you into doing something that doesn't make sense, can I encourage you to take the first step? Sometimes God calls us to take the first step without giving us much insight into why, and that's okay. If we were privy into the high altitude of places that God wanted to take us, we most likely would 1: RUN and/or 2: Get in the way of His plans and/or 3: Not trust Him due to fear.

You don't need to know the answers. Trust in the fact that God never fails. That all things, through Him, are possible.

(Below:This is me, and has been for the last year, but by clinging to God, I have seen the mightiest of mountains moved on my behalf, and so many victories. I would not trade it for the world.)

If He's calling you to it, He's going to certainly see you through it. Cling to Him and see what's on the other side of your baby step leap of faith.

Clinging to Him In Every Step,

God, You are so awesome. I have no clue why you continue to use someone like me for Your plans; I'm so unworthy, and I'm so humbled and honored. On the other side of my obedience is someone depending on the gifts that you're sharpening in me. God, Help me to cling to you. Help me not to get in the way of Your plans, and help me not to give up when times get tough and lonely; You're always with me. Help me to prioritze my time because what good is it to become Martha with a heart to serve immediately without the balance of Mary's adoration and worship of You. God, I pray for anyone who is reading this right now. I pray that my post encourages them to be obedient to whatever it is that you're calling them to. I pray that you will bind Satan and his seeds of doubt and discouragement. Help us all to realize the victory that we have through you that no one can take from us. Do a mighty work and get all the honor and glory from it. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

I'll Be The One- Bri Babineaux
I'm Gonna Make It- Sisters