Don't get me wrong--I learned and grew a lot during this past academic year. But, graduate school has a tendency to consume your life, which meant that it was very difficult for me to keep in touch with people who I wasn't seeing in a school or work setting everyday! I was also doing a lot of performances, teaching, and participating in conferences, so I ended up not being able to attend care group or Friday night Bible study for most of the winter and spring quarters, just because I was double-booked too many times. Emailing or calling friends in other places, much less traveling to see ones that are as near as Ventura, just didn't happen.
So, since school has been out, I've begun to spend more time with peeps. So far, its meant lunch out to a newly discovered Indian/Pakistani restaurant (that makes three of these places on Blaine Street alone!), two coffee dates with various girlfriends, a movie night at my place, and long phone conversations with friends in other parts of the country!
I returned a call I received from Lauren, one of my roommates from college, early on Tuesday morning. Lauren and I try to stay in touch, but this usually means a phone conversation every six to eight months. Talking to her is always encouraging. She's always been very frank with me about challenges she's had in life, and the ways that God is using them to mature her relationship with Him, with other people, and as a person. Right now, she's engaged to be married to a wonderful man this coming July, and as she told me about their courtship, it was neat to see how God was putting together certain "puzzle pieces" in her life. I don't know her fiance, but from what I knew of her heart, desires, and things she's been through in the past, it was neat to see how God has prepared her for this relationship. Hearing about other people's spiritual walks always makes me examine my own, and look again to see how much God has blessed me. But talking to Lauren, as well as certain other close friends of mine, often reveals where I might be putting God in a box, so to speak. I've come to appreciate both kinds of "spiritual sharpening."
"Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another." Proverbs 27:17