Last week when Dr. Joe Kearns, MD, Emergency Medicine, presented on Keys of Thriving (Not Just Surviving!) in Medical School and Beyond at PSU-Hershey’s Christian Medical Society lunch lecture, I couldn’t help but think this has ESN written all over it. Below are a few main points which I culled/distilled from his presentation. Let me know what you think of their relevance to your graduate school/professional experience. Feel free to highlight, expand upon, or share a story in relationship to one or several points.
- “Life is going to get better after…” This is just not true. Life doesn’t get any better after you finish your degree, it only changes. Note: it is particularly important to keep in mind the growing complexity of commitments/responsibilities with family, friends, community, church, workplace, professional societies. …
- We must feed upon the Word of God. We need to learn how to live between Genesis and Revelation. As Jesus answered the tempter, by quoting Deuteronomy 8:3, “It is written, ‘Man doesn’t live only on bread. He also lives on every word that comes from the mouth of God’ ” (Matthew 4:4, NIV). Do not forget as you treat your patients [translate to your vocation/profession] that although the creation is broken, God created it all good. Furthermore, part of our mission as members of the Kingdom of God is to restore the creation. And one day God will bring full restoration in a new heaven and new earth.
- Dwell in the wisdom literature, i.e., Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon. Why? Because in school you’ll get a lot of knowledge, but you’ll not engage with wisdom directly. Soak up the poetry, songs. A lot of life is vanity. Don’t take yourself so seriously. It’s important to keep yourself in perspective.
- Be troubled by the account of the rich young ruler (Matthew 19:16-30). Why? Because being rich is a mixed blessing. The more you have, the more trouble you have. And having everything doesn’t make you happy.
- In summary, the two things necessary to thrive in school and after graduation: read/query the Word of God AND have fellowship with the people of God no matter the work load. If you can’t do the two above, then quit school. Don’t become narrow and seek accolades. Before moving for your job, make sure there is a good match with a local congregation. Don’t focus on making money, limit your hours to be involved with community, church, family. Take time to interact with your patients (translate to your vocation/profession).
- Jesus came to give life and give it abundantly, not just to survive in school. Without a relationship with the Creator, you don’t know who you are.
About the author:
Tom enjoys daily conversations regarding living out the Biblical Story with his wife Theresa and their four girls, around the block, at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church (where he teaches adult electives and co-leads a small group), among healthcare professionals as the Northeast Regional Director for the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA), and in higher ed as a volunteer with the Emerging Scholars Network (ESN). For a number of years, the Christian Medical Society / CMDA at Penn State College of Medicine was the hub of his ministry with CMDA. Note: Tom served with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship / USA for 20+ years, including 6+ years as the Associate Director of ESN. He has written for the ESN blog from its launch in August 2008. He has studied Biology (B.S.), Higher Education (M.A.), Spiritual Direction (Certificate), Spiritual Formation (M.A.R.), Ministry to Emerging Generations (D.Min.). To God be the glory!