Why Am I Pursuing a PhD in Leadership?

Why am I pursuing a doctoral degree?

Why indeed.

I feel terribly unqualified. I am a young woman who has never seen herself as an intellect, a scholar, or a theologian. As it seems nearly every other woman I know enters into marriage, motherhood, or contentment at her current level of education, the Lord seems to have shut those doors for me, and opened others. He has given me a ferocious love for learning, no matter the subject, and a passion for influencing change and nurturing passion in the lives of people I come in contact with. When God opens a door no one can shut, and shuts a door that no one can open (Rev. 3:8), you have no other peaceful option but to trust and obey.

Why am I pursuing a doctoral degree? Sometimes it helps to know why I’m not:

I’m not pursuing a PhD because it will get me in a higher pay bracket, a more comfortable house, or a more respectful vocation.

I’m not pursuing a PhD because I’m passionate about Leadership and aim to be CEO, CFO, COO, or President of something someday soon.

I’m not pursing a PhD to find my identity in a title, pride in letters after my name, or to earn respect from my family, colleagues, or strangers.

To be honest, I am pursuing a PhD because of the simple reason that I love learning and the Lord opened the door for me to learn more here. Oh, and he opened it widely. And obviously.

So the more appropriate question to ask me is, why did the Lord push, allow, provide, and permit for me to pursue my PhD? That is a good question. That is the one I ask myself often. I think I can answer a few pieces of that question today. Ask me in a few years, I’ll have more pieces, and as time goes on I know I will more clearly see the purposes in this exciting, terrifying, experience and education God has brought me to.

I believe that leadership, simply defined, is influence (Maxwell). And influence is something I very much want to do. I want to influence people towards biblical literacy, towards godly femininity and masculinity, towards delight in purity, towards journaling, towards a deep appreciation of church history, and towards a pleasure in knowing and loving our triune God. I want to be a woman of virtue, of discipline, who can, like Paul, tell people with a humble confidence, “Look to me as I look to Christ”(1 Cor. 11:1). I cannot imagine saying this right now…not without being struck by lightning 😉 but I long for and work for that day. I am confident that part of that journey is the process of earning my PhD.


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