Jennifer Powell McNutt, PhD is Franklin S. Dyrness Associate Professor in Biblical and Theological Studies at Wheaton College. The global pandemic has added whole new dimensions to her life and work. The root of her inspiration is a deep sense of calling and an earnest desire to serve Jesus Christ.
What inspires you to get going?
Each morning, usually before I am ready to get up, I am awakened by the pitter patter of little people eager to begin the day. Managing life as a college professor, a Presbyterian minister, and a mother of three young children has always been challenging, but the global pandemic has added whole new dimensions to that ongoing juggling act. In a word, I get going because I have to get going, and every moment of the day counts. Nevertheless, fueling that resolve is a deep sense of calling and an earnest desire to serve Jesus Christ with every gift he has given me. That’s the root of my inspiration in every season of life.
How do you cope with the challenges of this new week?
Each week brings with it new opportunities and challenges. The current crisis may be unprecedented on a global scale, but God has already given us what we need to weather any storm we face through the person and work of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. My lifelines are prayer, scripture, theology, church, family, and friendship. The acts of writing, reading, research, dancing, singing, and sleep energize me. In all things, fostering a habit of gratitude enables me to cope with the challenges of the week. I am in awe at how the goodness of God can never be overcome by the troubles of our world.
What advice you have for those who find Monday mornings tough?
After 9 weeks of sheltering in place, my sense of time has shifted, though not in a disordered way (since homeschooling still prevents that!). As my plans were suddenly stripped away by pandemic, I experienced the profound truth that my time is truly not in my hands. The words of John Calvin have been ringing in my ears: “I am not my own.” According to the Heidelberg Catechism, the idea that we belong to God is the greatest comfort in life and death, and I have never known it to be so true. Monday mornings are perhaps extra tough right now, but there is freedom and grace in knowing that our lives are in God’s hands, including our Mondays.
– Jennifer Powell McNutt, Franklin S. Dyrness Associate Professor in Biblical and Theological Studies at Wheaton College