I had never given BSSM a single thought until coronavirus hit.
In the midst of quarantining and not being able to work, I began to feel very stagnant. At first I wondered if a big life change might be coming, and slowly I began to realize some kind of change was necessary. I just didn’t know exactly what that looked like. I asked myself one question:
What can I do or where can I go where I would grow?
Growth. That’s what was missing from my life. I’d been growing at a steady pace for a long time, but now it felt like I’d hit a wall…or was at least rapidly approaching one.
One thing and one thing alone came to my mind: Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry.
I knew it was from God because I had never considered BSSM, desired to go there, or thought it was at all relevant for me. I also knew it was from God because it was literally the only thing I could think of. It should have been easy to list several different growth opportunities, but I couldn’t come up with anything else that I knew would stretch me.
At first it was a relief to have such clarity, but then, when I really thought about what moving to Redding and becoming a BSSM student might look like, I was TERRIFIED.
I wrestled with my fear for several weeks. I started my application and then froze. I needed to tell my parents but I couldn’t even get the words to squeak out. What would they say? Would they think this was crazy? I ran the idea by a friend whom I expected to be excited for me, and I got the opposite response. I was shaking in my boots in every way.
That’s how you really know it’s a God idea, right? 😊
There were many things about BSSM that scared me, but here are some of the main ones:
Telling my parents. I was pretty sure they’d be supportive, but I still hesitated. What if they weren’t? If they turned out to be against this idea, I wasn’t sure I could go through with it – emotionally, mentally, financially…I needed to know they had my back and I was afraid of how to proceed if they didn’t.
Going back to school. I had been out of school for almost 10 years and had no plans to ever return. Was it going to be like riding a bike? Was it going to be harder since I was older? Was it going to be emotionally exhausting because of the topics studied? Was I going to feel like a grandma compared to a swarm of 18-year-olds?!
Having enough finances. I was fortunate to have some money in savings, but would it be enough to get me through a year of school (or more, if I chose to continue on another year at BSSM)?
Potentially having to find work. If I ran out of money, what would I do? Would I have to go against every introverted bone in my body and work retail? Would I even be able to find work, and if I did, would I be able to handle it on top of all the homework? Former BSSM students said it was an intense workload, and they pretty much put the fear of the Lord in me. 😂
Housing. Naturally, every clean-looking apartment or house to rent came with a big price tag. I felt guilty for wanting to live somewhere nice and my stomach turned at some of the prices, but I was also wary of living somewhere unsafe. It felt like such a waste of money to leave my rent-free room at my parents’ and spend up to $1,000 a month on housing.
Roommates. I’m just gonna say it: I don’t love having roommates. I like having my own space. I thought I’d left the roommate stage of my life in the past when I finished college, but I didn’t want to be wasteful and spend a fortune on rent. I also didn’t want to room with strangers who might turn out to be crazy, and I didn’t know anyone else planning to attend BSSM.
The spiritual environment. I’ve mentioned before that I was raised Assemblies of God, but I was still scared of and intimidated by Pentecostalism. I was afraid to attend my Assemblies of God university, for Pete’s sake, and this would be even more intense! What if it got too weird? What if I didn’t agree with some of the theology? What if I was asked to do something I didn’t feel comfortable doing? I’d seen enough Bethel TV to know these were probably valid concerns and I’d likely be pushed wayyyyy out of my comfort zone at BSSM. I loved God and I wanted more of him…but I was scared.
Moving to a city I’d never even visited. Because of coronavirus, I did not have the opportunity to tour BSSM, Bethel, or even Redding before enrolling. It hadn’t even been on my radar when classes were still in session the previous year. I worried I’d hate Redding, or, worse, the school itself. If I did, it would be too late to back out.
What people at my church would think. I knew some of them would be supportive, but I worried a lot of them would think I’d gone off the deep end…mainly because I used to be that person who thought everyone who went to BSSM was a little off their rocker. 😉 Would people lose respect for me? Was I killing my credibility in my hometown? Would BSSM line up enough with my values?
Whether I’d even get accepted. I’d read about a few people who didn’t, so of course that made me worry. What if the admissions office found something lacking in me?
Making new friends. Historically, this has not been easy for me. I had gotten fairly good at making friends in my small-town comfort zone, but a whole new city was an entirely different ballgame. Would there even be people around my age to befriend? That had already been a challenge for me at home, and I knew it would take even more effort in a place where I didn’t know anybody.
Wasting money. This was closely tied to my concern about finances, but I was also worried that, when it was all said and done, I might not feel like it had been a worthy investment. And it was a whole lot of money to invest – not so much for school itself, but for all the additional expenses – if it didn’t turn out to be something very worthwhile. I was pretty sure this wouldn’t be an issue, but I was still hesitant to spend the money when I knew I could use it for so many other important things.
The missions trip. It’s mandatory for every student and, although I think missions is important and should be supported, it’s not my passion. Plus I knew this trip would cost more money, potentially up to $10,000 extra that I didn’t have – that’s almost double the entire year’s tuition! This was probably the thing I dreaded most.
City service. Another requirement for all students that intimidated me. Would I have to wash people’s feet like Jesus did? Paint the toenails of the homeless? De-lice heads? I am a germophobe, neat freak, and all-around scaredy-cat. I do not do well in situations that are less-than-sanitary, nor do I particularly love surprises. I was afraid of what I might be required to do and how I’d mask my repulsion if it got gross. (Just keeping it real here!)
Moving back home and readjusting. I didn’t want to feel disappointed and out-of-place when I finished school and returned home. I knew there was a strong chance I might. I LOVE my hometown, and I didn’t want to come back only to feel restless after getting a taste of revival. I also didn’t want to get complacent and regress after a year of rapid growth.
And, of course…
16. What if it actually was a cult? I’d read the articles, watched the exposés, and seen the YouTube videos. I literally watched every single YouTube video in existence about BSSM. I discerned and believed wholeheartedly that Bethel was the real deal. But if I was wrong, I was throwing a lot of money and a year of my life away for nothing, not to mention opening myself up to some scary stuff. What if I was wrong?
Thankfully, I was not.
Okay, clearly I had a lot of fears. There was a lot at stake, a lot to lose…but also so much to gain. And gain I did. Tune in next week to hear the specifics of how each of these things turned out!
Do you have any questions about BSSM? I had SO many before deciding to pursue it, and I’d be happy to answer any of your obscure inquiries or just give my take on things everyone else has already answered.
I echo almost all of my fellow classmates when I say that this is my best piece of advice, though: GO! It’s totally worth it. 😊
Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Hey! I'm Brianna and I'm a millennial. I'm also a reader, writer, God-lover, introvert, and recovering perfectionist. ☺️
I want to inspire millennials to retain their morality, hope, and faith as they transition into adulthood and full-fledged "adult."