Most of my blogs when I first started this platform weren’t very personal. I typically explained something that God had put on my heart in the moment. My last post about faith and action kind of reverts to that. However, I want this series to be different. It’s partly different because I simply have less time to write (due to the overload of other written things that need to be turned into a professor). It’s also because I want to be completely real with you guys. I believe vulnerability is refreshing- especially when the majority of us are struggling with stress, anxiety, and loneliness- but don’t want to say anything about it. I also don’t want anybody to think that because I have a relationship with God, my life is easy. I never want to be one of those people that pretends everything is ok when it isn’t. This world is imperfect. But that’s ok. It’s ok to not always feel ok. God knows it hurts because He hurts with you.
First though, let me clarify something:
Since arriving at UGA, I have had the TIME OF MY LIFE. It has been incredible! I love my friends, my sorority, the organizations I’ve gotten involved in, and even my classes.
But I’m not always on a life high. I have also had to discover what it means to P E R S E V E R E.
See, what makes college so difficult sometimes is juggling what feels like a thousand things on your mind at one time. A typical walk to a class (how to fight that freshman fifteen) often consists of thinking about:
- the 4 tests you have this week,
- the pros and cons of buying yet another tee shirt,
- the paper you have to write,
- that social tonight,
- the club you want to join,
- that date night you are trying to figure out,
- game day on Saturday,
- what church event you want to go to on Wednesday (there are so many),
- and maybe even JACOB EASON who just passed you on the sidewalk…a scenario when all other thoughts come screeching to a halt.
But W A I T- where does God fit into all of this?
Hmmm…the issue actually lies within the question I just asked. It’s not supposed to be a question of where God fits, but where He LIVES….is He in your heart or simply on your schedule?
Instead of freely following Jesus and having Him saturate ALL that we do, we often compartmentalize His presence…even if we don’t realize it:
“Ok, I went to church today- I’m good now. CHECK. What’s next on my list? Oh another club meeting. Let’s go get this over with.”
It’s a common problem with busyness. Instead of seeing the value of the things we do, we begin to place more value on the achievement of merely having them finished. Now don’t get me wrong, having lists and checking things off is empowering. It’s exciting even. But when your Creator becomes something to be checked off of a list, that’s scary.
Imagine if someone only hung out with you because it was something that they had to get checked off a list. You really wouldn’t feel loved, would you?
This is the risk with becoming so busy in college- it numbs you to the point where you forget WHY you are doing the things you are doing. I had to learn this quickly. When I first started out, I had the urge to apply for every organizational committee I was introduced to. Now I am seeing that it’s not about how much you are involved in, but WHY you are involved in it. Involve yourself in things that you actually WANT to do…not just things you think you are supposed to do because it would look good on a resume.
The same can be said of our relationships with God in college. Are we going to church groups because we WANT God, or because it seems like that’s what you are supposed to do? I have come to the conclusion that my insanity of a schedule is impossible to sustain without something beyond me reminding me of WHY I am doing what I’m doing.
Why am I studying so hard?
Why am I putting myself into so many clubs and organizations?
Why am I working so hard?
Why am I stressing myself out???
And then the biggest question of all….
IS ALL OF THIS WORTH IT???
The answer came in a Bible verse the other day. God is real ya’ll (yeah I say ya’ll now- I think that’s something UGA has instilled in me):
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” –Romans 5:3-4 (emphasis added)
In essence, grades and material things are not the WORTH we are seeking. They fade away and don’t give us real joy. But PERSEVERANCE….which builds CHARACTER…which builds HOPE….that is worth seeking. That makes all of this mess WORTH IT.
See, whenever I look around and nothing in this world seems to make sense…God makes sense of it. This is why I can’t compartmentalize God’s presence.
His presence is what defines the purpose of mine.
So when I look at the ceiling of my dorm at 3:30 in the morning…wondering why I am trying so hard to get a grade that doesn’t at all define who I am as a person….God reminds me that this is what grows me. Being uncomfortable, pushing through, and trusting God with assignments that threaten to take me down- it’s building perseverance…it’s building faith in Him….it’s building the character and Jesus driven hope in me.
One of my close friends said to me once that college is like a giant test. What you come out like at the end is dependent on what you invested in while there. You can either focus on the beautiful (which God creates) or focus on the broken (what the world around us easily creates). That’s the test. What are you choosing today? Persevering or passing up? Building character or building stress? Hoping in Jesus or hopping haphazardly through the mess?
Remember, God has a plan for it all. Even that guy or girl that’s on your mind (because that’s definitely on your mind- let’s be real)