I don’t know about you, but I get a little bit too excited about the start of a new school year. There’s something about school supply sales, bookshelves, and new textbooks that makes me really emotional. It’s a serious problem. Even though I still have one more month until I begin my second year of college, I’ve spent the past week or so preparing my workspace for the upcoming fall semester.
Then the exhaustion, frustration, and anxiety finally caught up with me.
I sat on the porch and watched the sunset tonight and I finally admitted something to God that He was – obviously – already aware of, but that I haven’t come to terms with until now. The truth is that behind the surface excitement about stationery and writing utensils and a blank planner, I am deeply, deeply afraid.
I’m afraid of the sleepless nights, my inability to stay motivated, and the knowledge that I will fail at something again, at some point, whether it be a paper or an exam question or a due date. I’m afraid of the never-ending nature of it all. I’m afraid of a GPA that isn’t good enough. I’m afraid of being rejected by the honor society that I want to apply to. I’m afraid of the routine.
And more than anything, I’m afraid of my inadequacy. Or maybe I’m afraid to believe that God can really make up for it.
Getting a quality education is hard, you guys. In my first year alone, even in light of the fun and rewarding experiences I’ve been blessed with so far in my college career, there have been many times when I wanted to give it all up because it was just too exhausting, confusing and frustrating. But then this past weekend I came across – and purchased – a framed quote that reads, “When you feel like quitting, think about why you started.” And I realized that I have been allowing myself to lose sight of why I began this educational journey in the first place.
Learning challenges us. It humbles us. It pushes us to our limits and then some. It introduces us to new people, new ideas, new places, and new words. It develops and cultivates our individual gifts. It molds us into the kind of people who can be used for bigger things. And this should be our primary goal for everything; but especially our education.
I implore you – and myself, especially – to refocus on that before this new school year has the chance to weigh you down. The purpose isn’t recognition, finding a spouse, becoming independent, participating in organizations, or being part of a community, though these are not necessarily negative things in and of themselves. But if I truly want to glorify Christ with my entire life, I should be using every tool that has been made available to me to bring about a more Kingdom-centered, spiritually-motivated purpose. Education is one of the greatest tools we’ve been given with which to accomplish this. Don’t forsake it this year for the things that won’t even stand the test of time – let alone the test of eternity.
“Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31, ESV)