Well… if you haven’t noticed by now, I’ve found college to be more time consuming then initially anticipated. It’s not that I was under the impression earning a degree was going to be a cakewalk, but by no means was I expecting quite the level of “life consumption” that has so far been the norm. I suppose, then, that the key word is earned. A college degree isn’t a given, it’s something that has to be acquired through hard work, dedication, and a commitment to a better, more fulfilling future. In this situation, I find James 1:12 to be particularly relevant and reassuring: “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him” (ESV). College is just another trial (moral, cognitive, developmental) that comes on life’s road for many of us, yet when we push through to the other side we are more capable of embracing the fullness that God has in store for our collective future.
Over Christmas break I’ve had the chance to contemplate some of what’s happened over the past several months. Though I no longer spend copious amounts of time in the mountains praying—disheartening, for sure—I have developed a greater appreciation for fleeting periods of respite. I used to limit my “true” enjoyment of restful activities to those lasting several days or longer. Now, I find myself appreciating a restive thirty minutes to no end.
It took awhile to realize that my old spiritual normal wasn’t going to cut it in my new life, and during the interim my spiritual walk got a little dull. Praying in the morning. Check. Reading the bible for a bit each day. Check. Remaining aware of God throughout the day… a challenge to say the least. But this challenge is partly of my own making. I’d previously set such high precedents for my day to day spirituality that when I couldn’t meet my goals, I simply gave up with the excuse, “I’m a college student, I don’t have the time.” God will never allow our lives to wholly overwhelm our Christian walks, though it may outwardly appear as such. So wouldn’t it make more sense to be appreciative of the time we can spend in pursuit of the Father rather than complaining about the time we can’t? This is a realization that hit home in my life in numerous ways.
In addition to setting obstructively high standards in my Christian life, the lack of blog activity over the past weeks is evidence of inconveniently lofty expectations set in my first two posts. I started this blog with the thought, “oh, it couldn’t possibly be too hard to post my thoughts on faith, college, and who knows what else a few times a week.” As it turns out, writing a blog can be a bit like college—that is, hard. So in an effort to pursue God’s direction earnestly, I’m endeavoring to lower my standards. No, this doesn’t mean moral failing or altered theology! But it does mean a greater embrace of what time I can spend in pursuit of God’s love… and more realistic blog expectations. No more highfalutin vocabulary. No more self wrought “minimum length” requirement. And no more false niceties, unrealistic idealism, or legalistic scriptural quotation. From now on I’m going to write what God directs me to when He directs me to in the style and vocabulary He directs me to do it. I simply want to be real as a demonstration of the unique individual that I am called to be in Christ. Is God going to have me writing several times a week? Is He going to guide me to simply post a single scripture or a 5,000 word reflection? Only future postings will determine the answers to these questions. But until the answer is manifest, I’ll leave you with a scripture and a few photos from some recent, restive wanderings to usher in the new year.
“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand” (Proverbs 19:21 ESV).