Dear college student, seize the day...
As a newly minted college graduate who is still trying to figure out who I am in God and just life in general, as I look through my social media channels and the blogsphere and see people still in that college phase, I have this urgency to tell you to step outside of that college bubble. So here it goes - words that go against everything you're told and probably against what you want. But, I pray that you'll read this with an open mind and a love for Christ. That's all it takes for the Holy Spirit to work in you.
Dear college student,
You're told that college is the best four years of your life - four years to spend with your friends with no real responsibilities until grown-up life settles in after graduation. Four years to just have fun and discover yourself.
But those four years pass by incredibly fast. And its in those four years that you have the potential to grow exponentially in your relationship with Christ - to witness to fellow students on campus, to give back to your community and soak up so much new knowledge.
Don't wait to serve your Lord after graduation. Start now, because right now you have the free time, passion and supernatural amounts of energy to change the world with practically no sleep.
I have written to you, young men (and women!), because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the wicked one. -1 John 2:14
Contrary to the world's advice, don't focus on yourself. Focus on others because in return it will show you what you're made of and what you're capable of doing. Give yourself in service to your friends, professors, the poor and oppressed in your community. Give until you feel like you can't possibly commit another minute so you fall into bed exhausted - haunted by happy smiles in the midst of poverty or Godly love in the midst of partying and drinking on campus.
And then wake up in the morning with a renewed drive to show another person how much God loves him/her; to lend a helping hand; and to learn something new and extraordinary. Then, go and apply that knowledge right away - share it with someone else, write it down or implement it at work.
Your friends won't get it. They may tell you to relax, live a little - "YOLO" and all that. But you just smile, and say "I have work to do. The Lord needs me." Stand firm. That in itself is a great testimony. And believe me when I tell you - our college campuses need the Lord. There is a hunger for the truth, approval and guidance. It's a missionary field most people don't consider and we're the prime missioanaries that God can use.
And in return, God will smile upon you with the full strength of His blessings and His love will pour into every aspect of your life - your school work, relationships, family, ministry and even into your dreams.
Don't develop yourself around your college friends - the parties, social outings, drinks and relationships are but a passing minute of a bigger picture. But, your relationship with the Lord is a life-long committment and He needs you today. Right now. Not in four years. Right this minute.
I wish someone had told me this four years ago. I wish I hadn't subscribed to the typical college experience. I wish I hadn't focused so hard on building up an impressive resume, fitting in or keeping a 4.0. I wish had focused on seeking the kingdom of God first and foremost - the grades, extracurricular activities and friendship would have fallen into place.
No, I'm not saying ignore school. In fact, I urge you to learn as much as you can - take classes on every subject and soak everything in - you'll never know when you'll use it or you might just discover your calling. Seek out your professors' mentorship and knowledge - for they are experts in their fields and have a wealth of information to share with curious students. Reach out and ask.
But, don't put your grades or studying above your Lord. I regret every church or youth service I missed because I had to study. Those two hours of studying were not worth missing out on precious time spent in the precense of the Lord.
Because, from personal experience, I have learned that if I manage my time wisely and trust the Lord - then I have enough time to study, go to church and get a better grade on an exam then if I had just stayed home studying and not gone to church.
My grandmother once told me how when she was still in school, one night she had gone to prayer, which had gone on long into the night. By the time she came home, dawn was on the horizon and it was time to start her long trek to school. She had a test that day - an oral exam where the teacher puts you in front of the class and fires questions at you. So she prayed and asked the Lord to give her the wisdom to pass the test. She aced every question - even the ones she hadn't had time to study. The answers just came to her.
I've experienced that too. It's amazing.
And I know that these words go against your every plan and dream. And it will be hard. Like incredibly hard - some days you won't even see results and other days you'll just want to take a day off to hang out with your friends, drink, party and live a little. And one day is okay. But that lifestyle is addicting and one day turns into two, and then a week, and then your Bible begins to gather dust, it's perfectly normal to roll out of bed at noon with a hangover and you're not quite sure what happened. So, be cautious and remain on guard.
And you may say, "Well I need to get involved on campus to meet people and to build a resume so I can get a job after graduation, etc...", but I guarantee you that if you dedicate your college years to promoting God and building a spiritual resume that even with a blank resume - God will provide you with a job and it will be better than anything you could have prepared for or found yourself.
Don't worry about what to wear, what to eat or how you'll pay tuition or that month's rent. God will provide. He already has it all figured out, but if you are determined to make it yourself - then He won't force you to accept His gifts. He's there for you, but it has to be your choice and your actions that give Him the freedom to work in your life.
People will look at your life and murmur in astonishment - how did that happen? And you'll smile and say - the Lord did this and go on your way - helping, giving and loving, because by then it becomes a lifestyle - the way you live and dream.
"Do not say, 'I am youth,' for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of their faces, for I am with you to deliver you," says the Lord. Jeremiah 1:7-8
Our generation is unlike any other - we literally have the world at our fingertips - we live in a peaceful, blessed country; we're just a plane ride away from any city in the world; we have mastered technology and social media; we've made incredible progress in research and development; there is funding available for pretty much anything you want to do; we are educated and ambitious; we care.
But, above all we serve this powerful God who will move mountains for you and provide for every need you may have, before you even anticipate it. We are a royal generation - the children of the King of Kings.
The Lord needs you and I. And I wish I had started earlier. And in four years, you may too.
So, let's seize the day. Today. Right now. All it takes is a willing spirit - God will provide the opportunities, strength and love. Let's change the world, shall we?!
has been there is here.