I’m worn out. Spent. Exhausted. Drained. Jaded. Empty. However you would like to interpret it, I am disgustingly fatigued.
I just spent the last week of my life devoting my time, energy, and emotions to five sheets of paper. Five sheets of paper once blank, but now covered with pencil-filled bubbles, and presently residing at the nearest dumpster in College Station, Texas.
Whether I am willing to admit it or not, I allowed each of those five pieces of paper to consume me. And if I’m guessing correctly, if you’re a college student like me, you probably let five pieces of paper consume you as well. Silly right?
College is such a beautifully imperfect time of development from adolescence to full-blown adulthood, with a heavy sprinkle of selfishness to top it off. Don’t worry, I’m not only convicting you, but myself as well. It seems that I lose myself throughout the semester to be quite honest. Gradually I become consumed with myself, my future, and my present circumstances to what end? Five sheets of paper and a number between one and four.
The point I’m trying to make is that I am currently writing this article at 12:39 AM on a Wednesday night, the day after I finished my semester finals, and I’m here to tell you that it wasn’t worth it. My eyes are droopy, my morale is low, and my strenuous desire to attain the 4.0 GPA that my school, department, and future employer so desperately covets has run out. I am worn.
From the latter half of my high school years until now as a college student, I have heard time and time again from every counselor, advisor, teacher, and professor that it is in “my best interest” to expend everything I have to simply make it to the next step. Make good grades, apply for college, apply for scholarships, make even better grades, apply for more scholarships, apply for internships, apply for jobs, and so on, and so on, and so on…
Don’t read me wrong, school is exceptionally important. It is not my goal to pontificate my sophomoric opinion of how to handle your education moving forward. Rather, it is my heart’s desire to tell you that I allowed a semester of my life go by that was consumed by school when I wish it had been consumed by Christ.
Believe me, I went to church every Sunday, bible studies, accountability groups, life groups, the whole nine yards. Despite these things however, I cannot seem to shake the fact that school took over my life this semester more than Jesus did. Sure, I experienced Jesus quite a lot. I’m sure you probably did too, but beloved, were you consumed with Jesus?
How many times have we dropped everything to study for that midterm? Or cleared out your Sunday night to finish that paper? For me it’s been many times that are all long forgotten by now. So, let me ask you, my friends, would you trade a life of fulfillment and purpose for that glowing transcript? Because I think we have.
Timothy Ateek gives a mean message, but if that is the spiritual highlight of your week then you have not been consumed by The Holy Spirit! It’s my deepest aspiration to live a life driven by faith that is strengthened by my occupation rather than to live a life driven by my occupation that is strengthened by my faith.
So, beloved, let me assure you that while I am tired I am still motivated. Not by my grades but by my God. As I said, education is so important, but I can just about guarantee that the grades you made this semester will not continue to fulfill you a month, a year, or a decade from now, but Christ will, and he will continue to do it eternally.
My friends, if you are like me and have fallen into the trap of idolizing your education or career, please join me in standing for something greater. Let’s choose to use our education to glorify God rather than using God to glorify our education, because I promise you that this decision will be worth it.