Monday, May 19, 2008

Thoughts on the "College Years"

It's that time of year again. The time of year when millions of kids across the country are fervently penning the last words of their high school careers onto the pages of life, all about to close that chapter forever. It's high school graduation. 

After coming to college I know I've changed, but I'm not sure how--or at least I don't think I can put it into words yet. In some ways I feel more lost, in others I feel more found. I've learned more about people than I ever wanted to know and I've learned what it really means to walk the walk. I've learned that my patience is much more thin than I had hoped it would be. I've learned that you can't trust everyone. And in the fatalistic blow to my bubble, I've learned that there are people who do wish harm on me as well as others. However, I've also learned that everyone hurts and bleeds the same. I've also learned that the "bad" people are just insecure and scared. I've also learned that in the midst of despair and fear for others there is only one thing that matters: Love--and His name is Jesus.  

I feel like in our country college is the time where a person gets a nod and a wink, maybe a slap on the wrists, for "bad behavior". It's kind of understood that we'll all be drinking underage and having sex with random people to "find" ourselves. But to that I ask, "Who ever found themselves at the bottom of a glass or in a one night stand?" Name one...  Also, it is obvious that also accepted in our society is the idea that there is no consequence to anything done in these 4 years... Well, again I beg to differ. Sometimes the consequences of our actions can leave us hurt and scarred for the rest of our lives whether we're in college or not. 

It is a hard time for me because I feel like I've been called to a higher purpose and I'm doing my best to be who He created me to be. I know who I am and I don't need sex, drugs, or alcohol to "teach" me anything. However, I know everyone else is called too and watching them fail to even recognize that potential is sometimes agonizingly painful. Ephesians 5:15-21 kind of says it all. I guess part of my problem is that in college in an attempt to gain knowledge, we seem to lose any sense of wisdom. 

I sincerely hope I never come off as one of those judgmental Southern conservative "Christians" who says, "You'll be damned to Hell if you do X, Y, or even think about Z!" If anyone reading this (if anyone even reads this) walks away thinking that was my point you have missed it completely. 

I'm just sharing the most important thing I feel I've learned during my college years so far (but not in college, despite going to a "Christian school" (that is another blog entirely)).

I've learned that it's not drugs or alcohol or sex that bring you down. No.

It's the failure to recognize the fact that YOU ARE LOVED causes failure to recognize your potential and so goes the trail. 

So let's share His love, huh? 

I know it's hard sometimes, but pray for the person you despise. Hug the friend who hurt you. Call your mom and tell her you love her. Help a stranger. Apologize. Ask forgiveness. Smile. Love those who don't love you. Ask questions and seek God. Study and ask questions, but don't forget to ask Him. I know some don't feel that Christians do this, but I do. I ask questions. I doubt. But time and time again I have faith that you'll find: Love wins. It's easy to hate, love takes courage. Be courageous. 

We all have a pen in our hands and I only pray that by the time I finish the "College Years" chapter in my life, that I am happy with the way it turned out and I don't spend the rest of my life regretting or wondering what would have been different if I had realized my potential or if I had loved more. I want to look back and see that in the times I wanted to hit someone I was so mad, I hugged them instead--literally for figuratively. I want to see that in the middle of my struggles I didn't give up, but instead found my strength in Christ. I don't want to look back and see "religion" I want to look back and see the Love of Jesus in my life. I know I forget these things daily, but with His help I know I can try-- and I would encourage every college Freshman of 2012 to do so too. 

In Him,
Nicole <><

Please lay down your arrows
For they're sure to pierce the skin
And water from a broken well
Will make you thirst again
When all things you've acquired
Are tested by the flames
And you can see them melting
Then will you call His name?

It's worth it brothers
It's worth it friends
To know your maker
To lose your sin
Did you know that you are dearly loved?

To the slaughter you are being led
Being told that it's a party
That this God is in your head
And every single lie
Sounds just like the greatest truth
But the one truth you're not hearing
Is that He died for you

It's worth it brothers
It's worth it friends
To know your maker
To lose your sins
Did you know that you are dearly loved?
-Jimmy Needham

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