How easy is it for us to want to plan our lives? Whether you are a person who neatly organizes every part of their life (like me), or someone who wakes up every morning with no clue what they are doing that day, there is some part of all of us that has an idea of how things should be. Even though we are college students and you could say that you have no idea what you’re doing with your life, I would argue that you probably have a lot more planned than you realize. There is no shame in it. It’s part of being human to want life to go a certain way.
But what happens when the plan falls away? What happens when your entire focus becomes switched? I’m not talking about your lunch plans changing at the last second, or the cashier accidentally giving you the wrong amount of change at the checkout. I’m talking about when your world gets so shaken up that each step into the future is blurry and misguided; when you have no sense of direction.
Maybe your car gets totaled and you now have no way to get yourself to school or work. Maybe after paying for a year or two of school, you realize that you have no idea what you want to do anymore, and every major feels like the wrong one. Maybe that two year relationship just ended, throwing us into a tailspin when our future plans of happiness crash and burn. Maybe there’s a sickness or death of a loved one, and now you’re wrestling with a burden that you weren’t ready to carry. From the lowest to the highest end of the spectrum, it’s happened to all of us. However, what we choose to do and who we choose to be in this chaos and fallout defines who we are in Christ.
When the world seems blurry, Jesus remains as clear as ever if you choose to search for him. Lately, God has been consistently reminding me of this fact through a passage that I heard over and over again when I went to Zambia on a mission trip last summer:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. - Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
I think this passage relates so well to where we are right now as college students, and more specifically, where we are in this summer. Many of us are working full time, volunteering, participating in internships and research, studying abroad, traveling, and so much more. Even more of us have just come out of a crazy spring semester that we didn’t think we would get out of alive, either for academic reasons, personal reasons, or a mix of both. The summer that we thought was going to be a relaxing break is becoming more hectic than we realized. The passage above begs us to look for Jesus in the chaos. It doesn’t tell us to find a solution all by ourselves. It doesn’t say to work ourselves to death trying to figure it all out. It tells us to be patient and be faithful in our unstoppable God.
When life becomes too crazy and hectic to handle, we can do one of three things. We can find more strength to carry it, we can find someone to help us carry it, or we can let it crush us. If we need more strength, God asks us to pray and read his word (consistently). If we need help with what life has thrown at us, God gives us fellowship in the form of Bible studies, life groups, and churches. We aren’t alone, and we never were.
Something that I strive for, and that I hope all of you strive for this summer is to bring Jesus back into focus, in whatever form that may take. This summer is the time to either reclaim your faith or to make it stronger than it ever was. For me, I have a long road back to where I was at the start of this school year. Luckily, I have a church and friends that love me, and I have God’s Word that continues to teach me every day. All we have to do is set our hearts on things above. In a blurry world, Jesus can make things clearer than we ever thought possible.
Brad Loeffler, Member of Impact Christian Fellowship at IUPUI