Ah, a new year. A new schedule. A new, refreshed, rejuvenated, rejoicing version of you!
It seems that this “new year, new me” mantra may not necessarily resonate with us as much as we’d like it to. After three weeks of class, we feel like we’re on week thirty-seven.
Maybe you feel like you’re on the wrong path. Maybe you’ve become disheartened with the state of society, the academic stress, the relationships you have.
Maybe, like me, you struggle to let God in at times when you need Him most.
It is so easy to see our success or failure measured in grades, ranks, percentiles, and oftentimes, our peers. These are tangible things; we live in a tangible world. We are quick to accept these performances as the Ultimate Truth about ourselves because we see these things every day. But what if we started bombarding this fickle, worldly version of success with the eternal, real truth of success that God shows us we have reached just by existing – the fact that he loves us beyond anything we can even fathom? We would have no choice but to be at peace with ourselves if it is something we choose to expose our minds to more often than any earthly satisfaction. God has promised that His love is the only fulfillment we need in Jeremiah 31:25 – For I will give rest to the weary and joy to the sorrowing. All we need to do is make Him a priority and see our pursuits through His eyes.
Easier said than done.
I recently watched a spoken word video created by a man named Stefan Vandenkooy about why our degrees are not for us. It’s about 3 minutes long, and you can watch it here: https://vimeo.com/128292930. Though he speaks in terms of finals week, it applies to all parts of our collegiate journey. He speaks about how we take pride in being busy, that we’re always running ourselves thin in pursuit of our degree(s). But Stefan wants us to reevaluate our motivation. He says, “Your degree is not for you. It is for those who are hurting.” We shouldn’t be learning to make ourselves better, more successful people in the eyes of humanity – we should be learning so that we can follow God’s purpose for our gifts. (The Big Man knew what he was doing when he made us in His image.) In turn, we will be actively loving humanity the same way God loves us. Isn’t this the kind of love that our hearts desire most?
God is in continuous pursuit of our hearts. Though He desperately wants us to see our purpose through Him, we need to do our part in the relationship. We just need to open the door to a loving God who will never stop knocking. (Those of you who were at December’s Night of Worship know exactly what I’m talking about.)
Though this isn’t at all easy (and God, by all means, realizes this), God offers a reward we can pretend to comprehend, but can’t fully grasp because of how great it is. As we work through the book of James in our life groups, this reward becomes more apparent. James 1:3-4 says, you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
Can you imagine needing nothing?
Trials are inevitable. The struggle will remain. We live on Earth, after all. But we have an eternal ally. Someone who doesn’t even consider giving up on us when we mess up. Someone who loves and loves and loves even when all you want to do is push Him away.
So when you are caught up in society’s ideals of success and your own questions about your pursuits and how everything fits together, remember the promise. Remember your Eternal Ally. He’s always on your side.
Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. – Matthew 7:25
Haley Welch, Student President, Impact at IUPUI