As my senior year in high school rolled around, I began to dread the end. I didn’t want to go to college, I didn’t want to be a grown-up, and I certainly didn’t want to go off somewhere into the frightening non-home void and have to figure out what to do with my life. I remember deciding that the only prayer I could pray with honesty was for God to make His desires for these next few years fool-proof . . . because I didn’t trust myself to listen and I would crumble under the weight of choosing for myself.
God isn’t a prayer elitist. He doesn’t choose to listen only to the wisest or holiest or most elegant prayers, and as underachieving as those prayers from seventeen-year-old me might have been, He answered them. The first thing He did was to rule out every single college on my list except one, IUPUI, either because they didn’t accept me or because they wouldn’t foot the bill and, for my family, those were the conditions. So here I am.
The second thing God did was to put me in a freshman English class with a professor who reveled in challenging the assumptions of sheltered little Christians. In class, I fumed. Outside of class, I thought of all the bold and compelling things I should have said while I was there, and worked hard to say those things in essays. My professor’s attitude could have intimidated me, shaken my faith, or jaded me. What he actually did was inspire me. I wanted his job. He got to stand in front of this whole room full of impressionable freshmen and exhale powerful ideas, neatly wrapped in coursework. I didn’t resent him for challenging my convictions. He didn’t change my opinions; he forced me to claim them. I had to listen closely for the faults in his logic, and sometimes I couldn’t find them. But when I couldn’t, I knew it was my lack of understanding, and lacks are there to be filled.
By sophomore year I declared a double major in Creative Writing and Philosophy. If you’re looking for a sure way to gain skeptical glances from godly and well-meaning adults (especially mothers), that’s it. Not only does my major not come with a job, but going off to a secular university to study Philosophy is just not a very Christian, pastor’s kid, virtuous-Jesus-loving-homeschooled-girl thing to do. From a distance, I understood the skeptical glances. Up close, they made me sad. I wanted so much to show people, not only that this was not an off-the-deep-end thing to do, but that it was (only in part, because please people, have a bigger vision than classes and grades) what God had put me here to do and to learn.
There’s a quotation flying around the internet from theologian Frederick Beuchner. It says, “the place God calls you is where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” That’s what writing is to me. Deep, deep gladness. Ideas are strong, and they’re stronger when you have words to express them.
So that’s why I write. Because I care about ideas, and I want to communicate them well.
Because I believe that mind that creates and delights in the creation is the image of God, and words are my medium. Because stories thrill me as much as conversations do, and because I see history and that is exciting. And I want other people to see it too.
The most common question when people find out my major is, of course, “what do you want to do with that?” The second most common is “So you want to teach?” After three and a half years, neither one of them intimidates me anymore. I do want to teach, but even if I didn’t or if I didn’t know, why should I worry? I may feel like writing is what I’m made to do, but I’m going to go back on my words right here and now and say it isn’t. Not fundamentally. Writing is a “deep gladness” and a tool that God has given me to use, but what He deep-down-at-the-core made me to do is to know Him. That’s why He created me. That’s why He created you. That means that if God asks me to follow Him somewhere different than into the university classroom I still daydream about, the classroom dream is going to put itself on hold. My commitment, even as a college student who is supposedly doing well because I have a tentative career plan that genuinely excites me, is not to a plan. It’s to a Person. It’s to a Person who will be as faithful today as He’s been since time began, a Person who wants me and you more than He wants a specific agenda in our lives, but a Person who gives us tools and passions and doesn’t forget about them.
Dorothy Sayers, another Christian woman who also didn’t quite follow the what-girls-are-supposed-to-do norms, said that our work as humans should be “the full expression of the worker’s faculties, the thing in which he finds spiritual, mental and bodily satisfaction, and the medium by which he offers himself to God.” That might be writing or teaching. It might be alleviating pain and sickness. It might be making machines that work. It might be sitting down with person after person who doesn’t believe that they matter and telling them that they do. I don’t care whether your thing is different than mine. Actually I hope it is. I want us to have different visions, because our God is big. But mainly I want us both to be offering ourselves back to our Him.
Soli Deo gloria. Glory to God alone.
Krystiana Kosobucki, Student in Impact at IUPUI