Tears well up in my eyes as the voices of people I love wash over me. Even as I pick out individual timbres, I hear one unified song coming from friends who are like family to me…
Once upon a time I started a blog in preparation for a group mission trip to Taiwan with two friends, one boyfriend (now husband!), and one choir director. We met incredible people, sang some cool songs, visited beautiful parts of Taipei, and left a little bit different than how we began. It was an awesome experience, but blogging was more difficult to maintain than I thought and I haven’t posted since…woops. My life has changed in more ways than one since then, so I thought I’d do a quick catch-up blog and then start posting more regularly, as there are many things on my heart and mind that I’d love to share with anyone who is interested. SO here goes!
It is impossibly late and I am unbelievably exhausted, but I am experiencing an extreme amount of life clarity that must be reflected upon at this very minute (hey, finals are over, I don’t need sleep!)
(P.S. First real blog in what feels like forever, sorry for incoherency…)
Anyways, today I sort of graduated from college (woo hoo!). I say sort of because I still have a semester of student teaching left, but for all intents and purposes I have earned a Bachelor of Arts in Vocal Performance and will complete my education degree in December!
Thus, my perspective in life spiraled quickly out of control at about 11 a.m. this morning. It was scary to be done with classes, but not done with school. To be moving off campus, but not leaving town. To be saying “congratulations,” but also saying “goodbye.” And it was also just a little anticlimactic, truth be told. But most of all, there was this vague idea called the future, something on the minds of many and the one thing giving me anxiety. Much confusion ensued as I pondered what was next for me, especially after December.
However, thanks to a good talk with my mom, a beautiful sentiment from my grandparents (“Your ‘future’ has been going on since you were born. This next phase of your life is yet another adventure – enjoy!!”), and some personal reflection and prayer, I learned that there is a huge difference between planning and preparing for the future. Stick with me as I try to explain this…
I thought I would leave college with a plan. I wanted it to be God’s plan, but I think deep down I knew I was in control (that’s laughable…) and I would work out a pretty sweet plan for myself. Following a path that was perhaps a little bumpy, yet direct, I would end up where I was supposed to be. I saw the mission statement of my college as an assurance of that plan and felt confident in my ability to turn my education into a life that was super cool and awesome in every way (that’s how life works, right?)
When I read this statement tonight, however, I read it completely differently: The mission of York College is to transform lives through Christ-centered education and to equip students for lifelong service to God, family and society.
To equip means to “supply with the necessary items for a particular purpose” or “prepare (someone) mentally for a particular situation or task.” Notice that the school’s mission statement and these definitions do not mention concrete plans nor do they specify which particular purposes to pursue – and neither does life. While earlier today I was frustrated because I thought I was not ready for the future without my sweet plan, my clear purposes, and my direct path, I now realize being equipped has nothing to do with being a psychic. We cannot predict our futures – futures that are completely in the hands of God, futures that are clear to him, not us. Being equipped does, however, have everything to do with giving your entire life over to God, to do with what he will, trusting he will give you what you need.
Equipping means preparing your mind, heart, spirit, body, and focus to fill needs, pursue goodness, and be a light in the world. Equipping means exploring ideas, maxing out potential, and growing into a better version of yourself. Equipping means keeping doors open for God’s plan, instead of closing “unappealing” ones yourself. Equipping means investing in a life full of service, passion, devotion, and righteousness.
My college did not tell me where to move after I graduate, what job to pursue, which programs to invest in, who to love. It did not promise a life that was easy, picturesque, or predictable. And it certainly did not tell me to leave college with a 50-year plan detailing each step of my life. It simply, and beautifully, said when I left I would be equipped, or prepared, to serve God, family, and society in some way. Multiple ways. Any way.
Now yes, some big decisions are probably ahead in my future. I will pray for wisdom, look for opportunities, pursue dreams, and support my loved ones in their own pursuits. And, inevitably, I will probably do some planning in order to succeed in living a life worthy of a higher calling. But I pray that any plans I do explore glorify God, not myself, and I pray my paths are laid out by him (Proverbs 3:5-6).
I am filled with gratitude towards the people and experiences I’ve had, and will continue to have, at York College – experiences that have equipped me in more ways than one. I’m looking forward to my future, however much or little of it I may have, by allowing myself to be equipped for the good works God has prepared for me (Ephesians 2:10). Not by planning, controlling, obsessing, or worrying, but by opening my eyes and my heart to the work of God’s almighty hand.