Sunday morning, a week ago, I'm sitting at the kitchen table trying to pull from the recesses of my brain answers to a questionnaire that would be used at my church's Transition Retreat (where the highschool seniors, soon to be college freshman learn about what the "transition" may be like), and I'm reminded of all the not fun, wish-I-hadn't's of that space in life.
Hours later this picture rolls across my Facebook news feed.
Gallons of memories fill my head.
And I think.
Where has the time gone?
Ten years. A decade since I first set foot on Calvary's campus.
What has that many years beyond the transition taught me?
I recognize that I was so ignorant then. So short sighted. So much that I thought I knew, but didn't.
Hallelujah the Lord redeems things.
And that I can share these things with younger women over cups and cups of coffee...
1. Christ needs to be, has to be in first place. (Colossians 1:18). Above textbooks. And boys. And basketball. Because He is worthy of it. Sure, I learned to define preeminence in it's fullest theological form. But I had no idea. Before leaving for school my youth pastor's wife who had attended Moody warned me, don't get caught up in the going to chapel and writing papers and using the Bible as a textbook that you forget to read it for yourself. I didn't listen. It became super academic. And if I'm honest, I fight that temptation still.
2. Discipleship matters. I didn't know what discipleship really was. It wasn't until a year after graduation and in full-time ministry that I started getting it conceptually. It's life on life - while you are going (Matthew 28:19). And it can take many different forms. But no matter the logistics, it's so important to have a person in your life who's walked the road before that can ask you tough questions like: are you spending time with just you and the Lord, examining your heart for sin? Or is the Bible just another book on the desk?
3. Starting with Spring Banquet question, generally most people have in mind marriage when they go to Bible college. Not everyone. But most. So if you want to be married, and want to prepare yourself, start sacrificially laying your life down FOR EVERYONE AROUND YOU- for their eternal good. Starting now. It's Galatians 2:20, "I've been crucified with Christ and it's not longer I who live, but Christ who lives within me..." That's the gospel.
4. DON'T BE AFRAID TO ASK QUESTIONS. I know it's supposed to look like you have your act together when you go to a Bible college, because only people that want to be missionaries and pastor's and pastor's wives go there, but you don't have to. If you are wrestling with your faith and doubting your salvation talk to someone. Don't bottle it in. This is one of those times in life where you'll be surrounded with a high saturation of godly, smart people.
5. Church isn't a grade. If you're going to a Bible college, chances are you'll have to record your church attendance and whether or not you served in the church in some capacity that week. But the (universal) Church and the (local) church is where life is found. If college is meant to prepare you for that, start treating the body of Christ with purpose and passion. Life is busy in college, but it get's busier, so sink you feet in deep and get involved. Find a small group. Start serving in youth group. Create special music slides. Not because you have to, but because you get to.
6. Bear with one another and forgive relentlessly (Ephesians 4:32 and Colossians 3:13). But know there is a time to confront and clear the air (Matthew 18:15 and Galatians 6:1). Don't let petty, caddy girl-weirdness stand in the way of acting like the sisters in Christ that you are. Be bold and humble and "consider everyone to be more significant than yourself" (Philippians 2:3).
7. Live like you know the end of the story. Because you do! [Just read the book of Revelation (I know I say that over and over on this blog, but it's truer than we know!)] The thought should drive you to seek what is above (Colossians 3:1-3) and live like a good soldier who doesn't get caught up in the affairs of the world (2 Timothy 2:3-4). When you think about people - live in light of eternity - knowing that college-who-likes-who-drama is temporal and your relationships (with believers) are forever.
8. Know that you are being equipped FOR EVERY GOOD WORK through your education. Second Timothy 3:16 is the mantra of Bible colleges, but let's not forget the following verse reminds us: because Scripture is sufficient, we "may be complete, equipped for every good work."
9. Read that 700 page book on biblical interpretation and think to yourself, I may get to teach Scripture to women one day - I may get to lead a Bible study. Think, this is really important for me to know and understand so I can rightly divide the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15). So actually try to know and understand it.
10. College is NOT real life. Four years will fade into the distance faster than you know. Don't forget your family, who you'll have forever. Or your previous friends who could end up waltzing back into your life in some way. College is such a special - but unique - time in life, so understand that you'll not always have built in community. One day you'll have to go outside of yourself looking for it. That too, means you'll have to lay down your life. Get out of your comfort zone. But just because you'll have to go looking for it, doesn't mean that's it's not important (Colossians 3:15, 2 Timothy 2:22, Hebrews 10:25).
Just like college isn't real life, it's not forever either.
So remember to savor and not inhale.
And trust the Lord that he will teach and guide and direct in the exact way he desires.
And thank him that he redeems and reconciles in unbelievable, unimaginable ways.