In late June, I had a startling realization. As I cruised down highway 61 towards my Freshmen Orientation in St. Louis, it finally dawned on me that this whole college thing was actually happening. I had been preparing for this moment for almost three years--I started my college search as a Sophomore--visiting campuses, writing letters, studying for standardized tests, and finally figuring out how to shoulder the financial burden. However, somewhere in all of my preparation, I had missed the forest for the trees. I had been so concerned with finishing out high school strong and ensuring that I had my future plans solidified, that I managed to forget what I was working toward. So, after a year of nonchalance at the prospect of coming change, I finally began to freak out.
I’m not entirely sure what kept me from seeing the truth sooner. Perhaps it was distraction from a busy schedule, or the fact that since life had always stayed basically the same I assumed it would continue to, but, for some reason, I found myself shocked at the notion of change. Now, I have always been called an old soul, and part of that is that I have always been content with things in my life staying as they are. Perhaps that could be considered a character flaw, but in my defense, I have good reason to shun change: I’m comfortable. I have experienced a wonderful childhood. My parents have given me all that a child could ever desire: love, safety, food (I’m especially fond of the seemingly free and endless food selection), and a home. Furthermore, small town life had been kind to me. Through God’s favor, hard work, or a combination of both, I had always found fulfillment in the activities I chose to pursue. Now, who in their right mind would wish to move on from such a life? “Not I,” I thought.
As I drove along, I finally confronted an issue that I had been avoiding. I was fearful of what was to come. I was fearful to live apart from my family. I was fearful of the academic pressure that defines WashU. I was fearful of not finding a social niche in the very diverse and largely secular student body. I was fearful of the responsibility that I knew it was time for me to accept over my own well-being, as well as my contributions to society. Simply put: I was afraid of giving up my childhood to become a man.
I spent the entirety of the drive and the following weekend worrying over these things and feeling a general sense of self-pity that time should be so cruel as to put an end to good things. It wasn’t until the next week, that I began to allow myself to see the God’s truth in the matter. As I was counseling at a leadership camp in Monticello--very much off the grid (I even wrote actual paper letters as my fastest way to contact people)--I was given much opportunity to lean on God for guidance, and then much time to reflect on it. It was such a simple kind of surrender. I had to accept that I was unable to be the kind of counselor that God wanted me to be without his perfect help. I didn’t even see a connection to my emotional state at the time, but I was quickly forced to see that I had forgotten an essential truth that has upheld me all my life: God always provides. As I enjoyed his counsel and basked in his presence, I felt all of my worries, fears, and sorrows melt away, replaced by a sense of excitement--urgency to pursue my calling in this world which involves going to college, growing up, and all of that which I had been dreading.
My lesson was this: God calls us out of our comfortable situations in order to use us in powerful ways. If we can accept that He is our provider, and that our true home is in Him, we can find peace while facing formerly daunting obstacles. This is something I have heard all my life, yet I find myself constantly needing reminded of it.