When I was younger, I was incredibly ambitious.
It drove me insane when girls I knew got married straight out of college, had babies, and settled down to be stay-at-home moms who homeschooled their kids. I vowed never to become that woman.
I was determined to go to a academically prominant college, earn a degree, and begin an illustrious career. I wanted to do things with my life–I wanted to go places, to meet people, to gain prestige and success.
Although I’ve always maintained high academic standards, my freshman year of college is when everything began to change. That year, I found myself pursuing my Christian faith more than anything else in my life. As the years have gone by, my eyes have gradually shifted from my ambitions to the sheer joy of knowing Christ.
My relationship with Jesus Christ has taken over my life. Every part of who I am has been affected. My friendships, relationships, on-campus involvement, grades, and even what i want to do with my life has changed dramatically from freshman to senior year. Everything else in life is meaningless compared to knowing and being known by Him. His love is incredible.
When I came into this school year, I dreaded everything. I wrote several posts (Looking ahead and Return to School) expressing my dissatisfaction. I think the reason I was so apprehensive was because last year was incredibly challenging. I spent half the year across the world from everyone I loved and the other half learning that, because of my time abroad, I no longer fit with the people I loved in the same way. It was a year of learning, a year of lonliness, a year of great frustration. Part of me was scared that this year would be the same.
But the thing is, God is good. He sees me and knows me. He understands where I was at and knew exactly how to provide for me. No, He didn’t bring me close friends to replace the ones I have lost. But He gave me more of Himself. People cannot fill the needs of my soul, but He can. Not only does He fill me, love me, and provide for me, but He wants to be known by me. He desires intimacy with me, deep closeness. And, as I’ve responded to that over the past few months, I find myself falling more and more in love with Him. There’s a line in a Christmas song that goes, “Hearts unfurl like flowers before Thee / opening to the sun above”. That’s me. And oh, it’s so beautiful.
Not only has God been providing for me personally, He brought me to an incredible Bible study where I am challenged like I haven’t been in years. There are times when I feel like I know everything there is to know about God, faith, and the Bible. But through this Bible study, God has been teaching me to let go of everything I think I know and know Him. Every week, I walk away with a new insight on His goodness and am left breathless. It’s been so, so wonderful and my entire faith mindset has shifted dramatically.
It’s scary, letting go of yourself and trusting something you do not see. But, oh my goodness, it’s beautiful. There’s nothing like it in the world. The greatest pleasures in life pale in comparison to the goodness of knowing God.
In the book of Philippians, Paul has similar words:
“But whatever gain I had, I counted it as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that comes by faith.” Philippians 3:7-9
I’m not quite to the level of Paul yet. I haven’t dropped every material thing, nor have I experienced any great suffering. But the spirit behind the verses, the same deep longing and affection for Christ resonates in my heart.
I realize this is a bit different from my usual posts, but the need to express these things in words have been bubbling up in my heart for quite a while. Here they finally are.