2014 – The year when I’m supposed to start going to college.
College – Something that is supposed to train me for a career.
Career – Something that’s supposed to help me get more money.
Money – Something that is supposed to measure how successful I am in my life.
My Life – Something that is supposed to be approved of by everyone I come across.
At least, that’s what society and even a lot of church members seem to be telling me.
“Go to college,” they tell me. “College will help you figure out what you want to do with your life.”
“I already know what I want to do with my life,” I tell them, but they don’t listen.
“Okay, go to college; it’ll teach you important skills that will help you in your career so that you can hear a lot of money and be successful.”
“I don’t need money to be successful,” I try to explain to no avail.
“You won’t get very far in life without money,” they say as they look at me with pity in their eyes as they continue to explain why my “wisest decision” would be to go to college. At this point, I just nod and “mmhmm” politely, because it’s taking all I have to keep a pleasant smile on my face while they try to tell me that not going to college is stupid and naïve.
I just don’t understand why everyone takes it upon themselves to worry about something that is totally out of their control. If I want to “go nowhere fast” as they pretty much tell me I’m going to, that should be my decision. I shouldn’t have to explain myself to everyone, but because it’s a part of my testimony and I know God plans to use me somehow in some way through not going to college, I will explain myself and my motives to everyone who asks.
I’m not going to college. Yes, you read that correctly. I’m a 20 something high school graduate who isn’t going straight into the military and I’m choosing not to go to college either. Before you ask, no it’s not about the money. With FAFSA, I could probably get into college for next to nothing because of where I live and because I live with twelve siblings. I’m not going to college because I feel like I could be more effective in this world if I didn’t go to college. My goals in life are to be an author (I’m currently in the process of writing a book right now) and to inspire young women to admit they are hurting, confess their brokenness to God, and accept His offer to heal them. “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed and qualified me to preach the Gospel of good tidings to the meek, the poor, and afflicted; He has sent me to bind up and heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the [physical and spiritual] captives and the opening of the prison and of the eyes to those who are bound.”*
I spent all of 2013 and half of 2012 thinking, praying, reading the Bible, and reading other religions books in order to figure out what exactly it is that God wants me to do with my life. While I believe He would bless me if I chose to go to college, because He has given me a free will and will use me somehow in some way regardless of my decisions. I believe God will be able to use me most effectively if I spend 2014 writing my book and posting blog entries. I believe that for me to go to college would be wasteful, because I would be using the money that the government doesn’t have to get a diploma in studies that I do not have to have in order do what I feel God has called me to do. I can write a book and start a ministry without going to college. Why should I waste my time and the government’s money when I could be using my time for more important things and the government could be paying for another student to attend college? It just doesn’t make logical or spiritual sense to me.
I even went through all of the motions of applying for college (the University of Texas at Austin was my first choice), looking for majors, and ultimately ways to use my majors, but I was never at peace while I was doing any of that. Sure I was excited, because it was a new adventure that I would be able to embark on, but I was not at peace. However, I have been at peace with myself and with God since the very moment I accepted the fact that God didn’t want me to go to college. God has uses many tools to show us if we are following the best path in life; a spirit of peace is one of His greatest tools. If you’ve chosen to do something that doesn’t bring you a sense of peace and joy, then you should probably reevaluate, because God is probably trying to tell you something.
Money won’t make me successful. Everyone’s follow up question to whether or not I’m going to college is how I will earn money if I don’t go to college. I have a one word answer to that question, “God.” I know without a shadow of a doubt that God will provide for me as I choose to follow Him in my life. “Are not two little sparrows sold for a penny? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s leave (consent) and notice. But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, then; you are of more value than many sparrows.”** God cares about the birds of the sky enough to give them food and shelter, who am I to doubt that He will also take care of me and provide all that I need, whether that be food, clothes, shelter, or money? I am “a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”*** I do not possess the power to question God when it comes to providing for me. It is my job to trust Him and do as He has asked me to; it is not to worry about how He will provide for me.
While I believe the people who worry about how I will be successful if I don’t go to college and earn a lot of money ask with the best intentions, I also believe they are seriously missing the mark by measuring success with college, careers, and money. Success isn’t about where I do or don’t go to college; it’s not about what career I have; and it’s not about how much money I earn. Success is about living a life that is pleasing to God. Success is about leaving a mark in this world that will carry over into the next life when Jesus comes back to take us with Him to Heaven. My success isn’t measured by where I won’t go to college, what career I might have, or how much money I’ll make in the future. My success is measured by what God thinks of me and if other peoples’ opinions don’t match up with His opinion, then that’s okay, because I’m not looking for their approval! My only goal in life is to please God, love the people around me, and leave an impact on the world that will last long after I am gone!
I’ve been planning on writing a blog post about success since Christmas time and then I read the blog post below and was truly inspired to really right it. The fact that they probably sound really similar is pure coincidence, because Lauren’s words fit “my” definition of success perfectly!