Most people have their timetables empty when they come into university. Slowly with every fair that they go to, whether it is faculty events fairs, CCA fairs, sports fairs, etc., it starts filling up, first the weeknights, then the Saturdays and Sundays (perhaps) and then the slots where they don’t have lectures, and it gets more and more. Not everyone does this, but mostly, people prioritize academics, social life, and some, sleep. As a Christian student, we all know in the back of our minds that we come to college, wanting to first pull ourselves through as well as bring Christ to those around us, (some of us of course have this conviction deeper than others).
So we enter school (me included) and I started out Year 1 with the vision for myself that I would enjoy everything I do and do it all to the glory of God, for Him, not for myself. Sooner or later, this changed as I found that other things seemed to have taken over the top of the priority list, my next social gathering beckoned while church events and quiet time took a backseat. At first my conscience was slightly disturbed, but I suppressed it, telling myself I would get my priorities in order when it was possible and that now was not the time. This repeated itself all semester and by the end of semester 1, I was burnt out and tired, happy but perhaps superficially.
I thought through this in semester 2 as well as in Year 2 Sem 1 and as I entered my second academic year I realised what a failure I’d been because I put God together with my to do list. Perhaps it was not that I did not prioritize Him, but that He was just another thing to tick off the list. In that sense it was as though if I could not finish the task, I could always push it to the next day or the day after. By His grace I repented of this in Year 2 and here are therefore some lessons I learnt.
- God is not part of your priority list, He should be independent of it
God should be ruling your to do list. How I arrange what I need to do for the day, week and month should be regulated by my attitude towards God. This means that we should allocate time to seek Him, quiet time in the mornings or nights, and not do it only when it is convenient for us to do so. If He really comes first, other things can wait.
- We are often stressed that we cannot finish everything we have to do.
That’s a problem I face all the time and still do. I figured somewhere along the way that the reason why I face this problem is because I never truly and fully believed that God is the God of the impossible. If I said He is Who He is then I should believe it – and that means to trust that if I go for that prayer meeting instead of allocating that two-hour slot to finish another 500 words of my essay, He will help me to complete it. I say this not meaning that we should leave our work to the last minute and expect Him to complete it for us, but that if perhaps practically, we are conflicted whether to go for a church meeting or do a piece of work instead, try putting Him first, try having faith in Him, and He promised He will be faithful and never fail us.
- Do all things not half-heartedly but with all that we have, not for ourselves, but for Him.
God tells us that He wants us to do everything we do with our whole heart. Whether it be relationships with people or academics, or any other task we sign up to do, we should not do it with a nonchalant attitude. This is because we are the living testimonies for Christ and for the Christian values (that we possibly claim to uphold). Furthermore, the way we carry ourselves with relation to work also is a way to share the gospel – the best proof is our lives and our attitude toward work. The Bible says we should do everything as unto God and not to men.
- Our standard should therefore be not men’s standard but God’s.
In a society where GPA/CAP/any form of academic grading seems to take the priority, determining our future and life, it is hard to look for anything outside that box. It is essential to always remind ourselves that we belong to Christ and that God is the ONLY one whose opinion matters. Ultimately, if we have done our best, we leave the result to God. At the same time, when failures come our way, it may be that God wants to teach us lessons through it and in a way, no one’s expectations and standards can impact and affect us to a really great extent because He is the most powerful God. We serve a God who controls all the world, do we believe that our grades and our lives are in His hand too? So, all the time, but especially when we feel that we are thrashed because we have not been able to live up to the expectations of the world, ourselves, family, anyone else for that matter, remember that it is God’s expectations and His favour and love toward us that count.
I hope that as Year 2 Sem 2 starts, I will remember these lessons and that we all together will become a blessing to someone else, to many others :’).