The unanticipated track [Thursday, Jan. 25, 2007, 5:03 pm]
Three years ago, I was mentally all set to attend a Christian college for four years, get a nice little degree, make friends, and preferably get a ring by senior year. Looking back on it now, I had a very narrow focus on things, although I certainly understand why that was the case, and I don't blame myself at all for wanting the things that I did.
When my hopes didn't work out, I was kinda bummed at first, and wondered what I could possibly gain from attending a school that taught all kinds of things I didn't agree with.
I don't know what would have happened if I had done things exactly as I first wanted to. Maybe my life would have turned out a lot differently than it is now. It's not for me to say. And though I'm sure that a conservative Christian college is the right choice for many people, I can say now that I'm glad I didn't go to one.
This isn't exactly one of those, "oh, I get it now" moments. I don't know exactly "why" things happen the way they do - but it's enough for me to know that there is indeed a purpose, and for that I should be glad. Being given the privilege of seeing what some of the purposes may be is just an occasional bonus. I've just been thinking about this lately, as a result of several conversations I've had with different people over the past few days.
I've seen that there are good things about not constantly existing in a Christian bubble, which has in turn shown me the need for strong Christian community amidst worldly influences - something I might not have really understood otherwise.
I've realized how much harder it can be to have faith when the people you live with don't share it. I've met and spent time with people that I probably would have avoided three years ago, and I've become a little less afraid of doing so. I've realized that I was rather ignorant about some things before. Not that my basic beliefs were wrong, but a lot of my attitudes were not correct, or not based on correct assumptions.
I've learned that simply staying away from people who do things I don't agree with isn't going to help them (or me) at all. Sometimes just being the different one is the only place to start. I should spend time with all "kinds" of people. That doesn't mean that I engage in all the same activities or use the same language that some of them do.
I'm also realizing what a long way I have to go, but that ultimately it's not really about me. Despite my tendency to be a loner, I am part of something so much more powerful than I am capable of comprehending, whether I like it or not. And I am at USM for a reason. It's not about "finding myself" or becoming "the person that I want to be."
I have a firmer grasp on what I believe and why. But it's kinda scary to realize that that's only the beginning. My beliefs will do a lot for me, but they really don't do much for anyone else unless I become more of an influence in people's lives. I'm trying to start with those around me. But of course, I fail, let opportunities slip, and in general have a very long way to go.
At least I'm trying to be realistic about things. I'm so glad God knows what he's doing.
Vitality - Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2009