Here I am at the end of another semester. Three months more of life experience in my past and three months closer to the always ominous graduation date. This has been the one of the most insane, inspiring, challenging, educational, surprising, wonderful, awful semesters of my entire life.
People have always said that you learn so much about yourself sophomore year of college. But just like most of the things I was told as a freshman here at Lee, I completely disregarded that. Considering some of the things you are told your first year here it’s only natural that I disregarded this supposed truth. “You will find your soul mate in Gateway class” is just one of those truths, or, “If you actually pay attention in chapel God will call you to the ministry” or my personal favorite, “If you join a greek club you loose your individuality as a person and become a bimbo.” Since all of these statements (that I over exaggerated just a bit) turned out to simply be false notions, I also didn’t imagine any particular growth to occur in my life. I waived off the thought of change or introspection like I waive off the idea of doing homework on the weekend. This attitude led to an extremely hard fall when I got slapped in the face by the unpleasant fact of the matter: my life needed a serious tune up.
But how? why?
These are the two questions I kept asking God when he laid this thought heavily on my mind. I believe if He had audibly answered me it would’ve sounded something like this, “Well Ivey, I am going to strip away everything you love the most and remind you of the reason you live and breath…ME.” Harsh? Maybe a little bit, but I imagine it being said in a fatherly tone, which makes it less painful…okay not really. This situation is very similar to my childhood when my father talked to be before spanking me saying, “You know I’m doing this because I love you, right?” I always thought (sarcastically), wow you must love me a whole lot dad – since these spankings are practically daily. Needless to say, I was a pain in the butt as a child.
Obeying God has proven to be one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever experienced. You know how when you kick one bad habit, it’s usually replaced by another equally bad habit? Well I assumed this would be the case in this instance, just like so many others in my life. To my surprise this was completely incorrect. The thing God took from me wasn’t replaced by a disguised norm. He inspired a completely different disposition for me to arrive at. He increased my love for truth, knowledge, intellect, creativity, books, writing, music, deep conversation, good friends, alone time, coffee, hot tea, WWII, Asians and many more of the “small things” in life. I read a book, no, a paragraph that revolutionized my way of thinking completely.
“And there were always choices to make. Every day, every hour offered the opportunity to make a decision, a decision which determined whether you would or would not submit to those powers which threatened to rob you of your very self, your inner freedom; which determined whether or not you would become the plaything of circumstance, renouncing freedom and dignity to become molded into the form of a typical inmate.”
These words written by Viktor E. Frankl after enduring years in a Nazi concentration camp have haunted me ever since I read them. These aren’t the kind of haunting words that you run from, but the kind of words that draw you in and won’t leave you alone until you fulfill them.
A plaything of circumstance.
That sounds so incredibly pitiful to me. I don’t want to be blown through my life like a helpless leaf. Maybe I don’t have control of some of the situations I’m involved in, but I do have complete control of how I’m going to react to them.
All I can say to sum thing up is, God is faithful. I questioned if actively seeking God was even obtainable earlier this semester. He answered me in a way I would have never expected (should that even surprise me?). He told me to love knowledge; to love the things He has created. It’s showing me who He is and how I can be more like Him.