Hello, sweet friend! This study has been something that I have thought about, prayed about, and worked hard to get ready for (mentally, spiritually, and emotionally) and I am SO excited to finally get started.
This study is mostly geared toward incoming college students and preparing them for some of the issues and struggles they will face, as well as giving them tools and Scripture to help them through and come out closer to Jesus than ever before. While this study is going to be mostly written to the assumed audience of college students, that doesn't mean that the information or topics discussed aren't relevant in your everyday lives. The things discussed throughout this study are probably things that you face on a daily basis yourself. So grab a cup of coffee, your Bible, and get ready to come on this wild ride with me.
For those of you in my Sunday school class, welcome! Every single session will be written out and the notes will be here. I'd bookmark this page if I were you. You may have homework.
Now, to address the title of this extra special introduction! What on earth do I mean by, "This isn't what I wanted?"
The summer of my junior year of high school, I was told that I needed to be seriously looking at colleges and choosing a major. Me, a seventeen-year-old, making major decisions that would affect the rest of my life. At that time, I had just come out of a year-long song and dance with physical therapy. So, that summer I decided I was going to be a physical therapist. Then the fall came around and I was enrolled in anatomy and physiology so my PT plan changed very quickly.
Now, those of you who know me personally and have known me a while know that I love to doodle and paint and I'm halfway decent at lettering. So, I decided that I was going to be a graphic designer. I applied to schools with the intended major of graphic design. I was accepted and even competed for scholarships with the intended major.
Fast forward to November, Thanksgiving break exactly, and the Lord was eating at me big time. I couldn't get any sleep and I had absolutely no peace about my decision to go to school to pursue a degree in graphic design. I didn't tell anyone, not even my parents or my best friend, about my struggles. I wrestled alone. One night during Thanksgiving break, my parents sat me down to talk about the money aspect of my college of choice, how much money I would probably borrow, and how much money I would be making on average. They finished their talk by assuring me that if this is what I felt like God was calling me to, they would support me and cheer me on the whole way through but I really needed to sit back and consider whether or not this was truly God's plan for me.
I burst into tears. The fact of the matter was that I had made the decision, I was going to pursue what I wanted to do. Now, it's not that I wasn't asking God what His will was because I was. What was happening was I was saying, "God please show me what to do," and then moving on with my day. I didn't sit and listen to what He was saying. I had ignored God until the point where He knew He needed to get my attention and began to take drastic measures: He took my peace and took my sleep. As soon as I admitted what was going on in my heart and mind, the Lord gave me instant peace.
To be honest, I didn't know what I was going to do. I knew what I wasn't going to do. Physical therapy wasn't for me. Graphic design was a bust and the Lord said "no" to seminary very early on (that's another story for another day). I prayed and prayed and prayed and this time I listened. I had to humble myself and admit that I didn't have it all going on and didn't know what on earth I was doing and needed Him to show me.
Through His word and putting people in path, the Lord revealed to me that I was to go to school to be a teacher. I paid my deposit to Campbell University and emailed my advisor to change my major a week before orientation.
Here was my plan for CU going into orientation:
Elementary Education major
Graduate, teach second grade for one year
THEN start grad school
Grad degree: Elementary Education
What actually happened:
Elementary Education major
Middle Grades English Education extension
STRAIGHT into graduate school
Grad degree: Reading Instruction AND Community College Instruction with a minor in teaching English as a Second Language
Oh, by the way, I don't really want to teach second grade anymore. Middle school stole my heart, y'all.
Now tell me, how much of that was what I wanted initially? Very, very little. When God started changing the plan on me, I could've had two reactions:
1. Say, "God, no. This isn't the plan. You can't do this to me. I won't do it."
2. "God, if this is your will, change my heart and make it line up with yours."
To be honest, the first year of my college career, I was a hard and fast #1. BUT that summer, I realized that being go gung-ho about "the plan" was me not trusting God. I had preached at my girls in Sunday School and in my discipleship class at the time that they needed to trust God in all things and I wasn't doing it at all. So then, I slowly but surely changed to #2. It hasn't always been easy to step out in faith when I can't see the next two steps in front of me. Honestly, there's a lot of unknowns when you follow God in anything, not just college.
While this isn't exactly what I thought I wanted, this is exactly where I'm supposed to be: right in the center of His will. If your heart's desire is to follow God and to love and serve Him with all that you are, do not stress. I know it's easier said than done. To follow Him was my desire but initially, I wasn't doing that. BUT GOD. Man, He used whatever it took to bring me back to center, to focus my eyes back on Him, and to trust and follow Him. He'll do the same for you.
August of 2013 I started one of the greatest, most difficult adventures of my life and I'm so excited to share those tough lessons I learned with you. Hopefully, you'll learn from me and not make the same mistakes I did.
You are so loved and I am praying for each and every one of you as you seek the will of God in your lives.