Just 21 … and with starry hopes and dreams in her eyes that all young people who believe they were made to conquer the world have. So many possible pathways lay before her, with so many worthy and needy causes to touch – which one would she go to first?
Such is the current status of my life. And the only reason I’ve been waffling back and forth between so many decisions on “what to do with my life” is because I feel caught between my dreams and reality. Between my idealistic, romantic version of life that I dream of, and the practical bounds of common sense that tell me otherwise.
Here is the optimistic, impractical, hypothetical, dreamer me: a vision comes to mind of ivy-covered brick buildings set on a rustic, tree-covered campus filled with bustling activity and the sights and sounds of a collegian lifestyle. Me, the academia lover, studying fervently away at a career that will encompass all my greatest passions in life – the arts. Journalism, theatre, music, film, scriptwriting … all of these are courses which I study with excitement and passion, discovering – at a Christ-centered, high-standard university – how to use my skills for Him and engage in what I love at the same time. Surely something He would want, right?
Yes, but at what price? asks the quiet, nagging voice in the back of my mind. For I know all too well the pretty penny required to attend such schools – and that hardly anyone achieves that “world-class education” without spending a large portion of their lives paying it off. And when God has called me to use my money wisely, in a way which glorifies Him, I can’t justify that kind of debt, even it was to go to a school that glorifies Him.
And so … practical Jane Smith steps in with her prim and modest ways, and shakes her head at such dreams. They will never be yours, she says matter-of-factly, so why don’t you just give up such nonsense, go to a state university nearby, and become a schoolteacher? I sigh at such logic – knowing all too well, it’s the most practical. I wouldn’t mind being a schoolteacher – I love children, and I love school after all. But it just doesn’t seem to hold a candle to the exciting, dashing pursuits of media influence and involvement in the arts at a prestigious university.
It may be, though, that I’m desiring it for all the wrong reasons, and that’s why God has said no. Could I be lusting after pretty things – titles and fine-sounding descriptions and illusions of lovely experiences? If that were really the life that He called me to, don’t you think He would have made a way to afford it? There will always be those things calling to me in life – the lifestyle that seems so easy and promising and attractive. But perhaps God has other things He wants to teach me …
In the end, probably I’m longing after having two separate lives – one of excitement and influence in the culture around me through the arts, devoting my life to theatre/film/music, etc … and the other, a quiet, ordinary life of raising a family, and influencing the world through raising up the next generation. And because I can’t have both, I think I know the one to which God has ultimately called me. Though it will be sad to cast my other dreams aside, I need to follow His highest calling for me, and do what He wishes above all else. The star-studded dreams only last so long, you know … best to keep my head back in reality. And who knows? He just might bring a bit of the other into my life as well someday … I’ll just have to keep trusting and following Him.
6 thoughts on “The Hallowed Halls of Learning”
Oh Lydia, you sum up everything so nicely in words! I only wish I could do the same. I know God has great plans for you (if only those plans involved moving over here, I would be happy!) I can’t wait to see how your life will unfold! Love ya, Lyds!
Thank you, Lydia, for your words. I think these are words that everyone would do well to ponder, for I believe that many of us, myself included, have these wonderful dreams, but when it comes to reality, the dreams just don’t seem to come to fruition. Lately I’ve been realizing how true it is that God will direct our steps and take us in the paths that He desires us to follow. I love hearing stories about how God does that with different people in different ways. I think, for example, of a young man I know, who had sports scholarships offered him to many universities, and then he received an injury that made it impossible for him to follow the course he had dreamed out for himself. However, through his injury and recovery, he discovered a deep interest in the field of physical therapy. Who knows what God has for his future, but no matter what plans we make, God will direct our paths, and true fulfillment in life comes from trusting God completely, knowing that His way is indeed best.
Thank you both so much, Kelsey and Joy! I appreciate your encouraging words greatly. It is exciting to see the path that God has planned out for me, and where He will take me in life. I will be sure to keep you both updated! >>And just so you know, Kelsey, I think you “sum up everything in words” very nicely too! 🙂 I love reading your blog posts and the lovely way you have of describing the happenings in your life. Love you dearly!! (And you too Joy! Can’t wait to read your blog now!)
Lydia, I have wondered the same things. Probably most people don’t get to lead that dream life they would like to though. Because there are usually high risks and costs with attempting those dreams. Like the high price of a tuition with no guarantee of the high paying job that comes along with it. I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that I cannot have my “dream” job that I would absolutely love. Instead, I have my degree in something practical, but don’t even use that because God has me staying at home raising my beautiful boys right now. And I know it’s the right thing and it’s fulfilling to know that, but part of me does so yearn to be an accomplished designer of homes. Ah well. I pray that God will use me to raise boys that will grow to be godly men and that I will have a cheerful (not regretful) attitdue all the while.
At times the shattering of a dream is prevention of a nightmare. I admit a little dramatic, yet there is some truth in the statement! >>I didn’t go to a Christ centered university. With that being said, from my experience academia almost becomes a game. Being able to study and read whatever I want in my own free time has been much more profitable. But of course I was going to a secular university, so take that with a grain of salt.>>FWIW, there is always the possibility of impacting the culture while raising a family at the same time! But yeah, family should come first, and as such influence the culture in that way.>>Good writing Lydia :-). I bet you’ve come a long way since that English class we were in way back when lol.
Valerie – I know exactly what you mean … we kind of talked about this the other day, but I know how difficult it is. Just don’t give up, because you just never know how God will end up using things in your life that you thought were not so exciting [that’s the advice that I need to heed right now!].>>And thanks, Caleb, for your thoughts! I appreciate them. As I was sharing with a friend recently, God may end up using me in a greater way at a secular university than at a Christian one … I just have to trust that His plans are better than my own! Haha … yes, I do hope that my writing has improved a bit since sophomore English papers on abortion!! :] It’s something I work at every day …