Yesterday marked exactly one year after being accepted into the College of William & Mary. I can still remember sitting in my chair, reading the email, looking up at my dad, and sobbing. I can still feel the emotion of that night – mentally and physically exhausted from my trip to Liberia (this was just 4 days after I returned), I think I was feeling a bit more emotional than usual. I was overwhelmed by God’s love and faithfulness.
Looking back now, a year later and a semester in, I can see God’s faithfulness even more clearly. In the months after my admissions letter and even in the first weeks of school, I had moments where I doubted my decision. I saw friends at other schools and missed the community. I wondered “what if?” a lot. But I’ve felt God confirming my decision. And most days I still walk around campus in awe of the place I get to study and live.
I see God’s purpose in leading me here. I’m in love with my school. I think it’s wonderful. And I want to share the love! I get so excited seeing the tour groups on campus, and I love showing people around my “home.” But I’m not about to say that it’s the only choice—for me, or for anyone else. I can honestly say that I would have been happy at other schools.
That’s the wonderful thing about God’s will: there’s not only ONE right answer. There are a lot of good answers. God gives us options. He wants us to make decisions, and He wants to see us happy. The right answer isn’t always the hard or unpleasant one either. Oh heck no. I think as Christians we get the misconception that we are traveling down a thin and rocky pathway with cliffs on both sides, having to carefully navigate so we don’t fall off the plain of “God’s will.” I believe that image is a lie Satan has planted to distract us. We get so focused on walking along the “straight and narrow path” that we lose sight of people. We lose sight of joy. We lose sight of LIFE. And somehow we lose ourselves in the process.
“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” – John 10:10, ESV
I went to a new church this morning (Emily and I are still searching for a church home here in Williamsburg), and during the worship service the pastor said, “God’s will is that His goodness follows you all of your days.”
His words immediately made me think back to when I was deciding on a college. With any decision there comes a great fear: Will I make the wrong decision? Through my own search and the wisdom of others, I came to believe that there isn’t necessarily a wrong decision, unless it is one that is from or leads to sin. As long as we are following God, He will bless us.
This doesn’t mean that life is going to be simple or easy or happy (this is something I’ve had to grapple with). We will go through struggles and trials. People will let us down. Difficult and painful things will happen. God is preparing us for something greater. We often can’t see exactly what His plan is in the midst of the trial, but He is preparing us.
Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing. – James 1:2-4, HSCB
This (above) is the preparation. Yet sometimes we get so consumed with the preparation that we believe that is all God has for us. Preparation is important, but God’s preparation is not His promise. God’s promise is that we will have life abundantly. We are called to walk a set apart life, but we are not called to walk in discouragement and pain. God has LIFE on the road for us, not just work. We will be prosperous, but we have to go through the preparation stages first.
Now back to God’s will. (I needed to diverge to emphasize that life in God’s will is not perfect.) So, an abundant life, huh? What about all the rules? Yes, God gives us clear commands. The Bible is full of instructions that are part of God’s will. But God has shown us a way to live because living His way leads to an abundant life. He wants to give us the desires of our heart. He delights in seeing His children enjoying the life that He created.
Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. — Psalm 37:4-5, ESV
As we follow God, our desires will align with His, and then… we are living in God’s will! What a beautiful promise! We don’t have to worry about walking a thin line between the “right decision” and the “wrong decision.” All we have to worry about is committing our life to God and living a life that honors Him. We can make decisions that are going to make us happy (such as choosing a college or a major), and He’s going to take care of the rest.
So to my Early Decision seniors (who just got their decisions on Friday), congrats!! And to those seniors who are still applying and deciding, don’t worry. There’s so much pressure to pick the perfect school. Let me tell you straight up, there is no perfect school. But as long as you hold tight to God’s promises and live according to His Word, He will bless you richly and you will prosper.
Remember, God’s will is that His goodness follows you each and every day. Now go, and live abundantly!