I almost didn’t start. I almost let fear win.
When I began thinking about going back to school to finish my degree, the very idea of trying and potentially dropping out again was enough to hold me back. But I know what I want and I need a degree to get there, so I decided to consider my options.
I timidly looked at my top school of choice, my desire to attend there growing every time I visited their website. I was certain they wouldn’t accept me, but I applied anyway, just to see what would happen.
They accepted me.
So I filled out the papers, signed up for classes, and then completely freaked out because I just knew I was going to fail. I almost dropped out before the first day.
But friends kept cheering me on. They asked me when I was starting, asked about my classes and degree, and told me they were so excited for me to be doing this for myself. Their encouragement helped me start down a new path and tread into unknown territory.
Scared, unsure, and with a million reasons why I couldn’t, I began anyways. I aced the class. And then I aced another class. And then, I registered for the current semester, looked at the syllabus and almost dropped out of this class too, because I really, really knew I’d fail this time.
Last night I saw my grade on what was possibly the most difficult school paper I’ve ever written: A+ with comments of praise from my professor. I was stunned.
Today, I received this in the mail:
Instead of flunking out, I’ve been invited to join a National Leadership Society. Will I keep acing every class? That would be amazing but I don’t know the future.
What I do know is that my worth isn’t determined by a grade on a paper or by whether or not I receive an invitation to a particular club or honors society. Having a degree – or not – doesn’t make me any more or less valuable.
The affirmations I’ve received regarding school are nothing compared to what it will be like to hear the ultimate affirmation from Jesus, “Well done thy good and faithful servant… enter into the joy of your Lord” (Matthew 25:21 NKJV).
The recent tragedy of Kobe Bryant and others in the helicopter with him, or any news site, remind me that one day, every bit of what I’m working for – including this degree – will fade away. The only thing that will matter is whether or not I followed Christ and told people in my realm of influence about Him: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all” (Ecclesiastes 12:13 NKJV).
And if I had flunked out of school? Ultimately, the feelings of pain, failure, and rejection from that won’t matter either – they will be nothing compared to the pain, rejection, and eternal torment we’ll experience if we don’t make it to heaven:
“He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:7-8 NKJV).
Goals, hopes, dreams, and activities can feel so important, but ultimately, our earthly lives are unfathomably short compared to our eternal dwelling place: “you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (James 4:14 NKJV).
If your life isn’t right with God, I strongly encourage you to examine the evidence and choose to follow Christ because “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9 NKJV).