Transitions: Learning to Trust God Through College Applications

transitions college apps

Over the past year or so, I’ve been going through one of the most notorious experiences of the high school years: college applications.

Those two words strike terror into the souls of teenagers everywhere. But today, I’m here to say that I have survived the process. I know where I am going to college, and I have seen God work through the entire process in an incredible way.

You may remember that I wrote a post about being deferred from Princeton back in December. I talked about how much I wanted to go there, but how God was telling me that I needed to learn to trust him first.

Here’s the rest of the story:

After that deferral came, I started looking at other options. There was this other school I had been considering, a very small Christian school in the heart of the South, that had a great dance program. In January, I headed down to that school with my dad, to visit and audition.

And I loved it.

Then things began to fall into place. I was offered a large academic scholarship. I met a super sweet girl at the audition who was willing to be roommates. I received an acceptance letter from the dance department, which was probably one of the most exciting days of my life. Not only that, but the dance department offered me a scholarship too.

Suddenly the prospect of being rejected from Princeton didn’t seem so bad. So when the rejection came, I didn’t even care anymore. I had found my dream school on that tiny Southern campus, and they had accepted me. Ultimately, it was a decision I barely even had to think about.

Looking back, I can see God’s timing so clearly.

In December, my desire to go to Princeton was so strong that a rejection would have been devastating. The deferral, while not what I wanted, kept my hope and my spirits up. Before I would be okay with a rejection from my supposed dream school, I needed to fall in love with another school, see that there was a better option, and feel God’s guidance leading me there.

One of my friends said it best. I was telling her about the weekend I spent at Princeton, the amazing time I had talking to really smart people about really interesting things. At the time, I thought that meant I wanted to go to college there. But she said, “You know, maybe it was just meant to be a weekend.”

It was an amazing weekend. I will always cherish those memories. But it was only that, a weekend, and I’m okay with that. Going to college there? That wasn’t the best path for me, and I’m beyond excited to be going where I’m going. It’s not prestigious or well-known. But that’s okay, because it’s the right school for me.

So for those of you who are just beginning this process: it’s going to be okay.

It’s not really as hard as everyone makes it sound, and God will see you through.

I’ll repeat what I said in my Princeton post: His plans, they are always better than anything we could ever imagine. I’ve seen that come so completely true in my own life, and I pray that you will see it happen in yours as well. Whether it’s college, a job, a relationship, or anything else that comes with growing up, He’s got it. Just trust.

He saw me through. I’m almost a college student now, and that’s the most exciting thing ever.

love, grace

Have you gone through this process yet? What plans do you have for after high school? How have you seen God work His purposes in your life? Share in the comments! 

Read more:

Why Growing Up is a Good Thing

When You Don’t Know Your Purpose (and the Future Seems a Scary Thing)

God Is In Control (Even When the World Goes Mad)

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Why the Arts Are a Valid Career Path for Christians

arts career

“It’s impossible to make money doing that.” 

“How on earth are you going to support yourself?”

“Maybe you should find a real job.”

Those are all reactions that many young people get when they express their dreams to be a writer, or an actor, or a dancer, or any other kind of artist And sadly, this happens in both secular and Christian circles.

But this is such a problematic way of thinking. If God gives us talents, He wants us to use them for His glory. Shouldn’t the church be encouraging that? God gave that girl a passion for singing, and He doesn’t want to see it wasted. He gave that guy the ability to paint beautifully, and there are so many ways that talent can be used. Telling someone to let go of their God-given passion and ability (whether that’s the arts or something else) in order to get a job that will earn them more money is not Biblical or healthy.

Because the Christian life is not about money. The Christian life is about bringing glory to God with whatever we choose to do. For the Christian, choosing a job should be about several things: What am I good at? What do I enjoy doing? What will make the most impact for the kingdom? What will allow me to continue pursuing God first and foremost in my life?

It should not, ever, be solely based on how much money we will make.

Here’s the thing, too: the arts are not nearly as unrealistic a career path as everyone makes it sound. With the Internet, it’s easier than ever to create a platform, gain a following, and reach people with the things you create. You might not ever be a celebrity, but so many people are finding small success through YouTube or blogging or self-publishing. You don’t have to reach millions of people; you just have to faithfully use your gift and trust that God will cause it to have an impact somewhere.

This is not to say that everyone should go quit their jobs. This is not a call to be irresponsible. We should make wise life choices that allow us to live responsibly and support ourselves, but we can trust God to take care of us, and we can trust that He has a plan for our lives. By having that trust, we can step out in faith and use our gifts if that is what we feel He is calling us to.

For the artist, that could look like getting a part-time job to ensure a little bit of income, and then devoting the rest of your time to creating. It could mean intensively saving money for a year or two, making a solid budget, and only then quitting your job and dedicating yourself to the arts full-time. Whatever you choose to do, do it prayerfully, seeking God’s will. It might be hard. It will take perserverance and faith. But why do we always look for the job that will make us the most money with the least work? If something is hard, that means it will be worthwhile in the end. If something is disappointing for a while, the success will be all the sweeter.

And ultimately, the world’s vision of success is fundamentally flawed. We can’t let it blind us to what God cares about. If your writing causes one person to come to faith, that is success. If your song heals one person’s heart after a terrible tragedy, that is success. Those are the successes that bring glory to God. And those are the successes that the world needs more of.

Seeking to spend your life using your gifts for God’s glory is not stupid. It’s not reckless. It is, in fact, what we are designed to do.

Even if your gifts aren’t considered a “real job”.

 

Have you ever had people say things like this to you about your passions? How do you plan to use your gifts to glorify God, both now and in the future? Share in the comments! 

love, grace

Read more:

Why Christians Should Care About the Arts

So I Got Deferred from Princeton This Week.

When You Don’t Know Your Purpose (and the Future Seems a Scary Thing)

When You Don’t Know Your Purpose (and the Future Seems a Scary Thing)

During our teenage years, several big questions loom on the horizon, hovering at the edge of our mind and causing stress and worry and fear when we least expect it:

What are we going to do with the rest of our lives?

Who will we become as adults?

What will our future look like?

What is our purpose on this earth?

We’ve already talked about how how stressful the teen years can be and how to live each day one step at a time. But even if you have your daily life under control, these big questions remain. And they can inspire more terror than any test, project, jam-packed day, or sleepless night we will ever experience.

There’s something we have to remember, when we face these questions and the doubt and fear that rise up within us at the thought of the future.

We already know our main purpose in this life. 

You don’t have to think about it at all. You don’t have to worry, plan, or spend hours trying to “find yourself”. As a Christian, your purpose is clear as day.

It is to know God and to make Him known. 

This will take many forms, look a little bit different for everyone. But ultimately, the goal of every Christian life is the same. It doesn’t matter how you go about it; the goal is God’s glory.

One of your purposes in the world is to know God, to seek a relationship with him above everything else.

To spend time with Him, to learn His Word and the power of prayer.

To seek Him in your daily tasks and duties and do everything for His glory.

To experience His life-changing love and mercy and grace, to accept the death Christ died for you and let that love overflow in your heart and overtake every sin and shame that hides there.

Your other purpose is to make God known, to proclaim Him to the world.

To spread the love of God to all the people you interact with, to devote time to those around you.

To share the gospel with the unbelievers you come across, to support the spreading of the gospel around the world.

To live in such a way that no one can see you and not believe that God is real, to live with a heart overflowing with love and gratitude and praise that makes everyone want to believe.

These are your callings, both now and in the future. They will not change when you graduate, when you get a job, when you get married. The college and major and job you choose are nowhere near as important as the way you use those things to God’s glory; no matter where you end up in life, you can fulfill these two purposes.

You don’t have to find your own identity and meaning in life. They have been given to you. Trust in that.

love, grace