So here I am, at the end of yet another semester in college. It’s ironically frustrating how right all my parents’ friends were when they told me before I left for college, “Enjoy it, because time flies.” Sure enough, it has flown. And here I am, standing at the beginning of the summer before my senior year, wondering what the heck just happened in the past 8 or so months.
One of the things I have found to be true of myself is that I process things much better when I try to write them down and put them into words. So that’s what this post is: a reflection on the past year of school, and ultimately, a reflection on the most important decision I made this school year.
You might be asking yourself right about now, “Self, what was the most important decision he made this school year? It sounds pretty important, important enough to write a whole blog post about it. I wish he would just get to the point.” Sadly, I’m going to dance around the point a bit, but if you really do insist, feel free to scroll to the bottom of the page. If not, stick with me and hear what exactly has been going on in the life of Seth Brown the past school year.
Let me preface the rest of this post by explaining some ideas I’ve been mulling over this past school year, and hopefully doing so will lend some light to the subject matter. Our time is a resource that we can invest, just like money; however, time is limited which makes it that much more valuable. There are many bad things that we can invest our time in. The obvious: drugs, crime, so on and so forth (dare I also add Netflix bingeing?). I don’t feel a need to explain those in depth. There are some good things we can invest our time in, such as training for a marathon, reading books, helping plan a service event, and other such things. These are certainly good things to invest in, and can lead to meaningful relationships and outcomes. That being said, there are only a few great things we can invest our time in each year, and it would behoove all of us to determine the difference between the good and great.
Now here’s the tricky part that I have had to reconcile in my own life: How do you actually determine the difference between a good thing, and a great thing? Bad things are easy to spot and avoid. Saying yes to too many good things, though, can sap your strength, energy and passion for the great things. The biggest lesson I still need to figure out is learning to say no to good things, so that I can say yes to the great things. With that being said, here are some good things I said yes to this past school year.
Some of the readers of this blog may be aware that I played soccer my first two years in college. Well, I determined after my sophomore year that I wanted to take a break, and so I did. Near the middle of last semester, some of my teammates approached me and asked if I would consider rejoining the soccer team, due to all the injuries the team had sustained through the season. After much consideration, I said, “What the heck? Why not? I’ll do it.” I said yes to the soccer team, and yes to a good thing. Rejoining the soccer team, however, was not the most important decision I made this school year.
At Oklahoma Christian University, we have these things called Social Clubs. Essentially, they’re the equivalent of fraternities and sororities on a Christian campus. I joined the men of Kappa Sigma Tau right around the time I said yes to playing soccer. I gained a new friend group, got the opportunity to play in some intramural sports, and became more involved on campus; however, joining Kappa Sigma Tau was not the most important decision I made this school year.
After much consideration, I’ve decided to include this next item. During the past school year, I began dating a friend of mine, Kaylee Eubank. Committing to a dating relationship was a good thing, and it may turn into a great thing. After much reflection however, beginning a dating relationship with Kaylee, and I believe she would agree with me on this, was not the most important decision I made this school year.
“Wow, Seth, you’re getting pretty serious with this whole most-important-decision-thing, aren’t you?” I would respond to our imaginary friend’s inquiry affirmatively. Yes, I’m taking this decision seriously, because I believe it’s vastly important, and I’ve seen how much this decision has changed my life. So here it is…
The most important decision I made this semester was becoming actively involved in the local church. Why do I think so exactly? I could get into the theological reasons why Christians should be involved in the local church, but that’s not where I want to go. Saying yes to the local church was a great thing, perhaps the best thing I’ve said yes to during my time in college. So what was it about the local church that made getting involved in it a great thing?
- I was surrounded by a friend group who was wholly oriented toward Christ and his glory.
Without actually citing any sources, research (and common sense) tells us that you become like those who you spend your time with. If you are trying to be more like Christ, find a group of people who are likewise desperately striving after Christ, and spend time with them. Where can you find such groups of people? At the local church of course.
- I was put on local mission.
When you’re in college, so many things yell for your attention. It is so, so easy to lose sight of what actually matters. This semester I led a bible study in connection with my church. Fulfilling local mission by leading others into opportunities for faith reminded me of what was most important during this particular season of my life.
- I found a community that encouraged and refreshed me with every conversation.
College is really hard sometimes, and we all need encouragement from time to time. Many of you might know that I’m an introvert, and would typically prefer to spend my time in coffee shops writing blog posts. However, when I’m in the right community, I become alive. In my lifetime, I’ve found only two communities that really make me come alive, my friends at Pine Cove, and the college ministry at my church.
I cannot stress enough the importance of getting involved in the local church during your college years. We try to convince ourselves that we don’t have time to go to that Wednesday night service, or that Sunday morning sermon, or even on that mission trip over spring break. We say that there’s always next week, or next year. While that may be true, don’t let yourself be tricked into missing out on one of the chief institutions that God uses to sanctify us! Yes, you’ll have to sacrifice time. Yes, you may have to turn that assignment in late. But the only thing I have regretted when it comes to being involved in church, are the times I skipped out. Investing your time in the local church is a great thing. And when I say investing, I mean a type of sacrificial investment that shows how much you truly care for the church and its members. (Sidenote: I’m not perfect in this, and I need to continually work on sacrificial investing.)
If you don’t have a local church, and you happen to live in the area, let me know! I would love to connect you to the community I’m currently in. If you already are involved in the local church, then awesome! Continue to seek out ways your church can use you specifically, with all of the gifts and talents God has given you.
I’ll end with this: Don’t let this post become a guilt-trip for you! I’m not writing this to shame you if you didn’t go to church this semester, or haven’t for the past year. I’m writing this to let you know of the joy of being involved in a community who is for Christ, and consequently, who is for you as an individual! If you’ve had a bad experience with church, I’d love to talk about it with you. I would hate to see one bad church get in the way of a person being able to experience life-giving community.
Finally, let’s remember what Ephesians 5 says about Christ and the church: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.”
I don’t know about you, but I want to be a part of that church, the church that Christ is cleansing and sanctifying to ultimately present to himself! Remember, in the end, it’s not about us; it’s about Christ!
As always, I appreciate feedback!