A conversation just ended between myself and a former peer. We attended the same university, were in over half the same classes, had the same major and emphasis, and there was a day that has long since passed when we were very similar. I began my undergraduate work as an independent woman, ready to face the world and stand with my head held high as a confident career woman. I was one devoted to academia, diving into books and acquiring knowledge like a kid in a candy store. Not only was I a good school student, but I could spout of Scripture left and right for anyone asking for a reference. Does this all sound good so far? Maybe so, but here's the dilemma when I read over what I've just written and think back on such times...me.
All that is necessary is to look over past assignments and journals I devoted all my energy and life to and you can see a pretty good picture of idolatry. Such a word may cause some to squirm in their seats and maybe such uneasiness is good. Please don't hear me saying that books and writing in personal journals are bad things. I am one with a disposition for such outlets, and such are gifts from the Lord. But when the focus, the purpose, is not the very Giver of such gifts, we run into a serious problem. We work and study and work and seek and work and work and work and work...
"Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for He gives to His beloved sleep." ~Psalm 127:1-2
So the question I had to answer was not in regards to how I was holding up in my classes, but how my self-motivation was surviving. Such striving eats away at your very soul, and in such striving there is no life to be found. I can read renowned and well-loved authors all day only to lie awake in the dark of the night, staring at the ceiling, wondering why I feel so empty. I can proudly quote a Scripture reference for every issue you throw my way, but let's take a glimpse at Scripture itself for revelling in such knowledge of the text.
"You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to Me that you may have life." ~John 5:39-40
I am not saying that such idolatry is not still a very real struggle. As a matter of fact, the word "sponge" was referenced by the one person who probably knows me best regarding such struggle just this past week. Yes, sponge...that which is absorbed stays until it is squeezed so hard, there's nothing left to do but for everything to be released. I acquire all these things and instead of bringing forth joy and life, everything eventually comes to a head and I find myself sitting in utter exhaustion.
I want to be a good student and writer, yet He's telling me to be still. I want I want, I want...and my wants are so loud that I eventually lose my voice. This is when it becomes blatantly clear that I have put myself before Him, and that which I don't want to do I've inevitable done (Romans 7).
My confession is admitting that I do not continually seek Him above all things. In the light of His glory and grace, all achievements and striving are petty and lifeless. I am quickly approaching the transition from post-undergraduate to actually pursuing my masters degree. The Lord has already brought me to a place drastically different than where I was at during college. My prayer is that He be glorified in every detail of every assignment, in each paragraph I read. May I only dive into the academic world again so that I may continue drinking deeply from the fountain of grace. May He alone grant wisdom and understanding, as such can only come from Him.