Life outside of college has been odd. It’s a weird position I’m in: for the first time in roughly 19 years I’m not enrolled in school. No books to buy, no schedules to make, no classes to be late for, and (praise God) no homework. It’s done. But while the old life of school passes and the new life of the “real world” arrives, I’m finding myself face to face, strangely, with a test.
About this time last year I wrote a post about discipline and how it’s difficult to remain disciplined through the summer when a lot of boring stuff happens. I’m finding it to be a critical subject once again for the season I’m in now. But there’s an added element to it all this time around. Unlike last year, I’m completely done with school. That means that apart from my part-time job, I have nothing obligating me to get out of bed, to get out of the house, or to keep my walk with God strong. This time I have to discipline myself.
I’m reminded of when I first lived in Eugene as a student at UO. Back at my high school we had the same seven classes every day of the week. We also had a very limited number of elective classes; PE, journalism, and Spanish 3. There might have been others, but those are the ones I remember. Anyhow, I didn’t know how much I liked to write back then, so I didn’t choose journalism; instead I chose PE… several times over.
Beyond a weight-lifting class, I was enrolled in two other periods of PE. All the daily exercises we’d do in one class I would get to do all over again in the next class. Not only did I have something active on a daily basis, I had a double-dosage of it. Needless to say I was in pretty good shape. Things weren’t the same when I moved into the dorms.
I now had to make my own routines to keep in good shape. It’s much easier when you live right next to the Student Rec Center, but even so, I had to make it my own will to work out and exercise regularly. As the years went on, I played less and less basketball, football, baseball, and especially golf. My 6-pack turned into a fluffy 3-4 pack only when I flexed. And whenever I had to run anywhere, I was winded after a couple minutes. I’m not very good at keeping myself disciplined.
The same goes for walking with God. For whatever reason, my routine college classes kept my mind wondering about God while my weekly Cross Training, CCF, and Sunday morning meetings kept my heart active in engaging Him. Now that I’m moving on into that thick patch of fog called the future, I realize that I must set up my own routine that keeps me active – not just in the faith, but in life as well.
Some day (hopefully soon), I’ll have a regular 9-5 job. Honestly, I’m excited for it. I’ll be making money instead of borrowing it, I’ll have a reason to get out of bed before 10, and I’ll have the nights free to hang out with friends or gather with my church fellowship. But while I’m still waiting for that day to arrive, I must find something to do to keep me busy.
When I say “something” I don’t mean “anything that will consume my time.” I could watch movies all day, which would keep me busy, but it wouldn’t really produce much. What I mean is something that keeps me active and constructive. I need things to do that have a purpose behind them and that benefit someone else other than myself. For the summer, I’m interning at Calvary Fellowship; making videos for various ministries and helping develop a curriculum for the kid’s ministry. These are the kinds of things I’m talking about. And yet, I can still be doing a lot more.
No, I don’t want to become a workaholic whose entire existence within the church is just making videos, curriculums and the like; I want to have a spiritual and relational presence as well – someone who is also devoted to the fellowship on an emotional and spiritual level. But yet I want to make sure my hands are put to the plow. And that is not by any means easy.
This morning I played a couple worship songs for an athlete’s chapel near campus. We met in the Onyx House basement – where Cross Training used to meet way back in my freshman year. Today’s devotional, though short and simple, was something I needed to hear. Asif, the man who gave this morning’s devotional (not sure if that’s how you spell his name), highlighted Matthew 14:22-27 with the main point of “Playing it safe is dangerous.” As he said this morning, the world sits on the boat mocking all those who venture off the side in pursuit of Jesus. The question he asked us was what is it that we could do that no one else has? How can we walk on water?
What I’m mainly getting at is that in order to avoid “playing it safe,” I must now push myself beyond the limits I’ve known. School won’t help keep me disciplined and neither will a part-time job; I must walk on that water under my own compulsion. I must now do things not because I’m trying to receive a nice paycheck or a good grade, but because I’m seeking to remain active, productive, and fruitful with the life that God has given me. And as this past week as taught me, it demands self-discipline.