Around this time of the semester is when most people begin to really lose their minds. Working on assignments well into the wee hours of the morning, living on coffee, Edy’s butter pecan ice-cream, and the reward of deep sleep tends to wear on a person. I understand now why being a full time college student is often referred to as an occupation.
I stayed up until two in the morning working on homework, talking to Bree, and thinking. And even when I finally did climb into bed, I stayed awake a little while, talking to God about different things.
This morning when I woke up, I found myself exceptionally nervous and somewhat uncomfortable. My critique this afternoon was on my mind, and the excitement of yesterday’s events still buzzed in the back of my head. I don’t know why I was so nervous; I’d never been that nervous about an in-class critique before, not even last year when I was a freshman. I think it was because of how harsh some of the written critiques were on my first draft; now, on my revision, which had even more moments of men being gentlemen and women submitting and living under the leading of those men, their husbands, more moments of God prevailing and pursuing us, more moments of submitting to God and sacrificing all desires, dreams, and pursuits of “happiness” to follow God instead, the nervousness and the possibility to be rejected, struck down, and to freeze up with fear and have my words turn to rock on my tongue had reached its peak.
I prayed this morning, talking to God. It was becoming too easy to think that my classmates were the enemies, so I needed to be refreshed in the Truth, in the absolute Truth of God’s word. It’s impossible for me not to react in anger or fear or defensiveness without God, I just can’t do it. I’ve never been able to react appropriately to anything, at least not without Christ constantly helping me check my emotions and be wise in my actions. I am a living testimony to the fact that wisdom comes from God. It’s especially crucial that, in this environment, I remember how others see the world, how they see things as good, normal, acceptable, while God sees those same things as sinful and damaging and destructive. I have to remember that, because of Christ, my worldview is so vastly different (not trying to say that “I know better,” only reflecting on what God says in His word) from the worldview around me, it’s no wonder they might criticize me for it, be confused by it, or misunderstand it. I have to remember that the real enemy is a master deceiver, and before Christ showed me the lies covering every area of my life, I lived happily ignorant under the fog of the enemy’s seemingly beautiful deceit (2 Corinthians 3:14-18).
I left the dorm and grabbed breakfast from the cafeteria before heading to World Civ.. We talked about smuggling and piracy throughout the 16th and 17th century, which I thought was incredibly fascinating. I’m really appreciating World Civ. 🙂 Though I must say this mid-term essay, due next week, is stumping me. Part of me wants to focus on the use of cinnamon in Medieval pastries, but I’m not sure if that’s what my professors are asking for.
After World Civ. I grabbed some coffee and ran into Priscilla and sat and talked with her for a little while before rushing off to accomplish some small homework assignments. It was nice to see her 🙂
And then it was time for Studio.
Before I left, I prayed. I prayed that I wouldn’t speak out of nervousness or discomfort. I’d rather just say nothing than say something to ruin my testimony of the grace of God, to somehow dishonor Him or deny Him. I just couldn’t figure out why I was so paralyzed by fear. It wasn’t life or death. It wasn’t going to cost me anything if I was rejected or anything along those lines. I’d handled, only with the help of the Holy Spirit, many difficult critiques since I began school here last year. What was so different about today? Regardless, He carried me through it.
We critiqued my classmate’s story first. Then it was my turn. My hands were shaking, but I read it through and through, though overcome, at one point, by a powerful desire to just say “I’m sorry, I can’t keep reading this.” But I refused to give into whatever Satan was trying to pull. I would work through the fear. God would provide me with a way to endure it (1 Corinthians 10:13).
I ended my reading of my story, and sat, waiting. The critique went just fine. I realized, as it went on, that all of my classmates’ suggestions were extremely helpful and I’d had nothing to fear. And my heart was quieted.
Then, one of my classmates asked a question about a certain part of the story, a question that could only be answered by the laying out of the Gospel. I looked at my professor and asked if I could answer the question, only because during the critiquing of our stories we’re usually not allowed to talk. He gave me the okay.
And so, though the fear came back, and though I was nervous, I laid out the plan of salvation for all of my classmates, explaining that the only way to be a true child of God is to be saved, to be indwelt by His Holy Spirit, that perfect seal of redemption stamped on the heart. I explained that the only way to be saved, to accept the gift of eternal life, to enter into a loving, growing, fulfilling, magnificent, wonderful relationship with Christ, the one who knows us best and loves us most, was to believe that Christ was the Son of God, born of a virgin, 100% God and 100% man on earth, to believe that He physically died via crucifixion and was then physically resurrected, and that the grace imparted to those who believed in Him, which He proved and perfected on the cross, was enough to gain the Holy Spirit and to reconcile us to God and to pay for all of our sins, past, present, and future (Romans 6:23, 8:9, 10:9-10, 13, John 14:6, 14:15-17, 16:7-15, Acts 2:38, Ephesians 1:11-14, 2 Corinthians 5:5)
The enemy is relentless, and had I given into fear, had I not depended on God, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to share the Gospel with my classmates.
When I returned to my dorm after class, I realized that not all of my classmates gave me their written critiques. In fact, I was missing several. I wasn’t sure what to think about it.
I went to German class, enjoyed learning and continuing to put into practice the things I was learning, and then returned to my dorm to continue working on homework.
And that was the day.
And it was good 🙂
“Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” —2 Corinthians 3:4-6, ESV