People are not like me.
Maybe I am a little late to the game, but the most prominent lesson I learned in 2016 was that people are not like me, and I don’t need to be like them, and that is okay.
Let me explain:
Going to a private school, I expected for a majority of people to be die-hard Jesus fans, God-centered, prayer warriors, Bible Book worms, appreciators of daily chapel. I knew that would not be the case for everyone, but it seems lately that is not the case for most students at my university, and it really breaks my heart.
After hearing comments from my friends about wanting to study the Bible more and wanting to deepen their relationships with God, I decided to head up a devotional in my dorm room once a week, an in-depth study on the book of Esther for the semester. The study fascinated me. I was excited about what I was reading and learning. However, I seemed to be the only one.
After just two meetings, our group shrunk from about 10 girls to just four on a good day. People did not keep up with the reading, and questions and discussions did not come as naturally as I had hoped due to lack of keeping up with the study (and some might say apathy).
Anyways, I felt alone in my studying. I felt that I was the only enthusiast. I love theology, studying scripture and finding all the connections between books from different centuries and fulfilled prophecies. I learned that not everyone is the same way.
I understand that people express themselves differently and relate to scripture in various ways. However, I thought going to a Christian school would make finding more like-minded people easier.
I learned that I find myself in scripture. I find my identity, my calling, my peace, comfort, encouragement, wisdom and passion in the Bible. That is what I get excited about, that is what gets me up in the morning, and it is this that I have missed the past 1-2 years while I struggled to maintain multiple jobs and a full class load.
2016 taught me that it is okay not to be a workaholic. It is okay to trust that God will provide for the calling he is leading me to. It is okay to spend an hour of my day poring over scripture instead of working or studying if it means enjoying life more — not feeling so stressed, discouraged or lost. I’ve learned that I need to spend more time on my ambitions and passions than just simply trying to provide for them (mission trips, mostly).
I am over halfway through my college career, and there is so much I have not done, so much I have missed out on because of this. I want to get to know the girls in my social club better. I want to participate in more extracurriculars and venture out to all the best hiking places in “the natural state” of Arkansas. I want to genuinely learn from my classes instead of pulling some words out of air for an assignment due in ten minutes. I want to make the most of the short time I have left, to do what I really want to do while I have the opportunity.
2016 taught me that everyone needs something to live for. Everyone needs to have a dream to chase or some type of job that keeps them on their toes. Everyone needs something they can be creative with, express themselves with, something they find themselves in. This is different for everyone, and that is okay.
Though my friends and I may be enthusiasts about different things, I have also learned that I need friends who are like-minded. I need to surround myself with people who do get excited about finding the same Hebrew phrase used in both Esther and Job, people who get goosebumps when learning that Daniel prophesied about Alexander the Great and admire the perseverance of Paul, John and the other apostles. Everyone needs people who they can exercise their zeal with.
I don’t have any solid resolutions for 2017. God’s ways are hardly ever mine — that’s a lesson from 2015. I do not know where this next year will take me, or what it will teach me or how it will change me. I am just going to continue living life for my God and hold tight the precious jewels I discover along the way. Maybe other people think differently, and that is okay.