Does God have a degree program?

School is the key to success. How many times have we all heard that? I think senior year of high school I heard it enough for my lifetime, and at that point didn’t know any better. As I grow older, and get closer to a college degree, I discover more and more that education might not be as important to our success as we might think.

I’m pursuing a college degree in Architectural (structural) engineeering. I’m really going so I can go to grad school for architecture. Or that was the plan 4 years ago. The further I go in the program, however, the more I realize I’m probably not going to use that degree for it’s intended purpose. I’ve made the self realization that I’d probably be a terrible structural engineer. I think I’d be a good architect, but in order to show anyone that I’ll have to get into grad school, and right now I’m not good enough at structural engineering to get into many of those.

The more of these little roadblocks life throws at us, the more I can see God at work. The further along I go in school, the more I learn about my degree, yet I also learn more about God, about scripture. I become a stronger christian with each year, and I’m able to search out God’s plans for me. Each year of growth His plan seems to get louder, and the closer I listen and louder it becomes, the more I realize His path for me has nothing to do with my degree. It has nothing to do with the United States education system. All it has to do with is Him, and being an example of Him and showing other people; people that may never see it; His love for all of us. Reading my bible the yesterday, I came across Mark 2:13, where God meets Levi and goes to his house. Levi was a tax collector, and “disreputable sinner,” as were his friends, so when Jesus went to his home as a dinner guest, the Pharisees asked why he ate with such “scum.” I love Jesus’ reply, and feel that it sums up how Christians should live in the world around us. Jesus replies by saying:

Healthy people don’t need a doctor – sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”

This pretty much sums up what I think I’m supposed to do with my life, actually. Love those that go unloved. Love the people that have never felt love; the people the world sees as bad, or especially those that the church labels as “bad people.” I’ve heard way too many stories of people being turned away from a church because of theirĀ  past, or their reputation. That’s my biggest struggle with a large amount of denominations. Not all are like this, but enough are to turn people off to Christ. Much of it is because of church’s beliefs, beliefs about what is right or wrong, and if you do something wrong, you’ll never be seen the same again. My question is this: How will people turn away from doing wrong if they don’t have examples of God’s love around them? How can people change spiritually if the church shuns them and keeps them outside the doors?

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Expecting the Unexpected

When you were younger, how much did you think of the future? How often did you make little lists in your head, stating all the things you wanted to do in life, let’s say, by the time you retire? Think back to how many of those things are still your goals. If you’re anything like me, there probably aren’t too many.

I had my goals all drawn out in my head during high school. Graduate college, get married, start my own architecture firm, design my own house, become a world-renowned architect. It’s kind of funny to look back on now; only three and a half years later. My goals have changed so drastically in such a short amount of time.

It’s amazing in life what the simple things can do. It’s amazing what living life on your own can do to your state of mind and your values in life. When I look back on where I was in high school, it’s shocking. My goals seem so shallow and impersonal. Almost all of them have changed; all except getting married. Now I don’t even know if I’ll wind up as an architect, and I could really care less about becoming world-renowned for it. I also don’t really care about starting my own firm, and as college seems to drag on and on, it starts to seem less relevant as well, although I know it’s still important.

As my college experience has grown on, so has my maturity and understanding of the world, and where I want to be, as well as where God wants me to be. I no longer seem to care about materialistic possessions so much anymore; as I’ve grown more interested in my relationships, and how I can impact those around me throughout my life. I consistently pray for those around me, and those loved by me, and I’ve consistently worried if I’ve lived up to my God-given potential in life thus far. It’s scary to think of where life could have led if we would have done one thing differently; taken one more chance. I often wonder if certain decisions would have made me a better person in life; which is when I have to start looking at the bible verses about God’s will, and how He’ll always get you where he wants you if you put your trust in him. It feels so foolish to wonder so much about seemingly little things. I know I need to trust in God more, and take more chances with him in order to get where he wants me to go, and often times it brings up some tough decisions. Through these tough decisions, I believe we discover who we really are, and where we really want, and more importantly need, to be in life.

My goals have drastically changed from worldly success to being an influence to those around me; from graduating college, to following God’s plan, and not being afraid to risk the path less traveled. I’ve changed from a boy wanting to be in a design magazine, to a man wanting to be in a Christian magazine, and possibly on a book store shelf. My goals have changed from goals defining success to the world, to goals defining success to God. I thought I knew exactly what would become of me, and now I have no idea. I’d have it no other way.