I’m in the middle of my senior year. Which usually makes things that much more exciting. However, I find myself questioning on a daily basis: what is my purpose? You see, I don’t attend a campus ministry. I’m not in town often enough to attend a church regularly. I organize a reunion group on Thursday nights (that still haven’t been consistent because of weekend traveling).
I’m also in the middle of a time when I’m supposed to be discerning my call – well, really articulating it – but I don’t find myself “showing up” (Glennon Doyle Melton’s term) to do hard things. Actually, I don’t even feel like I’m showing up to anything spiritual. I’m reading Shauna Niequist’s Savor: Living Abundantly Where You Are, As You Are, and even her little day-to-day questions to help you savor your relationship with God remind me that I’m really not doing anything right now.
I work about twenty hours a week, take four classes at school, participate in our group once a week, and the rest of the time I want to stay cuddled up in my new apartment. What does this say about me? About who I am?
I’m studying Ecclesiastes on my own currently. I figured it would be a good book to explore considering the only key concept I could tell you about Ecclesiastes before was “that everything has its season.” Honestly, I was hoping to start this book and find some comfort in it. However, the beginning of Ecclesiastes is about King Solomon pursuing all that his heart desired. He chased everything that material wealth could afford him.
In the same way, I’m chasing what things I can get my hands on: I’ve always worked enough – too much – in order to have “enough” money. (Money for what? I’m not sure yet considering all things I spend it on.) I’ve always strived to have A’s in classes, putting social obligations on hold so that I could be sure to get my homework done so that I can one day be in a job climbing a professional ladder. I also dropped theological responsibilities that didn’t serve me instant gratifications (I didn’t feel that I was making friends or being plugged in. I only have this year left of college so, hey, why attach myself to something else?)
King Solomon writes, “But when I surveyed all that my hands has done, and what I had worked so hard to achieve, I realized that it was pointless – a chasing after the wind” (Ecc 2:11, CEB). Solomon suddenly gained perspective that the only thing important was the wisdom from studying and living a life that God has called him to live.
Likewise, I continue to question my happiness and purpose and fulfillment except when I’m with the girls on Thursday night, living in community and studying the Word of God. When I sit and soak in the Word and the presence of the Lord, a light is shed on my life. It’s easier to see what God has called me to do and who I am called to be. As I realize this, I pray that my epiphany carries into my work self and my school self. I pray that I am someone fighting for love, community, and equality in everything I do. I pray that I am kind and honest and loyal.
I fall short so often. I feel like most days I don’t live up to any of these hopes or dreams. But until the end of this semester, I will hold on to the time spent on Thursday nights and conversations I get to have with some of my favorite friends and mentors.
Ecclesiastes 2:13 says, “I saw that wisdom is more beneficial than folly, as light is more beneficial than darkness.” As we begin to get deeper in our relationships with Christ, we continue to bask in the Light himself. Light shows us the way to “show up,” to love hard, and to put in work. Light also shows us what’s important in life and where exactly we are the best individuals we can possibly be. However, finding Light for us also means taking more than two hours out of our busy weeks to spend time searching. And then, somehow that seems magical, the Light meets us exactly where we’ve been in our darkness.