All Important Questions to Ask on Your Way to College
Les Newsom | August 24, 2015
At this point, everything is a question mark. Where are my classes? Am I going to get along with my roommate? Does anyone have directions to Walmart? There’s a lot of adjustment here at the outset of a new year.
However, a life that is worth living is a life that moves past the superficial questions (like the number for the nearest Papa Johns Pizza) and into deeper questions about the world in which I live and my place in it. At RUF, we think there are at least three life-defining questions to commit to understanding.
What (Where?) is Truth?
Save yourself some time and go ahead and own the fact that the blanket statement “truth is relative” is going to get a bit more complicated and therefore unhelpful in the coming years. Why? Simply stated, truth claims are hard to avoid and hence, almost impossible to neutralize by claiming that everybody has to choose for themselves what it is (including the very statement “truth is relative”). They are all around you.
For grins and giggles, Google the phrase “science has spoken” and see how many articles in the last few years have started with that way. What’s the point? “Science” comes to our ears as an authority that demands to be listened to when it speaks.
In RUF, we simply want to point out that there is something inherent in the human heart to long for a voice to speak with authority, to give it direction, to be a guide. As it turns out, we think that human beings were hard wired to respond to the authority of its Maker in whose image humanity is made. That direction is given to us in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament that we call the Bible.
For now, it is ok to struggle with those last two sentences. All we want you to notice is that whether you listen to the voice of “science” or whether you listen to voice of God speaking through His Word, there is no option to listen to no one. We are responders by nature, we follow the loudest and most compelling voices that are all around us. What those voices are saying strikes us as important.
What Can I Do About My Guilt?
Our interest is not to put you on the couch of a therapist’s office, but would you agree that in your most honest moments, a creeping wrongness clouds your thinking. Why do I feel like I’m on the wrong side of the Universe? Why do I so often feel futility when I think about my place in the world? Why do I feel alone so much and desperate to know someone deeply?
Answer: who knows? Perhaps you are depressed and need medication. Perhaps you are just going through a phase and need to grow up. Maybe you are living in a oppressive home and will finally flourish when you’re out from under your parents’ roof.
In RUF, we think you need to follow that voice where it’s leading. What if I AM on the wrong side of the Universe? IF I can know who God is, what assurance do I have that He and I are on the same page? These are big questions, I know, but will there be any relief in trying to ignore them?
Try this: can I know that there’s a God who fashioned the universe to operate by His own will? If I can, how have I done in the light of that fact? Am I responsive to Him and to my neighbor? If the answer is no, how will I stand His scrutiny? You may be thinking these are pretty intense questions to entertain at such a young age, but we think there’s no better time to consider this thought: what if finding the Bible’s answer to that question ends in grace for sinners and that this God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him?
How Can I Change?
So you just moved into your dorm/apartment. Have you noticed yet how busy everyone is? Notice how hard it is to get a treadmill at the workout center? Notice how much more motivated the folks down the hall look than you? What if that busyness is not motivated purely by industry on their part. Truth is, people start to feel deeply insecure in college.
Why? Again, who knows? There is just something about an ultra competitive, ultra comparative environment like a university to bring out the worst in you, to make you despise the things that you have become up to this point in life.
For many of you, you’ll attempt to drink these insecurities away with your favorite “social lubricant." Others will morph into someone you’ve never been to win the acceptance of a group of people in a Greek house. Still others will set themselves on a study/travel/work schedule that would fatigue the even most zestful business executive. In the end, the company you keep inside your head will still rise up and disdain you no matter how hard you try.
Be honest: who you are can be a weird form of tyranny when you don’t like what you’ve become. What was I created for? Why am I here? How can I bring about change that is deep, lasting and authentically human? What if life has a manufacturer’s design, and living within that pattern of my humanity is not bondage, but freedom? That when God created us, he also gave us His will for us that is the only way to true, human flourishing.
So what do you think? It is a brave thing to decide to ask the deepest of life’s questions, to challenge the spiritual status quo in your heart. If you make it over to RUF, you’ll find that questions of Authority, Redemption and Freedom will come up all the time? Who knows, maybe you’ll find some answers that’ll change your life?