Ah college! When I think back to those years, I get a rush of memories: Dorm floor activities, late nights, cafeteria food, chapel services, the bell tower, peer advising, instant messaging, water fights, community service, skipping class to sleep in, camping, coffee, more coffee, taking the MCAT, learning to think critically, challenging classes, cherished moments, Godly mentors, doing laundry, close friends, text messaging, celebrating accomplishments, Hootenanny, facebook, graduation…
I loved college–obviously. Strangely enough, when I was in high school I never considered all the fun that college would be. Instead, I spent hours thinking about what I should do, where I should go, and how I would get there. I remember staring at the ceiling night after night, terrified I was going to decide to do the wrong thing. I knew that I wanted to do God’s will for my life, and I had this crazy idea that I wanted to be a doctor. And then I had plenty of questions—is this just me with a hare-brained idea? How am I going to do this? College and medical school? Do I want to do this for the wrong reason—like for money or the recognition? Am I just into this right now, but will struggle with it later?
So I prayed. I prayed really, really hard. I was basically terrified that I was going to miss God’s will for my life. I examined my motives, investigated the requirements, and dreamed of the possibilities. I looked for signs in the sky, and hoped God would speak audibly to me, or at least send a messenger. And I got nothing. Nothing except the persistent desire to be a physician.
Those years taught me two things. First, God does have a will for your life, and second, He often directs you through the desires of your heart. When I look back I laugh at how much emotion I expended, but I don’t regret a minute. Finding God’s will is of utmost importance. I’m glad I put a lot of energy in it, but I wish I would have realized more that God is very purposeful. He doesn’t call you to a lifelong vocation without placing the desire in your heart.
I also learned something else during those “what-am-I-supposed-to-do-with-my-life?” years. I learned that God always calls you to be a minister—always. I grew up in a family where practically every male was a preacher and every female was a preacher’s wife. At times I felt that by deciding not to be “in the ministry,” I was missing the chance to do something of eternal value. Maybe this was silly, but still a very real feeling that I had. I remember reading the Book of Luke. I figured he was a doctor, so I might as well start there. I kept going … and found that it was common people—tentmakers, fishermen, widowed cloth weavers, military leaders, physicians—who embraced God’s calling to share the gospel. Sometimes they left their work behind, and sometimes they continued their work, but they all became ministers. They turned their world upside down. So should we.
The final step for me was deciding where to go to college. This was the easy part, because I had a lot of exposure to a Christian university that was nearby. It offered a competitive biology program with a spotless record of getting students into medical school. It also offered a safe, wholesome environment where I knew my faith would be encouraged, and classes taught from a Christian perspective. I investigated it further and prayed more, and God opened all the doors.
It’s been a while since I walked out the doors of high school for the last time. I’m through with college and near the end of my third year of medical school. I don’t regret a minute. I have only become more convinced that pursuing God’s will for your life is the one thing you should absolutely do with your whole heart. I cannot say it has been easy, but I couldn’t be happier. There is nothing in the world like the realization that your hands are fulfilling His purpose on earth. There is also nothing more comforting than facing a hard situation and turning to God and saying, “You called me to this so you’re going to have to get me through.” He always does.
Sometime between my sophomore and junior year of college I discovered a metal cut-out of the word “Imagine” buried in the Home section of a department store. I was thrilled. I carried it home and spray-painted it black on my parents’ back porch. It soon hung beneath the poster of my favorite Picasso painting in dorm room #323. But it was more than décor to me. To me, it perfectly captures life in pursuit of God’s will. Absolutely more than you can imagine. To this day it reminds me of all I imagined in the past, and how my reality is better than I ever dreamed. I can only imagine what the future will hold. Please find God’s will and pursue it. You cannot imagine how fabulous it will be.