It’s the End of the Age, and other Reasons Not to Go to College?
I recently saw a video from a popular ministry titled “Should I go To College if it’s the End of the Age.” They must get this question quite a lot if they make a Q&A video about it. Their answers are very steadied and I don’t disagree with anything they had to say on the subject, but this did get the wheels turning in my head. I thought the best way express some of those thoughts are to write a letter to my younger self and let you read it, and thankfully, on my blog I don’t have to be as politically correct.
Dear [17-year-old] Joanna,
Now that we’re married with a husband, a full-time job, two-dogs and a house, I thought I’d let you we got here, and some tidbits of info that would have been helpful along the way. I know right now, your plan is to graduate high school early and go to Lausanne, Switzerland for a YWAM DTS and go to the foreign mission field. I don’t want to ruin the surprise of how the heck you’re still in your hometown 10 years later, but here’s the tidbits of advice I promised.
1. You don’t know what you’re called to, and that’s okay.
This idea that a 17-year-old person knows what they’re “called” to do just isn’t reality. Think about the Bible. None of those guys “knew” what they were called to, how it would play out, or what it would look like. Think of Joseph: he has a vague dream and no idea what it really means… and that’s totally okay! It’s not about the definition, or the destination, it’s about the journey. If you commit now, 17-year-old Joanna to the journey, then everything else is going to work itself out in the Providence of God. Take the opportunities that come your way, try different jobs, learn what you like and what you don’t like, work on your skills, become a better person, keep your heart open to the Lord and don’t hold too tightly to your expectations because it NEVER turns out the way we think it will.Give your twenties to new experiences, to learning and growing, to being prepared for who the Lord is forming you to be.
Give your twenties to new experiences, to learning and growing, to being prepared for who the Lord is forming you to be. When people (and trust me, they will) try and get you to do something like get “locked-in” and “commit for the long-haul” or ask you to make “10-year commitments” to an organization or ministry when you’re 20 years old, politely say “NO.” Maybe they’ll make it spiritual, about God or whatever, and that’s okay, they mean well, but they’re not investing in the long-term maturation of your character, life experience, and destiny in God. Let God lead you, and learn all you can. In your 30’s you’ll start to get more clarity as to what to really put your hand to. Don’t rush into it.
2. College is not the devil.
I know you just want to be “sold-out” for Jesus. You want to give him everything. You want to be prepared for the end of the age. I know Jesus may come back before you graduate. I know. But the truth is college isn’t the devil. It may or may not be right for you, but don’t throw it out of the equation. God’s called you to great things, and like I said in #1, you really have no idea what that looks like yet. Many of those “great things” may require some higher education, vocational training, foreign languages, or a master’s degree. Who knows! But think “big picture” not just, “why am I paying money to sit in a class with these heathens!” It may be hard work, take perseverance and resistance to temptation, but in the long run, it really may worth it. Ask the Lord about it.
3. Debt kind of is the devil.
Now this I’ve sorta learned from your future husband. Repeat this after me: “Debt is BAD!” Why are you so horrified about college, but not about debt? If your back-up for when God doesn’t provide for your missions trip is to charge it on the CC, first of all, you’re not learning the God-provision lessons, and secondly you’re creating some bad habits for the future. God is a provider, he LOVES to provide, but He also wants you to have a job right now kiddo because working hard disciplines your will and keeps you out of a lot of teenage trouble. The borrower is servant to the lender, and if you’re having to borrow, you need to stop and figure out what’s going on, cause something ain’t right.The Lord has a lot for you. You don’t want your destiny saddled with the vestiges of your adolescence.
Now I know you may think this contradicts #2 about college because, hey, college is expensive. You may need to get a student loan, but you don’t have to go to that $20,000 a year college, and you don’t need to buy a car and tour Europe on your student loans. You don’t need a new mac for school, a $300 netbook really will work. You do not want your future hog-tied to endless payments. Trust me.
4. Beware of tattoos, felonies and other short-sighted decisions.
Sounds like a joke right? I’m not kidding. When you’re 20, hand tattoos may sound like a great idea, but they may not be. Remember how #1 about not really knowing all that you’re called to be and do…well think about that when you make decisions. Sure, at 17 you may not be able to fathom getting a job in corporate world, or becoming an elected official, but that may change in 10 or 20 years. The Lord has a lot for you. Just like debt, you don’t want your destiny saddled with the vestiges of your adolescence (go look up vestiges) that may prevent you from taking a job, holding office, or being able to travel to a foreign country.
More soon, but I hope this helps,