In my first year of college, I’ve been asked questions that I never thought I’d get in an academic environment: What is a soul? Where do we derive morals? What does it mean to be human? These questions destroyed me because I couldn’t concretely answer them. We spent hours talking over them in class, and I always left more confused than when I arrived. I questioned my sense of self, my worth and my value on this planet. I lost my sense of purpose. It was at rock bottom that I realized that some questions aren’t meant to be agreed upon in a classroom; they’re meant to be answered in our hearts. I headed into my second semester with the understanding that all of the answers had been provided to me thousands of years ago on a cross, and I no longer need to wonder.
The purpose of this piece is not in any way to convert someone to Christianity, but to encourage them to consider what they’re investing their lives in. Philosopher David Foster Wallace said in his speech, “This is Water”, “You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn’t. You get to decide what to worship. Because here’s something else that’s weird but true: in the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship.” Wallace makes a compelling point — everyone has something in their lives that they choose to root their decisions in. Perspective is key and we can’t have perspective without a reference point. Whatever we choose as our reference point is what we worship, and it will be the thing that we return to throughout our lives. It will be the thing that we cling to in our most desperate moments.
Wallace goes on to say that, “The compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship … is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things … then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough … Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally grieve you.” It can be said for most that college is a desperate moment, or at least an urgent one. It is the bridge between childhood and adult life, providing time to discover what we’ll do and who we’ll become. It’s the fork in the road, the crux, the tipping point. This is not a time when I want my bridge to fall.
And so I choose Jesus Christ. I choose church. I choose spirituality. Being a Christian in college is not easy. It is the first time in my life that I have had to wake up on Sunday and play an active role in my decision to go to church. It is the first time in my life that the only thing powering my relationship with my main man, JC, is me. That choice has been unbelievably empowering.
Christ lived His life humbly, serving those around Him and sacrificing His life for love. Christianity calls on us all to do the same, and in my walk with Christ I’ve discovered what a privilege it is to choose to serve others. The power of service is in the choice and the choice comes when we realize how vulnerable and small we are in comparison to the forces of the universe. When you live a life of sacrifice and service, your impact on the world grows immeasurably and you become a part of something bigger. I’m not asking you to change your life entirely, convert to Christianity and embark on life-changing mission trips to impoverished parts of the world. I’m not even asking that you believe in God. But I am asking that, for just a little while, you try worshipping kindness, and see where it leads.