Success

This semester I have been having Bible studies with one of the Adventist undergrads here at UVa. She wants to learn more about what Adventists believe so she better knows how to answer her friends when they ask. Last week, after we talked about prophecies concerning Jesus, she opened up about the fact that she didn’t know what God wanted her to do with her life.

So this week’s study was dedicated to practical steps to determining God’s Will, especially in the area of choosing a major/profession. I am not wise enough, nor have enough life experience to share authoritatively on the matter. But I do have notes from a wise counselor that helped me think through this process, and which ultimately led me to law school, so I brought them along and we did a Bible study on it and spent some time in the SOP.

As I was preparing, I was reminded again why it is so important to mentor others in the church: through teaching them, God reminds us of lessons that we need to (re)learn. As I was flipping through the chapter “Lifework” in the book Education, I came across this quote that I have underlined, with notes scrawled on the side. The first part that caught my eye said, “Many a man whose talents are adapted for some other calling, is ambitious to enter a profession; and he who might have been successful as a farmer, an artisan, or a nurse, fills inadequately the position of a minister, a lawyer, or a physician” (emphasis added).

I sighed as I read that. I have been wondering a lot whether or not I was seeking a place that was beyond what God had intended for me in coming to law school, and the quote seemed to speak right towards that. But it was the part that was underlined that made me repent: “There are others, again, who might have filled a responsible calling, but who, for want of energy, application, or perseverance, content themselves with an easier place” Education, 267. Scribbled underneath I have written “summary of compenents need for success,” indicating that I had noticed elsewhere in the book that the elements that are necessary for success are energy, application and perseverance.

You see, while I was “successful” in high school and college, it didn’t take much work. I mean I worked, but it didn’t take a lot of perseverance or application to achieve my desired results. There were a couple challenging classes, but I would usually just be satisfied with what I could get in them rather than try to work hard for something better. I knew I had high enough grades in other areas to insulate me from one or two less then excellent grades.

But then I came to law school. And I have to work. Hard. Just to be average. And because I don’t have the same natural talent here that I did in college, it has often caused me to question whether this is where I’m supposed to be. But after reading the quotes, I realize, at heart, I’m lazy. I’d prefer the easy route. Maybe God called me to law school so that I would learn to use my energy not just to apply myself, but also to persevere. I think those are two things that I have lacked in my work ethic up until this point. If it wasn’t natural, I’d just drop it. He’s developing in me a better work ethic.

So I’m thankful for the student asking for help, because her questions have really caused me to evaluate my own life, the path that I’m going down, whether it’s the one God has intended for me, and if I am doing my part in cooperating with divine power.

With finals less than four weeks away, for God’s sake (Isaiah 43:7), I’m praying for energy. I’m praying for application. I’m praying for perseverance.

So help me, God.

One Comment

  1. I’ve been thinking recently too, about how God brings us to uncomfortable situations – like the Massah and Meribah story – but He always does it for our good (Hebrews 12:5-13). I’ll keep you in prayer. Remember me too.

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