Over the past year I’ve had the opportunity to do many new things, go to new places, and meet tons of new people. The biggest contributor to this is college. Since starting college, I have done so many things that I never would have had the chance to do otherwise. I can’t imagine how this past year would have been if it hadn’t have been for college. Something that many people have said to me both right before starting classes last fall, all he way through to these pat few months is one thing. One saying. One piece of wisdom that many seem to want to pass on –
“These are the best years of your life. Enjoy them.”
Now, this saying has puzzled me recently. The first time I really thought about it, I was quite annoyed actually. Someone had told me while I was right in the middle of spring semester the week before midterms. If you could go back in time and in that moment, ask me if I felt like I was living in the “best years” of my life, I would tell you no. After the semester passed, I figured that the feeling would go away and I would start to believe this statement. I kept telling myself “Once you get through this first year of college, then you’l understand. Then you’ll truly see that what everyone is saying is right! You’ll understand the joy and happiness that they talk about when looking back on their college years that are long gone!”
Here’s the thing…..I still am waiting to feel that way.
It was soon after midterms passed that I penned some lyrics down in my lyric journal…
“They say these are the best years of your life
when do they start?
Cuz’ all the noise and chaos around
is wearing out my heart.”
I began to ask myself that question every day that I woke up at 6am to go to class after spending many late hours doing 30+ pages of music theory homework, an ear training exercise, writing a reflection paper on 4 chapters of Theology books, or studying for a huge New Testament Exam. I asked myself that question many times a day. It all boiled down to the second half of it later on. I wanted to know when these “best years” kicked in! I felt as if I was missing out.
Then one day, something hit me.
A profound thought that I hadn’t thought before…
What if I was living them out right now. What if I was in the midst of these mysterious “best years” and I hadn’t even realized it. What if I had been living them for months without actually knowing it. What if I had been asking for more and longing for some mysterious and fantasy future, without seeing that it was right in front of me the whole time!?
I am confident that God has opened the right doors at just the perfect time throughout my whole life. I am convinced that all that has happened to me thus far is just a small portion of the outworking of His perfect plan. I don’t regret any of the experiences and opportunities that have been offered to me just in the past year. They have all come at just the right time and not any sooner. Then, an even more profound thought hit me…
What if the “best years” have always been “now”?
As Christians, we have a life calling to witness, love, and be the outworking of God’s love. Not just when we’re young adults and are more spry than an older Christian is. That calling does not stop. Ever.
We are called to live a life of worship and service. To “offer our bodies as a living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1) which means, last time I checked, that it includes our whole life. We are a “living” sacrifice. Not just a people that live out that sacrifice through our late teens and early twenties. I most certainly hope that twenty years from now, after college is long over with, that I will be a much more mature Christian than I am today. I don’t want to have the “best years” of my life be only these precious few that we live out during our pursuit of a higher education.
I do not believe that God intends for it to be that way.
You see, to me, the “best years” are the ones spent closest to the Lord. The ones where my relationship with Him is ever growing on a daily basis.Everyday I should be seeking Him more. As I said before, I want to be closer in my relationship with God twenty years from now than I am now. I want to grow closer and closer as the years go past and I learn more about Him. I don’t want that to ever stop. I want to constantly be learning more about Him, how to be more like His Son, and walk in His will even more as my life goes on and I grow older.
So, perhaps these “best years” are always with us. Perhaps wherever we are in life and our faith walks is right where we are supposed to be. We should be constantly challenging ourselves and pushing on deeper and deeper into a relationship with God. I know there will still be times of doubt, fear, and pain, but I have the confidence that I am either in His will and learning through the experience, or I am pushing through to a deeper understanding of Him and a new place in life.
These “best years” are ever changing and it is my prayer that the Lord would be constantly shaping them for the betterment of His kingdom, and that I will forever be constantly learning more about Him through it all.
Life is hard sometimes. We all grow weary. We all fall. We all feel overwhelmed at some point. But I know that God is right there sustaining me and making this life new every day. I leave you with another part of the lyrics that pop’ed into my head that day –
“Though this heart of mine is so sore
I’ll keep pushing on
until this fragile life is no more
You’ll keep me strong”