This essay helped Holly Still of Versailles, Illinois, gain admission to Lincoln Christian University in Lincoln, Illinois.
If I had a quarter for every time I’ve heard someone tell me I’ve got it all “figured out,” I’d be doing pretty well in the money department right now. Way back when (before Jesus was more than some dead guy religious people couldn’t stop talking about), I knew exactly what field I wanted to go into, where I wanted to work, and how I wanted to go about achieving it all. Way back when, I thought I had it all figured out. But now (after I’ve realized why those religious people can’t stop talking about Jesus) I have no idea. My life is completely un-figured out. I don’t know where I’ll be five years from now. I don’t know what I’ll be doing. But you know what? I know that’s okay. I know that’s how it’s supposed to be.
Life was good up until April of last year. That’s when I attended my first-ever Cornerstone Christian Church Youth Group. Imagine my life plan as a ball of yarn—for 17 years I’d meticulously wound my yarn-plan into a perfect little ball. When I stepped into that youth group, into that church, Jesus grabbed my ball of yarn and threw it out the window. It’s unraveling, still, as I type. So much for my plans, huh?
The un-figured out-ness of my life isn’t limited to my future plans, either. People tell me I have my faith all figured out as well—but, of course, I don’t. Well, it depends on how you define “figured out,” I guess. I know that God is up in Heaven watching me write this essay. I know Jesus is why I’m going to join God in Heaven one of these days, even though I deserve Hell. And I know that the Holy Spirit lives in me. But other than that, I have no clue. Do I love God? Really love God? What are my motives for living how I live, believing what I believe? Guilt, fear of punishment, want of reward? Am I living how Jesus wants me to live? How exactly does Jesus want me to live?
Question, after question, after question—but I love the feeling of being uncertain and suddenly “getting it,” you know? My youth minister, Doug, has spent countless hours “splashing in mud puddles” with me over these questions. Most of the time, my questions have clear-as-mud answers. I’ve learned, though, that having an answer isn’t always as important as having the curiosity to ask the question.
At Lincoln Christian University I hope I find answers, but more than that, I hope I find more questions to ask. Where should I go? What should I do? How should I do it? I’ve asked those questions before, but it was me who answered them. In all my uncertainty, I do know this: I won’t be re-winding my ball of yarn by myself. If Jesus cared enough to pitch it out the window, I’m sure he cares enough to help me roll it back up—his way.