“Why don’t you come back and do second year?”
I will never forget sitting in that chair, scrambling for excuses. It had been two long and difficult years since I finished my first year at the Bible Institute. I was back on campus visiting some friends that had recently become interns at Word of Life.
One of whom just happened to be an admissions counselor.
A really, really good one.
I’ll be honest. I was terrified. I didn’t like where this was going.
I wasn’t exactly thrilled with my current life situation, but I had little interest in uprooting and “starting over”. My walk with the Lord was far from thriving, but was this really the answer? After going home that weekend, I began to skeptically pray about going back to the Bible Institute for another year of classes. I had a lengthy list of all the reasons why this would be a terrible idea, and I made sure to explain each of them (in detail) to God as I prayed.
I’m sure He found it quite amusing.
In the fall of 2012, I checked in to South America dorm for my Sophomore year. That year radically changed my life in ways I never could have planned for myself. In just one year the Lord brought lifelong friendships, sharpened my mind, healed my heart, and opened countless doors for future ministry opportunities. If I would have bought into all my excuses, I would have missed out on all that God wanted to do in me.
Right now, the Bible Institute is accepting applications for Spring Enrollment. If you find yourself on the fence about Word of Life Bible Institute, doubtful about the college you chose, or simply restless with where you’re at, read through (and learn from) these excuses that almost kept me from a life changing year.
Excuse #1 | Fear.
Fear is my number one excuse for a reason; picture it as the umbrella that every other excuse falls under. I was afraid I wouldn’t like it. I was afraid of change. I was afraid to waste a year. I was afraid of what other people would think of my decision. I mean, what if they all had their lives together and I didn’t? Fear is consuming, and as I wrestled through coming back to the Bible Institute, my fears began to remind me of all the possible things that could go wrong. What if this is a mistake? What if you can’t afford this? I was afraid of the unknown.
1 John 4:18 says that “Perfect love casts out fear.” When you fix your eyes on all the uncertainty or all the ways it could go wrong, you’ll never get very far. Fear will only be subdued when you lift your eyes from the things that are uncertain to the One who is unchanging. The best remedy for fear is bold, courageous faith and the perfect love of a perfect and trustworthy Father.
[x_blockquote type=”left”]Fear will only be subdued when you lift your eyes from the things that are uncertain to the One who is unchanging.[/x_blockquote]
Excuse #2 | Friends.
There’s no way around it; leaving your friends is tough. I won’t try to convince you otherwise. One reason I didn’t want to go to the Bible Institute was because I didn’t want to have to start all over and make new friends. There was nothing appealing about going back to a familiar place, without the familiar faces.
Let me tell you how this turned out for me: The Lord absolutely blew me away with the friendships He blessed me with that year. I prayed specifically for friends that would sharpen me (Prov 27:17), encourage me (Heb 3:13), and make me think (Prov 13:20 ), and He answered in a big way. Unlike other colleges, the Bible Institute is unique in the way it forces you to get to know your classmates. You live together, work together, do ministry together, and you realize pretty quickly that you need each other. Some of the best friendships I’ve ever had were formed that year. It didn’t happen overnight, but few things that last long ever do.
Too often, we focus on what we leave behind rather than anticipating what God has in store for us. Yes, you may have to say “see ya later” to some close friends, but it’s just for one year. Technology makes it pretty easy to keep in touch. Or better yet- bring them with you! Word of Life offers a $500 scholarship if you recruit your friends to come spend a year in God’s Word together. We’re all about building relationships that will last.
[x_blockquote type=”left”]Too often, we focus on what we leave behind rather than anticipating what God has in store for us.[/x_blockquote]
Excuse #3 | Failure.
This was a big one for me. I had been battling severe depression for about two years leading up to my decision to come back to Word of Life. I had this nagging fear that as soon as I stepped foot on campus, it would all resurface and I’d have to quit. Perhaps depression isn’t your issue. Maybe you’re a perfectionist afraid to disappoint. Maybe you’ve never finished anything you’ve started, or your grades aren’t that good. Maybe you wasted your entire freshman year. Maybe you’re not where you should be when it comes to your spiritual walk. Maybe you’re struggling with sin or a bad habit that you just can’t beat, and you’re worried about being exposed in front of all those “good christian kids”. Like fear, failure is an opportunity to lift your eyes from your circumstances to your Savior. What if the question is not “Will I fail?” but rather, “Who am I aiming to please?” When we judge our lives by the standards of others, we will always fall short. The good news? Obedience to Christ never results in failure (Psalm 25:3).
[x_blockquote type=”left”]What if the question is not “Will I fail?” but rather, “Who am I aiming to please?”[/x_blockquote]
Excuse #4 | Future plans.
I wanted to be a nutritionist…or an English teacher…or a barista…or a missionary…
Though they were constantly changing, I had plenty of ideas and plans for my future; plans that didn’t include another year of Bible school. Thankfully, the Lord had other ideas for me. Sometimes God graciously interrupts our own plans to make a way for His. Many people fall back on the excuse that time spent studying the Bible is worthless in the long run. My year at the Bible Institute was anything but wasted time. What I gained that year far outweighed any sacrifice I had to make to get there.
- I received a solid foundation of truth that will carry over into the next chapter of my life.
- I was able to connect with and learn from missionaries and teachers all over the world.
- I gained hands on ministry experience and racked up academic credits that easily transferred into the online program I used to finish my degree.
Excuse #5 | Finishing what I started
When I applied to the Bible Institute, I was working two jobs and taking a class at a local college. Moving towards something new required me to step away from those responsibilities in order to be available for what was to come.
Chances are, you’re already enrolled in another college or are well established in a job. Maybe the field of study you chose isn’t quite what you expected, or the environment you work in is tough. While there is something to be said for commitment, there’s no shame in changing direction if you feel the Lord calling you elsewhere. In reality, the best sort of commitment is to Jesus, not a plan or program. If you feel unsettled, like maybe the Lord is calling you to something new, don’t be afraid of that change.
[x_blockquote type=”left”]In reality, the best sort of commitment is to Jesus, not a plan or program.[/x_blockquote]
Following Jesus is worth it
Why didn’t I want to go back to the Bible Institute? Fear of failure. My own future plans. Pride.
Why did I? Because following Jesus is worth it.
There’s a cool story in the Bible about leaving it all to follow Jesus. If you find yourself struggling with where you are right now, take it from these guys:
[x_blockquote type=”left”]While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. Matthew 4:18-20[/x_blockquote]
I don’t know what that conversation looked like. I don’t know if these men understood what they were signing themselves up for, but here’s what I do know: They wanted more. They were done with average. They were no longer satisfied with their daily, mundane routine. Maybe you can relate to that feeling? These guys were fishermen, these nets were their livelihood, and these fish were their paychecks. Yet they left all they knew and all they had, and they did it without hesitation. How? Insane faith. By faith, we choose to believe that what we gain when we follow Jesus is greater than anything we leave behind.
What about you?
If you’re done with average, restless for adventure, and hungry for what God has for you, it’s time to start moving. If you’re interested in spending a year in God’s Word, you need to check out Word of Life Bible Institute. Spring enrollment is open, and there is no need to wait until next fall to get serious about studying the Bible. Time is limited, so take the first step today. Get more information about Word of Life Bible Institute by giving us a call (518-494-4723) or checking out our site at wordoflife.edu/ .