By: Dwayne Parton

By Comparison

I reflect back to my college years and think “Man, I was really on fire”. It seemed like I was always doing ministry, reading my Bible, and connecting to God. I fasted. I prayed. I tithed. What am I missing now? I wasn’t the kid that partied, enjoyed women, or really any mischief of any kid. I was the kid who led worship in the dorm room, baked muffins and knew a Bible verse for every problem. I was connected.

Connected? College is a surreal environment. I didn’t have to work. I had all I could eat at the caf. I remember making a particularly good salad, and eating lots of fruity pebbles. I stayed up as late as I wanted. There were lots of people to encourage me. Keep me accountable. It was an awesome time and a very special one. I had every reason to believe and no reason not to. I had every reason to know God was good, and nothing to make me question that.

You graduate and life starts happening. You start learning a new way of being human. That’s part of the process. In college reading my Bible, leading worship, and going to services was a part of my daily faith workout. It was the season for that. But life isn’t about just one season. It’s about going through every season. It’s about embracing each season, and allowing God to mold you through it.

It’s been some time since I really read my Bible. It sits on the stand by my bed. I can see it right now. I open it occasionally only to force feed myself, reading the words blankly. Not absorbing much. Sometimes I feel guilty. Maybe guilt isn’t the right word. Maybe it’s this fear that some Christian may look down on me because I didn’t read it today. Which, in the end, is a terrible reason to do so. I want to be hungry for the word, not keep someone else off my back and not maintain a chore. There is something to be said about reading the Bible everyday. There is something special about it. But I just can’t do it. Not right now.

I’m already imagining the people who are thinking, “You should read your Bible everyday!” Maybe you should? I’m not going to argue with you. Maybe no ones really thinking such things. It’s just an illusion formed by the legalistic part of my brain. Anyhow, back to the point. In college, I was on fire. Now, by comparison, I’m not. I’m not doing all those things. I’m not doing “everything” right. But it kinda feels good to be human, and it’s a whole lot better than trying to be perfect. I’m not saying indulge in whatever suits your fancy. I’m just saying, it feels good, not having to prove to myself or others that I’m a believer.

I’m glad I’m not the same person today that I was in college. I’m glad to be going through a different season. I am learning to allow myself to go through these processes. And I want to allow God to mold me, and not me mold myself. In due time, I’ll be in another season. I may be a husband. I may be a father. Maybe a grandfather. And each season will look different and will hold many different lessons. We can’t learn them all at once and we definitely can’t experience them all at once.

So, I guess what I’m saying is allow yourself to go through the process. Don’t compare who you are today with who you were yesterday. Seek God in whatever way you can. Always seeking and always willing to change. Some days he will feel closer than others. And some days may just feel empty. But seasons are a part of life. We can’t always be the happy go lucky college kid, but we can learn how to see or find God in every season.

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.”

~Ecclesiastes 3:1-8