how i became a student of Life

let me start by saying i do not have a college degree. i attended a prestigious high school that was like going away to a top-notch university for my junior & senior year. i attended n.c. state university / college of design / school of architecture, which has a pretty impressive & competitive program. after four years of college, i switched to a major in english with a focus in linguistics & editing. i was in college for six years. i am well-educated. i am very intelligent. but i do not have a college degree.

i ended up quitting school after a couple of rough semesters due to focusing more of my time & energy on working with the campus ministry at our church than on my classes. my heart was in ministry, & i wanted to be single-minded, focused. one thing led to another, one job to another. i have been a preschool teacher, a mary kay consultant, an administrative assistant, a production manager at a design studio, a freelance editor & designer, & a ministry leader in both campus ministry & youth ministry. i rarely do any one thing for more than a year. i have never really known "what i want to do when i grow up." those who know me will ask me what i'm doing this year. i really am a jack [or jill] of all trades. and definitely a master of none.

the conclusion i've come to is that i like living this way. i enjoy experiencing new things & not being confined to one career or path. i relish learning a variety of skills in many different fields. nowadays, i can tell you with confidence that i am called to lifelong vocational ministry. but what i may do at any give time within the scope of ministry, only God knows!

currently, i work with my local church body running a ministry called "conneXions" in which i help people get connected to God, to people, & to opportunities to serve in areas that match up with their giftedness & passions. i love it. but i doubt i'll do it for the rest of my life. i'll do it for as long as God calls me to work in this particular area, then i'll pass it off to another person He has prepared for it. and i'll move on to something else He has prepared me for.

but i'm getting ahead of myself. a couple of years ago, i was doing youth ministry as the interim youth minister for this same local church. teens are so funny. they were asking me one wednesday night what i studied in college & what i really do for a living. my husband, shaun, jokingly said, "danae's a student of life!" i laughed, thinking it pretty clever, but i didn't think much more of it. however, our teens grabbed hold of that phrase & have been calling me a "student of life" ever since. when i realized how much it had caught on, i thought more seriously about it myself. it had a nice ring to it, but it also had a nice reality to it. if i am a student of anything, it is of life. Life. Christ. and living the abundant life He came to give. like henry david thoreau, "i want to live deliberately. i want to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life." in fact, i believe one can only live life to the fullest by doing so intentionally. and i believe Christ is the Way, the Truth, & the Life. [in case you're not familiar with the bible, don't think that's original to me; Jesus said it about Himself. His words are recorded in the bible, john 14:6.]

ever since that fateful evening, i've been consumed with this idea of what it means to be a student of Life. here's what i think so far:

being a student of Life means . . .
. . . intentionality in everything.
. . . having goals & a plan to achieve them.
. . . putting your knowledge & faith into action.
. . . keeping in mind the big picture.
. . . studying & following the life of Jesus Christ.
. . . regular self-reflection.
. . . willingness to improve oneself.
. . . a thirst for knowledge & an appetite for adventure.
. . . knowing when the little things are the big things.
. . . sacrificing the urgent for the important.
. . . an abiding relationship with God.
. . . glorifying God in everything you do.

this blog is a place to record & facilitate what i have learned, my evolving understanding of what it means to be a student of Life, my "majors" in different "subjects" periodically, & my personal & spiritual growth. i hope it helps you do these same things as needed in your own life.

join me. let us be students of Life together under the greatest Teacher ever known.


Anonymous said...

Great post and thoughts, Danae! And I love your description of our jobs so much that I may have to steal it from you!

danae said...

steal away, my friend! that's actually a major "tagline" to our ministry here. we use it in all of our messaging.