By Garrett McCurrach
So, you’ve made it. You are going to officially become a (Insert major). You’ve endured all of the tests, labs, papers and just general stress of college. You even passed (Insert Professor)’s ridiculously hard class even though he/she (Insert legitimate complaint that no one outside your major could appreciate but is nonetheless completely valid). You did it. Success!
You’ve looked forward to finishing college and living on your own since the end of freshmen fanfare. We all have. Then why are we so terrified of leaving?
I feel like part of this reason is because we all feel a pressure to “succeed.” We all want to make our parents and our friends proud, work hard and excel in our field and to do good deeds for Christ. We all want to achieve this success, but have no idea what “success” means or where to start. This ambiguity is what is so terrifying.
Our first reaction is to follow the path of people we see as successful. The unfortunate fallacy is that often the people we deem successful – the Bill Gates and Billy Grahams of the world – wouldn’t call themselves successful.
Success seems to be the carrot on the stick that our western culture uses to encourage us to be constantly self-improving. It seems to encourage us to get a good job, work for a promotion, start our own company, start a charity or raise a happy, healthy family in a safe neighborhood. But no matter what we do, success is always just out of reach. Consider the following thought exercise:
Let’s say I got married and had twins. I have a nice wife, a loving family and a fun job at a koala sanctuary. I would feel pretty successful for a while. But then I would feel like in order to be truly successful, I need a better job, so I can buy a house for my family.
So I get a job at Google and am making so much money that I can order a Venti at Starbucks without feeling guilty. Again, I feel successful. After a few weeks, I’ll see a Facebook post of a friend who runs an orphanage for disabled children in Africa and I will say to myself, “That – that’s success.”
So I use the money I’ve earned to start a homeless shelter in my city. How rad is that? Again, I’m feeling super successful.
Now all these things I’ve done are good things, but I’ve done them for the wrong reasons. This cycle of “self improvement” would just continue to be propagated by my discontentment of my current “level of success” and I would never be satisfied.
See why what I mean now by “success doesn’t exist?” It’s not a real thing that can be achieved. However, what I should really say is “personal success doesn’t exist.”
For Christians, though, a true success does exist.
Success happened for us when Christ died for our sins and conquered death. Success is his and that’s why we worship him: for bringing us that ultimate success. We have been cleansed of sin and will spend eternity with God. God has given us that success as a gift and nothing we could ever do could add or take away from that ultimate success.
How freeing is that? I hope that you can find comfort in this relative insignificance of your life. That being said, what you do in your life is incredibly important. A Christian’s purpose in life is to, in all situations both big and small, always choose the option that he or she believes glorifies God the most. If this is your foremost priority, you will not fail.
Garrett McCurrach is a junior at Oklahoma Christian University.
The opinions of guest columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Talon or Oklahoma Christian University. Guest opinions are presented to foster public debate on important topics and comments should be respectful and signed.