Spiritually, I went to church every weekend, was part of a Christian sorority, and prayed most nights, even if I did fall asleep halfway through most of them. I wasn't out partying, didn't do drugs, and was saving sex for marriage. Surely a good Catholic, right? The problem is that while it may have looked like I had it all together from a worldly perspective, I was so spiritually thirsty. I was so focused on my own personal success that I wasn't giving my time to the Lord, and I was not working to grow in faithfulness.
Don't get me wrong, I absolutely believe that we should work hard and strive to do our best. However, there's a big difference between working for your own success versus trying to glorify God through your actions. God wants our light to shine before others, but only so that it will turn people towards him, not us (Matthew 5:14-16).
So, if I had the chance to go back, I would make time with God my priority. I would give him my first instead of my last. I would be more intentional about my extracurricular activities. I would ask myself, am I doing this for my own success, or am I doing this to be faithful to God and what I believe he is calling me to do? I would spend more time praying for spiritual direction and guidance and less time planning all the activities I thought might benefit me. I would spend more time being and less time doing. I would spend more time focusing on building my Christian relationships with others rather than building up my resume.
The good thing is that life is a work in progress, and I can always learn from my mistakes. I'm still learning how to prioritize, and I still don't always make God my number one everyday, but I'm certainly working on it more. I feel like I have my heart and intentions in a better place than I did in college. I'm also learning how life is so, so much better when I give God my first rather than my last. I think this quote from Proverbs speaks not just of wealth, but the firstfruit of everything we have or do in life: "Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine" (Proverbs 3:9-10). When I give my time and energy first and foremost to God, he fills me up spiritually and emotionally, in a way that a million worldly accomplishments never could. When I seek God first, all other things are provided for me by him (Matthew 6:33).
Colossians 3:23 says "Whatever, you do, do from the heart, as for the Lord, and not for others." If I could go back in time, that would be my motto through college. I would seek to please God alone, not others (especially including myself). So that, along with the quote, "I do not pray for success, I ask for faithfulness," will be what I will continue to strive for in life. I want to live for God, and not for me.
"What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?"
Is there anything you would have done differently in college?