Have you heard the phrase, “In a world where you can be anything, be kind?” I ran into this phrase over and over again as I was trying to decide what path I wanted to walk through academically. For a few years now, I have been toying with the idea of achieving a degree. My initial thought was that a degree in Medical Administration would be ideal. Since my husband is about to finish his master’s degree as a Nurse Practitioner and possibly open his own practice, a Medical Administration degree would be practical and fit into our family goals. I could then stencil the phrase “In a world where you can be anything, be kind” into “our office” lobby and make it “our office” mantra. I even visualized the billboard, “Hernandez and Associates, spreading kindness one patient at a time.”
I talked it over with my husband, leaving out our billboard, which would be a discussion for another time. My husband patiently listened to my musings and responded with a great question, “Are you interested in the medical field?” I sadly knew the answer and mumbled a soft, “no.” I had to rethink my plan.
“Seek ye the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously and He will give you everything you need.” (Matthew 6:33)
In the spring of 2017, I was asked to give a talk at an ecumenical women’s retreat on the subject of Ideals: What are they? How do we achieve them? How do we know they are authentic? I accepted the challenge, not truly understanding that the result of writing the talk would alter my life forever. In my research I had the opportunity to revisit my past and look at the ideals and dreams I had set for myself in my youth: be a teacher, be a successful wife, and a good mom. At the retreat, I spoke candidly about not having a college education, career burn out, and infertility.
Growing up, I used my natural talents to the best of my ability. I exercised tenacity and ingenuity to achieve career goals, but that only took me so far. I knew I needed to further my education as an adult yet, I never considered myself smart enough to achieve a degree. I was an average grade student in high school. Through the years I saw friends and family graduate college and live out their dreams. I was proud of them but struggled to visualize myself going through the process.
After speaking at that retreat in 2017, I felt a rekindled desire for teaching. The kindling turned into a flame for reading God’s word, then interpreting it into life applications, and writing them into short stories.
“This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:6-7)
God showed me that my youthful idyllic dreams were still possible. They just look different than what I first imagined. Through Christ, I CAN achieve a degree if I simply take the first step and believe.
I proceeded to ask myself questions like: “What am I passionate about?” “What endeavor do I want to pursue the rest of my life?” I knew the answer to both of those questions wholeheartedly. “GOD!” So I personalized the phrase I kept hearing, “In a world where you can be anything, be kind” to “in a world where I can be anything, I choose to be His.” This led me to now being, a college student enrolled in a Christian school with a focus in Biblical Studies.
In my first reading assignment, I was asked to reflect on Ephesians 5:5-17:
“So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.” (Ephesians 5:15-17)
It would have been foolish of me to attach myself to my husband’s career path knowing that I don’t have a passion for it. So, here I am, a forty-two-year-old freshman, falling through the proverbial looking glass into the world of academia. I am looking forward to unearthing my learning potential, while leaning into a God I know is bigger than anything I can ever imagine, and expecting to grow in areas I never thought were possible.
Father you are so good to us. Every good and perfect thing comes from you. Help us to reignite passions that we have quenched. Help us to pick up gifts we have shelved. We can do all things through you, the giver of our strength. Amen.