Today’s article was originally published by the Student Support Program in September 2015 — read the full version here — and Brother Chuck described what it was like to go back to school after having the summer to slow down and reconnect with God. We think the same goes for a long, luxurious winter break, too. If you need a little something extra as you’re heading back to school or work, this one’s for you.
September can be a month of forgetfulness. We can forget how we felt at camp. We can forget how we renewed our relationship with God throughout the past few months. We can forget to study the scriptures while we are up to our necks in school work. To combat this temporary amnesia, I have three life lessons we can apply to our lives to strengthen our relationship with ourselves, with each other, and, most importantly, with the Lord.
Lesson 1: Remember Who You Are
The new school year brings new people into our lives. New people bring different opinions of what is right and wrong. New opinions make us reconsider the personal beliefs we have held for so long. Mufasa’s famous words from “The Lion King” should ring true in our hearts: We must remember who we are.
As Simba looked deeply into his reflection in the water, he saw his father come down from the sky to remind him who he is. How often does the Lord remind you personally? In what ways does He speak to you? You are a child of the one true King. Do not let others negatively influence the way you think. Remember who you are.
Lesson 2: Be Content
Recently, I have been reading about body images in both men and women. Not surprisingly, even though body image issues are more commonly reported from women, men suffer with body image issues just as much as women. Due to mass media, celebrities, and the latest health trends, most of us have a convoluted idea of how men and women should look.
High school and college is an excellent breeding ground for comparing ourselves unhealthily against other people. Is she prettier than I am? Why can’t my face be as clear as his? We compare ourselves endlessly to other people, and in the process, we beat ourselves up.
We need to stop these comparisons. God calls us to a higher calling than this. In Philippians 4:11, we’re reminded, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” God is telling us in whatsoever state we are in to be content.
Comparing ourselves with others feeds our human desire to feel deficient in some way. God did not make us to feel deficient in any way; rather, we are made whole through Jesus Christ.
Lesson 3: Never Stop Growing
Chia pets have always fascinated me. When you first take the chia pet out of the box, you wait with baited breath as the first sprouts of green start to appear. Before your very eyes, hair starts coming out of your pet with a vengeance. You watch and watch, never realizing one day the growth will stop and all of the sprouts will die.
I have acted like a chia pet at certain seasons of my life. Throughout summer vacation, I grow as fast as I ever have. I am studying the scriptures, looking forward to Wednesday night services, and praying throughout the day and before bed every night. But as the school year creeps into my life, the habits I made in the summer slowly start to fade away.
I grew with uncontrollable energy in the summer, but when the school year started, the growth began to slow until all of my sprouts died. God doesn’t want us to be like the seeds that fell on the stony ground. In Matthew 18, Jesus tells us of seeds that sprang up quickly, but when the heat of the day came upon them, they withered up and died because they were unable to take root in the ground.
Don’t let the heat of the semester wither away your passion for the Lord. Hold onto your summer growth and continue to grow throughout the school year. Never stop growing.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.