Shortly before I left for college, my family and I spent a week in a cute beach house in Port Aransas, Texas. We were a short walk from the beach, and spent days playing in the waves and relaxing by the pool.
At one point during the week, my dad reminded my sisters and I that our week at the beach could potentially be our last Payne family vacation. He challenged us to go through the rest of the week focusing not on the what of things, but on the why. Our vacation was full of whats. The beach, the house, the ventures into ‘town.’ And it was easy to get caught up in what we were doing, and even easier to forget why we were doing it.
Ultimately, the purpose of our trip to Port Aransas was a way to get away from our daily routines and spend time growing closer together in an intentional way. And honestly, sometimes we didn’t do that very well. Sometimes we lost sight of that purpose; sometimes we became too focused on the what.
Now, a few weeks later, I am sitting in Lynchburg, Virginia, and remembering that conversation. And as I look around my campus-my home-I can recognize a lot of the whats. Textbooks and classes and meal swipes, dinner with friends and the quiet moments between rush hours. I can also recognize that at Liberty, the why is deeply engrained in the school; the professors are dedicated to relating each course towards the mission of creating Champions for Christ, and the goal of glorifying God is entwined in the events around campus. Students are constantly encouraged and mentored to pursue God and strive to glorify Him in all their actions.
But I have learned over the past two weeks that ultimately it doesn’t matter how focused my school is on glorifying God. It doesn’t matter that the student body seems alive with spiritual energy during convocation, or that my professors are dedicated to aligning their courses with Christ, if I am not stepping into those places with a heart and mind prepared and focused on glorifying God on my own.
I have heard a lot of people talking about revival in the past few years. Church and group leaders declare a desire for revival to begin in their congregation. I believe that a community cannot fully glorify the King if the individuals within that community are not experiencing a personal, intimate revival in their own relationship with the Lord. And although many of my classmates and professors may have that, they cannot make the decision for me. Simply being around them is not enough to start a revival in my soul.
Before I came to Liberty, I thought it would be easy to schedule quiet time with the Lord. I built up my life here to be one full of intentionality and personal connection with God and with other believers. And it can be; but it isn’t the place or people that make that decision. That decision rests on me alone.
So here’s to choosing intentionality and connection this year, and actually following through on that choice. Here’s to focusing on the why, and dedicating my days to glorifying God.