Stepping out of the familiarity of home is an exciting but often challenging experience. That first step of becoming an independent adult is also the first step a lot of girls take in deciding who they want to be. Without the comfortability of home, a lot of young women are forced to decide things for themselves. Such as “will I go to church today,” “is it a good idea to go to that party,” and even simple things like “should I really eat Whataburger again this week?” From my experience, I’ve found that college is the time when people decide who they want to be. It’s the time when no one else is making your decisions for you. Without your church and support system back home keeping you accountable, you’re all of a sudden in charge of your own faith. That new responsibility was something I was not ready for. If you’re anything like me, I was very involved in my church back home. I had an amazing friend group who encouraged me in my faith and a family who attended church. However, when I moved to college I left all of those things behind, and my relationship with God fell solely on my shoulders. Although I was still trying to grow in my faith, I was too focused on clothing myself with worldly things to take care of my relationship with God that was now laid on my shoulders.
During that first year of college, I wanted all my accomplishments and involvements to define who I was. To decide my worth and status. How silly of me to think that my grades or leadership roles would better define me than the Creator of the universe. However, when it comes to getting that job or officer position, or even becoming a member of a sorority, we often let our resume decide who we are. Because that’s all anyone cares about right? I found myself putting on makeup to create a face that seemed happy and suitable all the time. I was dressing myself in my involvement in school and extra-curricular activities and was busy adorning myself in jewelry made of awards. Dear freshmen girls, these are not the things we should be wearing.
What we should be clothing ourselves in is the beauty of God rather than this false idea of beauty that this world has created for us. Let me tell you, it’s incredibly tempting to start comparing yourself to the girls around you. On a college campus there are plenty of other girls to compare yourself to. I don’t know about you, but I know that I often find myself trying to reach a standard that somehow became the world’s idea of beauty. Whether that’s waking up an extra thirty minutes earlier to make sure I have just enough time to perfect my hair like a girl I saw on social media or deciding to go to the gym just so I can look like that girl in the magazine, I found myself comparing my looks to others. First of all, who decided what “beauty” is? Why are we held to this standard that is here one day and changing the next? Well good news, we don’t have to be held to any standard. The true idea of beauty has nothing to do with outside looks. The true idea of beauty has been defined by a God who is constant and never changing. “Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised” (Proverbs 31:30). Your looks are fleeting. Scripture even says that what really matters, what really defines a woman, is her fear and faith in the Lord. In 1 Peter 3:3-4, Peter writes “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” Ladies, you don’t have to strive for a standard that the people around you have created. That will not matter on the day of judgement. It will not bring you that joy and acceptance you crave. God made you exactly how He wanted you to be. You are beautiful, perfect, and enough. In Ephesians 2:10 God calls you His masterpiece. Having a heart that desires God and His truth, a heart that longs to show His love to those around you… that’s true beauty. God created you, gave you certain abilities and gifts, to glorify Him. He loves you exactly as you are. No amount of achievements or accomplishments on this earth can beat that. In fact, all of those awards that you wear around your neck, all of those jewels that you let define you, mean nothing. “She is worth far more than rubies” (Proverbs 31:10). You are worth much more than your resume. I love how motivated you are to achieve greatness and success. But those awards mean nothing if we only use them to get ahead in this world. Let your awards bring glory to God, not yourself.
Now don’t get me wrong, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being involved in organizations and pushing to make good grades. In fact, the Bible tells us to not be lazy on several occasions. What traps us, however, is doing these things in an attempt to amplify our resume rather than amplifying the One who gives us the breathe to live. I found myself during my freshmen year doing things to please or impress others. Like the religious leaders and people during the time of Jesus’s death, I sometimes found myself loving human praise more than praise from God (John 12:43). Hearing a teacher or leader acknowledge your work feels amazing, but I realized a big reason I was choosing to be involved in all the different activities was because I was trying to build a resume to impress people. I was trying to climb a ladder that was never ending and led to nowhere. What I should have been doing was putting my focus on the real reason God gives us talents and passions. We are called to share the Gospel and love others. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13: 34-35). Its great to be involved and achieve great things here on this earth. But if we aren’t loving one another we have nothing (1 Corinthians 13:1-3). People can tell that you are different by the way you love. So while you’re joining organizations on campus or participating in a study group so you can ace that final, make your first priority is showing those around you God’s love. Use the gifts He’s given you to make a difference for His Kingdom. “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). Use the things you’ve written on your resume to share the love and truth of God. Don’t use them to try and replace your identity as a daughter of the King.
Ladies, I know it may seem like the most important thing in the world is to make sure you have the perfect dresses picked out for recruitment. I know it may seem like without a good resume you can’t achieve anything. But I promise you, those aren’t the things that matter. I’m not saying to not strive for greatness and do your best in everything you do. What I’m saying is don’t clothe yourselves with those things. Don’t let them define who you are. “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience… And over all these virtues put on love” (Colossians 3:12,14). When you start to clothe yourself with the wrong things, you begin to put pressure on yourself that was never meant for you. You can not do things on your own. Lean on our loving Father and let Him take control of your life. So take off that dress of accomplishments and throw away your jewelry of awards. Wipe off your makeup that forms you into who you think everyone wants you to be. Clothe yourself in the things of the Lord and relish in the free love and acceptance that Christ has been just dying to give you. Then, once we are clothed in the right things, the things that are good for the soul, we can use those things on our resumes for the right reasons. We can glorify God in all that we do and love and serve others through it all. So ladies, instead of preparing your wardrobe, prepare your hearts. Because the good Lord is ready to walk with you on your first steps into college and every day after that.
“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” Proverbs 31:25