Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Being Consumed by School
  • I know many of you will scroll down reading this and disregard it. BUT I beg of you, give me your thoughts.

                                                                                    ~
    As we get older, we start seeing school in a different light. It is no longer a means of oppression that our parents and society have imposed on us --although some still see it that way--but we begin to see it as time of equipping our minds with the necessary knowledge for that position in society that we plan to hold.
    God has placed the opportunity for a higher education in our lives and we are to be faithful to it.

    But what happens when you become too faithful to it?
    When you start feeling like a robot whose mind is constantly inundated with the obligations and anxieties of school.
    What happens when your relationship with God dries up and you become nominal with Him?
    What happens when you're always on high-alert that you simply cannot still your mind?
    What happens when you feel like time is running away from you and you're chasing it?

    I refuse to believe that God would put any one of us in a situation where it was impossible to see Him. What I'm trying to say is that I don't believe the institution of God would be a part of any of our lives if being in it was incompatible with being with God.

    So there must be a way. In fact, because school is such a big part of all of our lives, I'm convinced that God sees it as a place were our spiritual lives can thrive, not merely survive.

    I would like thoughts please. Anything would be greatly appreciated.

    Also, if ya'll know any good Christian literature that speaks about this, do share!

    ~Agape~
  • I, unlike many thinkers of our church, I oppose the idea of school as "worship" as I heard through some sermons. if anything no matter how important it is parts us from God, then we do not need it. I'm not saying drop out of school, but if school becomes a priority, then you don't deserve God!

    now the question is, whose more important, school or God?! unfortunately, the answer unconsciously, not matter how much we convince ourselves otherwise, its School (I capitalized it, because I'm replacing god, with School!) god has become useless... he is nothing, he is a mere figment of our imagination. School the almighty exists, It is there for me at all time, through It I will have a future, I will be happy, School has become my bright future!

    my beloved, who is your god? our God is a jealous God... He does not like a companion in worship... now who is  your GOD?!

    compared to school, how many hours did you give to God through your week? an hour, two hours?! how many hours did you give to your almighty School? 20 hours 30 hours? see the difference?

    we have fallen in a problem where God is mere nothing... and School has become our lives. the only answer or solution I can give you is find a way to balance your life, you might succeed in your career, but you will not succeed in your spirituality, if your career parts you from God, then pluck it out! I would rather be a homeless bum and live with God, then be the most sophisticated man rotting in hell.

    but the wise is he who can keep the balance, stay in school and keep his/her relationship with God alive. again let me make myself clear, I'm not telling you drop out of school, but rather I'm telling you keep balance and know who is your priority!
  • Thank you for tht very insightful response.

    Of course,  anything that parts us from God should be cut off immediately. A sinful habit shouldn't be negotiated with- it should be cut off.
    But I see school as being in that gray area. We can't rule it out as something that drives us away from God because, like you said, a balance should be reached.

    What I'm trying to figure out is how to make that balance.
    I can give time to God and sacrifice hanging out with friends in order to keep up with school and God. But sometimes I feel like the stresses from school take a toll on one's mind, so that even when you do make time to pray, it's not the same as when you pray during a carefree summer evening.. If that makes sense.
  • When Pope Kyrollos put the eskim on Tamav Iriny, she told him that there's no way she could possibly finish all her work, and still complete such a great prayer canon! Pope Kyrollos replied and said "Your work is prayer".

    When you study, don't do it with your own strength, but take strength from God through prayer, to complete your work.

    In prayer, we always ask God that we may do His will. For many of us, such as you and I, it is God's will that we be students! Therefore, this is the first step to reaching our goal in Christ.

    God give you strength and pray for me a sinner,
    Monasticsx
  • Monasticsx,
    Thank you for your reply.

    But let me ask you, should we pursue our spiritual and academic lives with the same vigor?
  • My father of confession told me that when we go through different phases of life, we have to expect changes that can potentially get in the way of our relationship with God, but we must be able to adapt to it.

    Take for example someone who is in their second semester of senior year of college versus someone in their graduate school. One first student can wake up at 10 AM if he pleases, attend relatively easy classes for a few hours during the day, and have off the entire rest of the day, depending of course on how this student set up his/her schedule. On the other hand, the graduate student most likely has a much more rigorous path with more rigorous requirements, probably requiring him/her to wake up much earlier, spend more time in classes, and more time studying (just to use a personal example of an extreme: I am a medical student and I just finished my surgical rotation. For 8 weeks I was required to wake up at 4:30 AM every morning to get to the hospital by 5:15AM, and I usually didn't get home until 6 or so, and then I would have to study for an hour or two. It was an amazing experience and so much learning/studying happened, but needless to say it was tough and took ALOT more time than anything I had done before)

    I don't think it would be wise to say that God wills us all to go to college but doesn't will anyone to go to any stressful and difficult academic route. On the contrary, God has given people gifts of knowledge and understanding, and His will for them is to pursue a career of higher education, and it is important to use that gift. I think though that if you are blessed with free time, make the most of it and try to give a bit more time to God than if you were completely busy. And when you find yourself in a situation where your studies are impeding on your relationship with God, it's necessary to adapt (WITH THE GUIDANCE OF YOUR FATHER OF CONFESSION). Granted I don't know your exact situation, but maybe the ways you are trying to connect to God, for example, your prayer routine, is more difficult because of your studying (I don't think someone who was praying the entire agpeya and tasbeha every day can keep that up with any rigorous study plan). In that situation I think it's important to differentiate if you are truly unable to pray due to your studying (in which case maybe a different prayer routine may be necessary, of course again under the guidance of your FOC), or if it is a temptation from the devil, of which case I would say to continue and push through it, and God will bless your relationship with Him, as the harder it is, the more your reward will be when you succeed I like to think.

    I think it's really important to remember that God is always in control, and that He is the one who guides us and blesses our paths, especially when we study. There's a nice prayer (found in iCoptic) to be said before studying, and one sentence reads, "For I study, not for the sake of knowledge, nor for the sake of my future, but for Your sake. However, I commit to my studies so that everyone may know that Your children are successful vessels and valuable tools".

    The last thing I want to say is always what we need is a stronger relationship with God. The stronger and firmly rooted our relationship with Him is, the more we are able to connect to Him regardless of the situation around us. Those saints who reached the highest levels of spirituality were able to pray few words, but from the depths of their hearts, and their minds were constantly on God, no matter what they were doing. This is of course a state that most people can't reach, and so that's why we struggle, but I think the struggle helps us to grow.

    Definitely talk with your father of confession, as he can help a lot, as I'm sure he has a perspective of the situation that someone on the inside cannot grasp.
  • Markh113,
    Your response was absolutely beautiful and enlightening.

    I did speak to my Foc, and he was of the same mindset. Oftentimes we compartmentalize our lives. But the real challenge and the real spiritual growth comes when everything becomes connected and all your tasks are you immersing yourself in Christ.
    As poetic as that sounds, it is very true.
    I think you're right to say that our spiritual lives take on a different form; short prayers from the heart suddenly give off the effect of many words.

    Thanks to all who contributed. I was edified by all of your responses.
  • That was excellent, I just want to thank all of you, for serving as a reminder to myself that all aspects of my life (especially the often thought stand-alone school part) should work together, to grow in Christ.
    I don't like the regular answer that many FoC's give, that you should get good grades so that people see Christians are smart. But I really enjoyed the messages you wrote, about how school, if we are in the right mindset and have open hearts, can work to bring us to God. 
    I had soon forgotten that, and had begun getting angry, upset and anxious about school work, when I came upon this and reminded myself that God has not brought me all this way to leave me.

    Love in Christ
  • Neighbor,
    I'm glad you were edified by the wonderful responses above! Indeed this is something that I personally need to remind myself of daily.
  • I do not understand why Egyptians, at least many of them, insist on being insanely busy. I try to be the exact opposite.


Memorial for HH Pope Shenouda

Share |