When I heard that Jeff Myers was the first speaker of the semester, I was excited because I enjoyed him so much at the summer session. During his time here, I learned so much about myself.
In one of the first classes, we talked about “voca,” the Latin word for vocation. People in this day and age do not know what they are living for. However, we, as Christians, know what we are living for and who we are living for.
C.S Lewis said, “There are no ordinary people.” Everyone has a story, and God uses every one of us to build his kingdom. I sometimes forget that when people say that he is using each one of us, he is also using me. This was a great reminder.
After this, we talked about the three different acts of a story. In the first act, the characters are in their normal life, then there is conflict in the second act, and then there is a resolution to the conflict in the third act. From this point, Dr. Jeff asked us to go write our stories, but in a condensed way that we could share in 3 minutes. I was a little scattered-minded. I don’t think I had ever sat down and written it like that, and it was so cool to slow down and write my story out. I have always thought that I did not have a good story, but doing this exercise showed me that there are different things that God used in my life to shape my faith. I think often we can’t see God’s work at the moment, but when we look back with a bird’s eye view, God is so good.
Dr. Jeff also talked about the idea of gratitude. Being grateful is something that I struggle with, especially at the moment. He was talking to us about how there have been so many studies that show that more grateful people live happier lives. This makes so much sense, but it can be hard to do. Many teachers in my Christian education have told me to be grateful and to write down things I am grateful for, but they never made me do it. After Dr. Jeff talked about why we should be grateful, he then had us write a list of 50 people to be grateful for. When we write our gratitude lists in our daily life, we most likely write the people in our life right now, but we also need to think about the people who helped us get to where we are now. People throughout our lives have shaped us either positively or negatively.
At first, this was so hard. I had written the names of my family, then my friends, and I still had 25 slots left. I had to think so far back because I was thinking about who truly did impact me. By the time I got to 50, it was cool to see all the people in my life who truly shaped me. I would not have otherwise remembered that one girl from church four years ago or that guy that I sat next to in science freshman year. It was so cool to see even the people who were not in my life for that long have had such a big impact on me.
Dr. Jeff also talked about the idea of transforming followers. While talking about this, he brought up 7 points:
- Authority principle: Jesus operated in total obedience to God.
- Anointing principle: Jesus operated in his anointing, keeping him focused on his true mission.
- Expectation principle: Jesus showed brotherly love to his followers, and this helped his followers succeed.
- Intercession principle: Jesus interceded for them, and by doing this, he kept them from destruction.
- Trust principle: Jesus trusted God for the outcome.
- Relationship principle: Jesus walked with his disciples, sharing life with them.
- Character principle: Jesus focused on deepening the character of his disciples.
I have always been told to follow Jesus’s character, imitate him, and walk like him. When Dr. Jeff laid out these principles, it was so helpful. These principles clearly show how Jesus lived and equipped his followers. One of the biggest things that all these points have in common is that they have other first, not me first, mindset. We, as Christ’s followers, need to put others first.
In a world that is so self-centered, we need to look different from the world in this way. In a world so opposed to Christianity, we, as Christians, need to be knowledgeable.
There are always things that we can learn and ways to grow in our knowledge. There is never a point where we are done learning, whether in a biblical or a worldly field. Knowledge is so powerful and can go so far. My biggest takeaway from this portion of the class was that I want to grow in my knowledge. I want to understand and be passionate about what I know. God gave us incredible minds which can grow and know more about the world he created. That is so cool to think about! Dr. Jeff told us to go and make a list of 20 things I know I need to know but do not know to be successful. This exercise made me see that I have so much room to grow. To most people, that would not be encouraging, but to me, it was. To be able to see that I can learn so much and that I don’t know it all was humbling and needed.
Gabby Gonzales is from Parker, Colorado, about thirty minutes south of Denver. She is excited to experience the Semester community and to engage in deep thinking. A fun fact about Gabby is that she did Scottish dancing for five years.