These thoughts come from the perspective of one who has already attended a supposedly Christian college in ’09-’10 – pursuing a cello performance major. I studied under a cellist from Juilliard and was chosen to be an RA for the following year. Nonetheless, I am deeply grateful to the Heavenly Father for leading me out of college.May the insights gained from a rough ride on those waves encourage you as you, too, choose the way out of the tsunami, aboard a lifeboat headed home…
There is no hope for you when you are swimming in a tsunami. You may think you’ll never be caught in a tsunami but many unsuspecting students find themselves in a type of tsunami at college. Most colleges today pound students’ faith, pander to their self-centeredness, submit them to high stress levels and devastate their relational purity.
Liberal thinkers have crafted most colleges today into tsunamis that surge against the faith of students. Though Christian students swim tenaciously for a while, statistics show that most of them do not stand a chance against the tsunami, but emerge robbed of their foundational Biblical beliefs. Why is the college tsunami so effective in tearing down faith? The structure of the tsunami that has swept even onto Christian campuses is designed by the enemy to batter a student’s relationships, body, spirit and mind. In so doing, that four-fold assault often sabotages the very areas in which believers are commanded to love and obey Yahweh (“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength”).
Dorm life tempts the body, as young ladies fall into giving their hearts to young men as a result of being out from under their parents’ authority and as a result of finding themselves under a roof with free access to young men at all hours. Destruction of students’ spirits is the aim of the second attack wave, as rock music, alcohol and drugs are readily available and talked about incessantly. The college tsunami’s most powerful tactical wave assaults the mind. Academic criticism of Scripture causes doubt to take the place of belief as so-called “contradictions” are one-sidedly presented. A student thinks, “I don’t really believe that, but I’ll store it away in my mind to study why I don’t believe it later, when I have time.” The problem is, “later” is often an entire nine months later, when summer finally arrives.
College assignments are so absorbing that there is no extra time; consequently those false assumptions are allowed occasionally to germinate in the mind for the length of a pregnancy. College life also fosters unhelpful habits such as a spirit of independence. Many a woman has commented later in life that this taste of independence eventually brought internal chafing when she had to submit as a married wife. The idea of independence is unrealistic. All throughout life, people are designed to operate as part of a family – adapting to others’ needs, running decisions through authority structures, etc. The habit of independence leads to a self-centered life, one that avoids serving others when it’s inconvenient (which it always is).
Family life, on the other hand, forces one to get outside of oneself and have empathy for those around them. Narcissism while at college only leads to disillusionment when students graduate and find that the world doesn’t rotate around them. Another unhelpful habit that college cultivates is a lifestyle of stress. From morning ‘til night, one runs from one class to the next, hurriedly attempting to finish assignments just in time and cramming for exams. Chronic adrenaline surges can become so internalized as to make life after college continue to feel stressful! College conditions people to respond stressfully to demands. Productivity at home, on the contrary, is instinctively best accomplished with measured tread. College life promotes a habit of having relationships with peers almost exclusively. No real-world families with children and/or the elderly are present on campus to help remind students about lifetime priorities. To the contrary, college is a bubble of four years of unreality. The absence of wise elders in young people’s lives is sadly felt as they aim more and more toward the lowest common denominator instead of growing through the wise counsel of those who have gone before.
Admittedly, college does have attractive benefits but not without costs that most often far outweigh them. When family and friends say, “You’re strong enough to keep your faith through college! You won’t become one of those statistics!”, how do we know? Satan fell from heaven and Eve fell from the Garden of Eden! Our hearts are deceitful and they seek excuses to sin. “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall,” warns 1 Corinthians 10:12. If we truly believe that college is often a type of Sodom, then longing for it could be as deadly for us as it was for Lot’s wife, when she looked back. Sodom, her home, was similar to college with all its attractions, stimulations and ventures into the thrills of the world. She must have despised what was ahead of her by comparison – life in a cave. It was when she doubted the value of her forthcoming life of hardship that she longed for the familiarity she had with the worldliness of Sodom – “the treasures of Egypt,” so to speak. She looked back when she stopped looking ahead to her reward.
We never fully know what great fallout hinges on our obedience. Perhaps it was more of a miracle that the rest of Lot’s wife’s family did not turn into a pillar of salt than that she did! Sulfur was pouring down from the heavens, likely petrifying every inhabitant of Sodom and Gomorrah into a pillar of salt, not just Lot’s wife. Could it be that while Lot’s family had their hearts set on obedience they were supernaturally protected but when his wife allowed the desire of her fleshly nature to guide her feet, God’s protection was removed? Think if Mrs. Lot had obeyed all the way and stayed master of her heart so that, “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead [she would have] pressed on toward the goal to win the prize for which God had called [her]” (Philippians 3:13-14). Sure, she would have still met with a dingy cave and “lacked cultural stimulation” (as we ourselves might be tempted to complain) but her influence could have united her family toward pursuing godliness if she had so chosen. Just her presence there would have saved them from the fruit of the calamitous strategizing of her daughters. Perhaps her motherly heart would have remembered the 318 mighty, godly men in Abraham’s nearby household (see Genesis 14:14) as marriage potential for her daughters.
History would have had a different outcome, had she not longed for Sodom. Different human beings would exist. Different nations would have resulted. Her moment of choice decided it all. When she let her heart long for the self-fulfillment offered by the world (which colleges across the globe use as tantalizing bait today), she paid the price. Her choice affected her family and the history of the world. Our decisions have no less impact. We may think we are the only people they affect but the Body of Yeshua is watching and hangs on us to choose rightly. Will we, as women, face home life that may appear to be a limited “cave” with joy and purpose or will we long for the transient fulfillment offered us by colleges and careers of Sodom? Often Yahweh does great things through people who find themselves in cave-like places as a result of obedience to his will. Consider Daniel in a den of lions, when it might have seemed to be the end of his life; Elijah in a cave, feeling like he was the only believer left; David hiding in caves from a king who wanted to take his life; and Yeshua, when it appeared to be the failure of His whole life that He was dead and buried in a cave. And yet the chronicle of faith in Hebrews 11 declares, “the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains and in caves and holes in the ground.”
It is okay, according to the sovereign Creator, that our lives have times of journeying through barren places, steep mountains of trial or dark caves that seem at first to have no outlet for expression or impact on the world. For, it is in the desert that we most cry out to God for Yeshua, the living water; and it is in that cave that we, like Elijah, are privileged to hear that still small voice of the Father. The dark place doesn’t last forever. There is eternal glory to follow. Our cave experience may come in the form of a fear that we can’t make a big impact on the world while we’re at home. But all of the fame-bringing actions that the world extols are really just little actions very similar to faithfulnesses at home. The only difference is that the former are done in the limelight. Which do you think will receive the greater reward in eternity, however? Without a doubt, the secret, silent little faithfulnesses will. In contrast, what becomes of the coveted fame? It is limited to earth, as Matthew 6:2-4 shows: “Truly I say to you, they have received their reward in full…” but it goes on to say about the little unseen faithfulnesses, “Then your Father, Who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”
There ‘tis. Let the world be impacted or not, as it chooses but let us be faithful. When our homes have received our full attention, then we can make the greatest impact on others on our turf (perhaps through hospitality), instead of the Enemy’s ground of opportunity for influence. We are in good company when we decide to make an exodus from the education of “Egyptian” institutions. Moses left his opportunities in Egypt, “Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Messiah greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward” as Hebrews 11:25-26 recounts. Moses could have received Egyptian training on speech-making (since he complained that he was not eloquent of speech in Exodus 4:10). He could have studied the history of past Pharaohs, taken architecture classes from the expert pyramid-designers, etc. But no, he left the tantalizing educational opportunities of Egypt and headed to the desert to be discipled one-on-one by the Creator. His decision resulted in the redemption of six million Israelites. Had he stayed under the instruction of the Egyptians, he likely would have begun to increasingly identify with them and think less and less highly of the ways of the God of Abraham. Imagine the cost to all of Yahweh’s people if Moses had allowed himself to be integrated into Egyptian thought and society! Instead, he woke up to the danger just in time and fled Egypt.
The eminent theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer (famous for his opposition efforts in Nazi Germany) made the statement: “If you board the wrong train it is no use running along the corridor in the opposite direction.” So what is the right “train” to be on? If we believe that home is the God-ordained place for young women to continue to grow after their formal education is completed, then how do we most effectively redeem the time at home? Frances Havergal, who wrote the hymn “Take My Life and Let It Be” once shared, “Every ‘kept from,’ should have its corresponding and still more blessed ‘kept for.’ We do not want our moments to be simply kept from Satan’s use but kept for His use; we want them to be not only kept from sin but kept for his praise.”
Turning from college does not imply that we are to also give up advanced education and the only way to perfect our talents. Skills are vitally important to bring glory to the Name of God. Excellence is a work’s glory. As Yahweh’s servants we must look for creative ways to develop our skills without necessarily following the cookie-cutter college-pressure pattern. We can look for training outside the liberal college package. As daughters at home, this often means switching our priorities from one specific goal (such as majoring in English, Biology, or music), to becoming capable in many areas, like a skilled First Lady in the White House. Jackie Kennedy was an exemplary First Lady. She was known for her strong communication skills and social graces. She is remembered for her excellent organizational skills and she is said to have personally tasted meals before important dignitaries arrived – instructing the cooks on how to improve tastes. As one news article stated, “Jackie elevated presidential entertaining into occasions imbued with culture. She personally choreographed every detail of state dinners so they would project the Kennedy image of vitality and sophistication.” This is the type of excellence to which we as stayat- home daughters should aim. It should be our goal to become confident and well versed in hospitality, sewing and cooking, to be knowledgeable about alternative health and to, in addition, excel in individual areas of academic interest around the edges.
Being at home should appear no narrower to us than it does to the First Lady in the White House.
We can take encouragement from the historical fact that Yeshua Himself stayed home, subjected to His earthly authority until he was thirty years old! He neither moved out on His own, nor went to college. He had to deal with family dynamics (can you imagine the sibling rivalry among at least four brothers and two sisters of His?) and carry the responsibility of their home business. He felt His call all through those 18 silent years of faithfulness at home. It burned within Him, yet He wasn’t released to fulfill it. When Yahweh said, “This is My son in whom I am well pleased,” Yeshua hadn’t done anything miraculous yet! But he had been obedient as a son at home, subjecting Himself to parental authority. And we think it stretches us to be at home, single when we’re in our 20’s? Yeshua did it! The Enemy desperately wants to get us young ladies out from the protection of our fathers’ homes. That is why we sometimes feel the draw to think that anywhere else would be more productive than being at home. He wants to destroy us and cannot access us as easily while we remain under authority.
Realizing this can help us feel validated at home and help us move on to be productive (have entrepreneurial businesses, ministries and exercise hospitality) from the hub of our home. Being a stay-at-home daughter in the 21st century carries a weight of pioneering, even though there have been only a few generations in which daughters sought careers. Before that, it was the norm for most of history for daughters to be productive from home. Breaking away from our cultures’ expectations and returning to the Biblical model is a challenge, though it brings great fulfillment. As the bio of two other stay-at-home daughters, the Botkin sisters, reads: “They delight in discovering… and in investigating the glorious and diverse opportunities open to young women at home.” May that increasingly become our delight too, as we abide in the shalom of being home.
~ Melanie (21) lives with her best friends, her mom and dad, in the Rockies of Colorado. An only child here on earth, she looks forward to meeting her nine siblings in Glory! She’d love to hear from you at www.chuckingcollege.com.
Her home business at http://www.pleasantpads.com blesses women nationwide with body-friendly, bio-friendly and budget-friendly linen feminine items.