I went to my bedroom on the night of November 17, 2013 with every intention of simply going to sleep like any other night. Instead, I changed, turned off the light, and then…just sat there.
For an hour and a half.
Just me and my thoughts.
That one night radically altered the trajectory of my future, and now I’m transferring from Washington State University to Central Washington University because of it. Now let’s rewind a little ways and see why that night was so impactful…
I came to WSU in the fall of 2013 with the vision that it would provide me with a more memorable college experience than I had been getting from its satellite campus, WSU-Vancouver, over the previous year. The Vancouver campus is a commuter school, which means that people drive up there, go to class, and then go home. I yearned for more interaction and close relationships than it could offer me, and felt that, frankly, I was wasting my college years.
This prompted me to move to Pullman, WA to seek memories, stories, and connections over the next three years. Little did I know that I would certainly get those things, but in a very different way than what I was expecting.
I arrived on August 4th, and God immediately started working in my heart and hasn’t stopped ever since. He surrounded me with a community of people my age who were on fire for Jesus, and I started viewing my life in a completely different way. My relationship with God started to become paramount to any urges I might have to party, to seek attention from girls, or to pursue a career just for the sake of making as much money as possible.
That’s certainly not to say those things weren’t temptations. More than ever, they were. But God put such a strong community into my life that was willing to keep me accountable and offer encouragement every single day.
As I went about my new life in Pullman, I would hear some people talk about planting a church in Ellensburg every now and then. It was one of those things that always struck me as cool for other people to do, but I never considered it an option for myself and would quickly dismiss any notion that I might transfer schools to be a part of it.
So, what happened on November 17th?
It really was just like any other Sunday: I came in the morning to help set up our equipment in Todd Auditorium, sat there during the service, helped put the equipment back, went to lunch with some of the setup team, and then hung out for the rest of the day doing homework (…okay, maybe I didn’t do any homework. Don’t tell Mom). Nothing out of the ordinary happened.
But then, like I mentioned, I started the process of hitting the hay. I sat down in my room to relax for a few minutes before climbing into bed, but my mind had other ideas. For the next hour and a half, I started envisioning what it would look like for me to be a part of the team that would move to Ellensburg. I thought about all the possibilities, all the people I could have an impact on, all the ways that I could help Resonate as they plant their first church outside the Palouse.
I finally got to sleep that night, but over the next couple of days I just couldn’t shake the thought of me transferring to CWU. I didn’t have a “snapping point,” but I slowly developed from thinking “this is something that intrigues me,” to thinking “I’ve never felt called by God to do something before…but I think this is what it feels like.”
When I started to begin the process of reconciling with myself that this was actually a possibility for my life, it was one of the scariest, most invigorating, and confusing times I’ve been through.
“How am I going to afford it?”
“Who cares, this is gonna be so amazing!”
“But, WHY do I even want to do this?”
The vision I had for my college experience was being swiftly shoved into a closet and replaced with a greater vision for these next two or three years of my life. And – slowly – that started to become okay with me.
After all, isn’t that what the Great Commission is all about? Matthew 28:19 — “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations [and universities], baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…”
As a follower of Jesus, I have a desire to make His name known among people who don’t have a hope in the greatest of all hopes, and I believe that I can do that most effectively among college students. If that requires me to lay down my vision for my life for a much, much greater vision, then bring it on.
Do I ever feel sad that I’m not returning to Pullman next year? Yes. Sometimes the thought makes me nearly nauseous and my knees get a little weak.
Do I feel prepared to go to help plant a church when I still lead a broken life that needs His grace everyday? Not at all. But if we wait to spread the gospel until we are perfect, there will never be an utterance of His name.
Am I scared of this next year? You bet. It’s gonna be intense. But through it all, there’s no doubt in my mind that this is the right decision for me and for His Kingdom.