Why: A Confession of Biblical Daughterhood7:30 AM
Many people, no doubt, birth a question mark in their minds when they ask me where I’m off to college. Perhaps it’s because I fumble for an answer—both to them and to myself. Perhaps it’s because my answer is so radical; oh, very radical—I cringed to hear myself try to explain it without looking idiotic and brainless. But I think, if any woman (they’ve all been women) asks that question and then secretly ask in their minds Why?, it’s not because my answer is so very radical at all. I think, deep down, we both know it’s a very rational answer, a very logical, practical answer, an answer that fulfills women’s needs and broadens their horizon. The frightening thing is, I am willing to act upon it. To both my questioner and myself, it’s a defiance against the culture.
I have chosen to forego college.
Not forego education, mind. My very soul was shaped to thirst for wisdom, to learn, grow and live out what I had been taught. I am first and foremost a disciple. My greatest tool is Why?. And continually I employed it while I struggled to make this decision: why, Bailey, why? what reason? what goal?
I knew this would separate me from the culture at large; I knew it. I knew it would separate me from other young ladies I admired, talented women, my best friends, my role models in other respects. I knew.
But now I know. I now don’t ask myself Why? but tell others why. This is a confession. I do not claim any universal application; I don’t wish to create a new doctrine or a new box. I merely feel ready to face the critics, for I am satisfied in Christ.
First of all, I have no desire for the careerist world. A job, yes, a place in this world; but such a decision should not be based on what the culture defines as “productive” or “worthy.” I wish to be a homemaker—and that’s saying a lot. As such, no degree necessary for me.
Yet I wanted to learn. Earnestly. I wanted to be where the next generation flocked in scores to study and discuss and revolutionize the culture. Presently, that think tank is the Christian college campus. That chance of full academic immersion, that promise of meeting new people and new ideas and forging lasting friendships (and, I must admit, an MRS degree wasn’t too fantastical in such an already heavenly environment)—that all appealed to me.
Reality proved different than fantasy. College costs—big time. The closest Christian college was a two-hour drive from home. Four years is a very long four years of a girl’s unmarried life, specially for one willing to happily marry young. But the biggest deterrent? Me. I didn’t believe myself ready—not at seventeen, eighteen. I personally had friendship problems, boy troubles, times of depression and faulty thinking. I find myself prone to joylessness, and when I do find joy and purpose, it’s often because my foundation shifted.
One would think that’d be enough to settle the argument; but I’m female, and I have reasons beyond reason.
At first I blamed my dissatisfaction and deep confusion on my former homemaking goals. Why? I asked. What’s wrong with college? Does the Bible really say a girl should stay home anyway? Who says I can’t be that “exception”? Inch by inch I fell for a lie that went beyond merely the college versus no college question. I became bitter. I lost my vision. It was a question of me versus God—I knew in my heart that if I was truly obedient to His will for my life, college was out of the question. It angered me, for I wanted it so badly. I went against all reason and all advice.
But it left me blind and broken. Surfing through college websites only pacified my passion for a moment before it flamed up again, more confusing and more purposeless.
Unconsciously I turned the gun on my newfound ideals of purpose, fulfillment and education. Why? What’s so great about college? Does the Bible support this vision? Who says you are the “exception”?
The Lord answered me. Now bear in mind that my circumstances are personal and unique and not necessarily applicable to everyone; but here is what I found.
Economically, foregoing college was wisest. Again, a degree wasn’t necessary for my job, and thousands of dollars to sit in with the think tank boasted a ridiculously high price tag. Either I and/or my husband would be left to foot the bill—and in this economy, debt is a hard master. Education is priceless, but did the college campus claim the monopoly of education?
Emotionally, foregoing college was wisest. College students still have a long way to go on maturity, no matter how bright, how strong, how “ahead” they are in relation to others. On the flipside of the think tank were the regular temptations young people face—lust, doubting, friendship troubles, irresponsibility (ever hear a student talk about his dorm room?). We cannot forever be tied to home, but if eighteen-years-old is the first taste of freedom, I’d rather have a safer environment to test my wings before I am left to troubleshoot on my own.
Practically, foregoing college was wisest. At college, women are not necessarily directed toward home and family. Certainly they may preach with all their power about homemaking and wifehood and motherhood, but practically, that is not enforced. Whether one is discouraged in homemaking is not necessarily my point: it’s more that most women marry and bear children, and a few years in the workforce enabled by a degree is merely a dint in the years of wifehood and motherhood. One of my mentors noted that almost, if not all, women students who came through her house over the years are now married and raising children and/or serving in ministry with their husbands.
A college campus is not a home life no matter how you cut it: away from my father, I would be unable to practice submission; away from my mother, I would have no mentorship in homemaking skills; away from my family (lots of younger siblings), I would have no opportunity to forge skills in childrearing, homeschooling and even the mundane fruits of self-control, patience and love without bounds. The college campus gears young women more for an independent lifestyle, more isolated in the ivory tower of academe from that which makes women women.
Responsibly, foregoing college was wisest. Four years in an institution of learning is heaven, but the world has not yet passed away. There’s real life to be lived—real experience to be gained, real problems to be confronted. Who better to confront them than a passionate young woman fresh out of highschool, who still has vision and energy and total freedom to devote herself to the Lord? For me, that life of service (to my family foremost, then to my church and further to my world) is the best use of my freedom. That college age is one of the most crucial times of influence to younger generations—I ought to know, for my friends and I revolve around the college-age people who invest in our lives. To even touch upon the whole host of things one can minister to, speak out about and seek to change would require a whole different series. It all comes with thinking outside the box—thinking Biblically and with vision.
My life is not waiting to happen, nor is my education. I vow to live life now, to educate myself now—all for the glory of God. That definitive why was the reason beyond reason. I am satisfied.
--written about a year ago, after a long struggle with college decisions