Why: A Confession of Biblical Daughterhood

7:30 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

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15 impressions

  1. (*note* was this one of your "hopeful blog posts" you thought up in your head a year ago?? *grin*)

    Well...what can I say to all of that?

    Welp.

    Um.

    Words fail me m'dear. You must understand your sister is not eloquent in speech. *cough* And since you have strictly banned me from writing a comment in simple terms...

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  2. Do you think your (future) husband should go to college?

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  3. Well, I've been told I'm going to end up marrying a theologian or a professor...so yes.

    ;o)

    Seriously, if his path, his calling and his God leads him to go to college -- I wouldn't put up a fight about that. It's not my decision. I think, for various financial and practical reasons, everyone should reconsider college -- the brick-and-mortar kind, mainly. But I would say I have less of a problem with a man leaving his home to pursue education than a young woman, especially if that young lady wants to pursue a career in the home.

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  4. Oh Bailey! You are so amazing. I do believe that you will join the ranks of the many wonderful homemakers. And you are great at dealing with kids. I can never hope to be as great as you!

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  5. Why do you have less of a problem with young men than young ladies going to college?

    Everything you state in this post is as applicable to young men as to young ladies: Economically, emotionally, practically, responsibly. A college campus is not a home life. A young man, at an age in our culture when young men become recognised by our society as adults, should be practicing submission to and learning authority from his father and practicing expressing love toward his mother and siblings. This is hard to do if he is away at school. (I don't say impossible, because with God all things are possible.) Isolation in the "ivory tower of academe" seperates men from what makes them men as much as it seperates women from what makes them women.

    You must certainly have some gender specific reasons. I am curious as to what those are.

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  6. Bailey,
    I truly applaud your decision and your bravery. Standing against our culture is not easy even if you know that it is what God has called you to do. My prayers are with you.
    Mrs. Pyatskowit

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  7. Wonderful! I'm so glad that you decided to be a stay-at-home-mom! I believe it's the best job a woman can have - if it's God's will for her, of course.
    GOD BLESS!
    Anna

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  8. Maria -- I can only give God my heart and see how it goes. Homemaking (apart from the kiddoes) doesn't come very easily for me at all. At the heart of His will is the very best place to be -- don't give up, sister! *HUG*

    Thank you so much for your prayers, Mrs. Pyatskowit!

    Anna! *HUG* This post isn't so much about stay-at-home motherhood...because I'm not even sure I'm getting married...or if I do, if I'm having children. "Homemaker" might be a better title.

    I just had to nitpick that one point. Thank you, dear heart, for your encouragement!

    Tragedy101 -- There are two reasons why I would be more comfortable with the idea of a man going to college...and yup, they are gender specific.

    First, some careers require college degrees. Of course, the brick-and-mortar, ivory tower way isn't the only path to get to a career; but it's gonna be hard to become a doctor, for instance, without the hands-on college experience.

    As a means to an end, I think college may be the proper way to go for a man who feels called to a particular field. I would support that.

    The second reason is that I believe women should always be under the protection of either her father, her husband or a proper substitute in unique cases (with the exceptions of widows). But men were made to lead and be independent...so while they can't throw caution to the wind at the college campus, I do think that "independence" is more suitable for a man than a woman.

    But I would agree with you that isolation from a family, shut up in the ivory tower is not benefecial for anybody and if at all possible, it should be avoided. I just think there are better reasons for men to go to college than women...in certain cases.

    Just curious...do you support the idea of sons staying in their father's home until marriage or do you think they should strike out on their own when they are mature enough to do so?

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  9. Part of it is submission to their father's authority, if their father bids them stay or leave.

    I think mature men need their own employment. A job that is theirs to do. Something seperate from their father's job, something they can claim as their own and possess both its successes and failures.

    This does not require leaving their father's home, but it does require a certain sort of autonomy.

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  10. Bailey, it's so good that you have a peace about this, because everything will work out according to God's plan, and you will have the most joy and blessing. God will have AMAZING plans for your life, (and even when you struggle, fall, or fail... he still will.)
    Know that I will support you in this matter of your decision, especially when you are thorougly convicned and have God's peace! With much love and support, Stacy

    With much love, Stacy

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  11. Bailey,

    If God is telling you to forego college- that's great! It is a wonderful thing to hear His voice and act upon it- to be willing and obedient.

    My eyes were opened when I read about how college and a single career is such a small speck of our lives when we look at God's big picture of all he has planned for us. This is especially true with homemaking.

    Economically... Yes, college is expensive! But so is not having a college degree. God will always provide for you wherever he leads you, but please note that, when applying for a job, it's a world of difference if the degree is there or not.

    Emotionally, I find that independance is much needed in a healthy mannor. There are trials at home just as there are trials in college, and you can still be in your father's blessing even if you are not under his roof literally. Like in my case, my dad is really pressing the issue of college for me. But as I said before, it's all about where God wants you- He might want to keep you from the avenue of college to save a lot of heartache, but He may want others to go to college to gain experience; we are in the world but not of it, He may want to show us how to reach people stuck in a lot confusion, or even just gain experience of living on our own and finding ourselves and who He made us to be. (Not that we cannot do this in our own home)

    Culture may screem certain ways of living, but it does not mean that if we go to college,(as an example)we have to follow all of our culture's rules of living- we don't have to have drinking parties or wrong crowds in our doom room. Huh, we don't even have to live in a doorm. These things are even more ruled out at Christian colleges. I do agree with you that there is a pressure of our culture to go to college- to make a life for ourselves. I am proud of you for making your descision despite "society's rules".

    One last thing...(you asked for constructive critisim ;). Hear me out...There is nothing more beautiful than a family the way God designed it to be and homemaking is no easy job! Just please don't get wrapped up in the concept of a "happy home" mentality. I do, of course, hope your home is happy, what I mean is thinking too small or putting God in a box. This even goes as far as ignoring your calling or issues at hand to make a steriotypical heart-warming family. Once again- it's all about what what God has for you. He always has unexpected suprised up his sleeves!

    I hope you understand what I'm trying to get across and that I haven't offended you personally. I have this feeling that I'm preaching to the choir. I am just hoping to perhaps balence (not confuse) your view of this issue of college and things similar to it.

    Love you!
    ~Lindsey

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  12. Lindsey, you are not one of those girls who just "goes with the flow" and I've found our conversations about this very constructive. Just wanted to let you know that. ;o)

    Oh, goody, constructive criticism. Extra brownie points for you!

    Economically... Yes, college is expensive! But so is not having a college degree. God will always provide for you wherever he leads you, but please note that, when applying for a job, it's a world of difference if the degree is there or not.

    That's true, but only if one is entering the work force. Even then, I still think talent, a good work ethic and ingenuity are a better safeguard than a college degree...especially in this tough economy. The folks with BAs are looking for jobs just like the ones without. It's true that the higher paid careers require degrees (e.g. doctor or professor), but not everyone is called to a six figure salary.

    I would agree that independence (in the form of responsibility) is healthy and necessary -- absolutely. And I think you're so right that one can be under her father's blessing and still go to college. Yay, agreement!

    The thing with college as a ministry is that it really falls short of its goal. If we really want to reach the culture, learn and influence people, we would be out living! That's huge for me. College is an ivory tower -- sure, you will make a difference, but if you're not called to college, that pressure of being a witness shouldn't even come into play. I think much more can be done by a high school grad who isn't bogged down with studies, loans and summer jobs.

    I'm really glad you brought up the last point (as if you could offend me!). I wrote elsewhere on this blog that womanhood's context is clear in the Scripture: it's the home, whether married or unmarried. That's her primary realm of service. But there is so much diversity in that...so much variety. God does not create boxes but He does create contexts that best fit our design. That's what womanhood is all about. That's why there's male and female instead of one gender-neutral branch of humanity.

    I'm pushing for the context of womanhood, not a happy home box. My home will not look like the typical happy homemaker's. It's gonna be messy, loud and completely packed with books...and love. It's not certain I am going to get married or bear children, but I am still focused on homemaking as a ministry: the home is my starting point and I branch out from there. It'll look different for every girl -- it'll look different for us -- and that's what is truly amazing.

    Love you, sister!

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  13. Lindsey, you are not one of those girls who just "goes with the flow" and I've found our conversations about this very constructive. Just wanted to let you know that. ;o)

    Oh, goody, constructive criticism. Extra brownie points for you!

    Economically... Yes, college is expensive! But so is not having a college degree. God will always provide for you wherever he leads you, but please note that, when applying for a job, it's a world of difference if the degree is there or not.

    That's true, but only if one is entering the work force. Even then, I still think talent, a good work ethic and ingenuity are a better safeguard than a college degree...especially in this tough economy. The folks with BAs are looking for jobs just like the ones without. It's true that the higher paid careers require degrees (e.g. doctor or professor), but not everyone is called to a six figure salary.

    I would agree that independence (in the form of responsibility) is healthy and necessary -- absolutely. And I think you're so right that one can be under her father's blessing and still go to college. Yay, agreement!

    The thing with college as a ministry is that it really falls short of its goal. If we really want to reach the culture, learn and influence people, we would be out living! That's huge for me. College is an ivory tower -- sure, you will make a difference, but if you're not called to college, that pressure of being a witness shouldn't even come into play. I think much more can be done by a high school grad who isn't bogged down with studies, loans and summer jobs.

    I'm really glad you brought up the last point (as if you could offend me!). I wrote elsewhere on this blog that womanhood's context is clear in the Scripture: it's the home, whether married or unmarried. That's her primary realm of service. But there is so much diversity in that...so much variety. God does not create boxes but He does create contexts that best fit our design. That's what womanhood is all about. That's why there's male and female instead of one gender-neutral branch of humanity.

    I'm pushing for the context of womanhood, not a happy home box. My home will not look like the typical happy homemaker's. It's gonna be messy, loud and completely packed with books...and love. It's not certain I am going to get married or bear children, but I am still focused on homemaking as a ministry: the home is my starting point and I branch out from there. It'll look different for every girl -- it'll look different for us -- and that's what is truly amazing.

    Love you, sister!

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  14. Bailey,

    I am so proud of you!! You are the 'most awesomest' friend!


    Praying for you,

    Carilee :)

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  15. "Submission" isn't the word I should use, more like "mutual agreement" to which all parties submit. So there is submission; yet not to a command, but to an agreement.

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