What is a wasted life?

by: Nick Francis, CDH9

Why I was convinced I was a failure.

I’m one of them. One of those people. I can’t hide it any longer…. I'm a college dropout.

No, I didn’t have a kid out of wedlock. However, it seems like my next worst step on the way down is actually prison, then illegitimate children, then who knows what's next. Yes I’m on the slow descent into a wasted life. I had so much potential, I mean I’ve been in gifted classes since I was in 3rd grade. I’ve always played sports growing up. I was even in church every second that the doors were open. How could I have possibly gone off the deep end like this?  How could I have been so ungrateful? Did I not understand the opportunity that I had? AND, I’m never gonna find a girlfriend now, who wants to date someone like me? Unsuccessful, Ungrateful, Lazy ... I’ve wasted my life.

No, none of the statements were ever said to me, they weren’t even said about me that I know of.  However, I’ve heard them said about others in the same situation.  I’ve even said them about people that were in my current situation. I’m closing in on a full year being removed from college and I've gotta tell ya, I’ve believed every single one of these statements at some point this year. And it’s taught me a lot of lessons along the way.

That moment when I found out that I didn’t make the grades to stay in school the next semester, I was actually so relieved. No more school for a year?!  It sounded wonderful! 

However the relief was only temporary. 

Questions started to come to mind that I couldn’t answer. What was next? Where am I going to work? How am I gonna pay bills?  If not for the graciousness of my parents, the last question would have gone unanswered. That January I looked everywhere for a job, yet nothing turned up. February rolled around and it yielded the same results. Nothing. 

The silver lining?  There were a few small joys that I held onto, but those too came crashing down at the end of February.  I was down to the basics, alone & unemployed.  I couldn’t play soccer, I couldn’t play video games, and there was nothing to distract me from feeling the weight of the situation. So there I sat late one night in downtown Statesboro watching the fountain. I wrote one thing down that night. 

“What is a wasted life?”

There are a few ways to measure success, usually through acquisition of various types of capital, whether that’s money, fame, or social status.  All in all it’s seen as adding something to yourself or the world. If failure is the opposite of success, then failure would be to take away from yourself or the world.  When I left college, I took away from my future opportunities. I had failed at the goal to graduate college. To the world, I had wasted the opportunity to succeed.

I thought so as well. 

I learned soon after that I had not been a plant uprooted and left to die.  Instead, I had been pruned back that I might grow correctly. We often have so many things tacked onto our life that we are not able to properly see through them and grow as Christians. For me, college had become something that was inhibiting me from seeing my full potential in Christ.  We are slowed down by our perceived passions and other distractions and we are unable to grow properly.  I learned that sometimes we need to be subtracted from - or pruned- in order to succeed in the eyes of Christ. While we may fail, we are not a lost cause. We are not necessarily wasting our life or our time.  I had been stripped bare but I learned my life was not being wasted. 

Maybe you're in the same season as I was.  Maybe you're unsure why you are in the current season you are in.  Maybe you feel like a failure.  Well, take heart and know that while you may see no hope, that the Lord has a purpose in the pruning. 

From There I Grow...

About the Author:

Nick attended Georgia Southern University for 2 and a half years studying Psychology to attempt to learn how to read minds. He is currently an Administrative Intern at Clayton King Ministries and a participant of Crossroads Discipleship Home. He has loved soccer for most of his life and has also recently become a gaming enthusiast.  You can find Nick on Facebook, but "He doesn't own one of the Twitters" and mainly uses social media to look at pictures of his adorable nieces and nephew.