I’ve always been a planner. For as long as I can remember, I’ve thought through all the details and made preparations for the next stage in life. I knew that I wanted to be a piano teacher when I was about 12 years old. I decided that I wanted to be a piano major at the start of high school. I chose my college when I was a junior in high school. I remember hearing at freshman orientation that “most students change their major at least once during their college career.” And I thought to myself “Yeah, right. That’ll never be me.”
When God interrupts your plans
Never in a million years would I have imagined that I would find myself writing THIS blog post as a sophomore in college.
My freshman year of college was a dream. Classes were a success, I was a part of a wonderful small group on campus, I loved my professors, I made it into the ensembles that I wanted to, and I was going to finish classes a year early. Not to say that there weren’t challenges and frustrations and opportunities to grow, but everything was going well at my state school.
I started my sophomore year full of expectancy of another successful year, full of growth. But as the first several weeks went by, I started to grow restless. I even came home from school several times in tears – not because anything bad had happened. I couldn’t explain it. I felt trapped in the pursuit of excellence in music and battled the endless cycle of performancism.
When God gives you new desires
I was drowning in a whirlpool of emotions, but I didn’t want to let them control me. I wrote a blog post around this time about choosing to surrender my emotions to truth. But at the same time, I started to learn that my emotions can act as a window into my heart, showing what it is that I value (my mom wrote a fabulous blog post about this as well!)
Psalm 37:4 tells us, “Take delight in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
God had been working on my heart, giving me new desires, putting His heart in me…and my emotions reflected that. I started to do research about what it would look like to pursue music in ministry and I came across a Worship Arts program at a Christian school in the area.
I was filled with excitement at the possibility, but filled with fear at the same time. Looking at it from the perspective of the world, it didn’t make any sense. Classes were still going well. I still had great professors. I was still on track to finish early. I had joined new ensembles and had more performance opportunities. But I couldn’t ignore what I thought could be the prompting of the Spirit. So I prayed and sought counsel from mentors.
I set up a meeting with a Worship Arts professor to ask questions and see if this was even a feasible possibility. As I sat in that meeting, I was overwhelmed with a sense of peace. I heard a phrase that resonated with me, “We pursue excellence for the sake of truth.”
During this period of uncertainty, I discovered the song Only Jesus by Casting Crowns that captured the journey I had been on so far. I listened to it on repeat.
Make it count, leave a mark, build a name for yourself.
Dream your dream, chase your heart above all else.
Make a name the world remembers.
I got lost in the light when it was up to me
to make a name the world remembers.
But Jesus is the only name to remember.
And I, I don’t want to leave a legacy.
I don’t care if they remember me, only Jesus.
And I, I’ve only got one life to live.
I’ll let every second point to Him, only Jesus.
What would people say if I told them that I didn’t want to pursue music in order to make a name for myself? What would they say if they knew that all I want is for Jesus to be remembered? What would they say if I decided that I wanted to step away from the prestige of a performance degree and study worship instead? To a watching world (or university), it doesn’t make any sense. And so I agonized over telling anyone.
When you take a step of faith
For several months I kept this decision a secret, except for my family and a few close friends. I was tormented by the thought of telling anyone – fears about what my professors and peers would say kept filling my mind.
Proverbs 29:25 says, “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.” I was falling prey to this snare every time I started to worry about what people would say. Being in constant fear of others is a miserable way to live.
In His grace, God gave me the courage first to tell my piano professor about the transfer I would be making. And her reaction was a blessing and an answer to prayer. Since that first conversation, God has blessed me with many opportunities to share about this decision to pursue ministry and how He has been at work in this particular stage in my life.
Psalm 27:1 says, “The LORD is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?”
I don’t need to fear what my professors will say. I don’t need to fear what my peers at school will say. The Lord is my stronghold and it is He who gives me the courage to say “Whom shall I fear?”
To the world, my decision to pursue ministry may not make sense. It’s with boldness that comes only by the grace of God that I’m excited to tell anyone who is willing to listen about how He has worked in my heart to bring about this change. What will people say when they hear that I’m transferring to a new school to pursue ministry? They may think I’m crazy, but it’s my prayer that this decision and my willingness to tell will bring glory to Him who is worthy.
FOLLOW OUR BLOG SERIES: WHAT WILL PEOPLE SAY
What will people say… when you speak up for what’s right? It’s not always easy. It’s not always fun. But it’s always worth it.
When you live a set apart, counter-cultural life, it won’t always make sense to the people around you. But that’s not what matters.
In the NEW blog series “What Will People Say?”, we will be sharing His truth – not letting the fear of what people think stop us.
One thought on “What will people say… when they hear that I’m transferring to a new school to pursue ministry?”
I am so happy for you, Alyssa, and so proud of you to step out in faith. God has wonderful plans for you and it blesses my heart to watch you follow Him. Love you!