BGU students travel the world, build global relationships and explore historical movements to expand their perspective of God’s love and work. It keeps their faith from growing stale. But as our view of God enlarges, our “to do” list must shrink, and our “to stop” list must grow as we do less of what is “good,” and more of what is best. This is called the discipline of life convergence.
When we are young, we often we spend our youthful energy in frantic attempts at success through sports, relationships, or thrills in an attempt to prove our self-worth. As we reach our 20s and 30s, often we become more self-confident and have many opportunities to explore. Yet we don’t have a clear compass to keep us focused. By mid-life we can be worn out by unfocused, frenetic activity and there is a temptation to settle into a rut of stale faith as energy begins to wane, opportunities seem to diminish, and sadness of lost dreams set in.
One of the primary reasons people attend BGU is because they know God is bigger than their experience to date and they want to utilize BGU’s global network to grow in their awe of God’s work and love. A bigger God is the perfect antidote to the inertia of midlife ruts. There are few programs like BGU where students experience urban immersions across oceans and study in classes with students in eight different time zones.
However, growing global awareness, new global relationships, and new global opportunities can become a renewed temptation to find self-worth through being the big person rather than to trust our big God. As it provides a new world of opportunities, it also introduces students to new disciplines to understand their calling from God and learn how to stop doing so many “good” things so they have the
freedom to focus on the very best things.
Depending upon how you interpret the meaning of Ecclesiastes, it is possible that King Solomon wrote the book in some stage of his own life convergence. He had the money, power and smarts to try everything to prove his self-worth; but by midlife he had found that self-worth, identity, and meaning does not come from success. His message seems to be “Don’t take yourself so seriously. God is the only
source of meaning. So rest in that truth; respect God for who He is and who you are not; and enjoy the moment.” He foreshadows this conclusion in Ecclesiastes 3:14, and seems to confirm it in the build-up of chapter 12 to verse 13.
Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the duty of all mankind.”
In this newsletter’s lead article, we talk about how BGU students engage specific courses as the intentional means by which to grow in their discipline of life convergence. Convergence starts with recognizing that we cannot find true meaning or joy in frenetically chasing things we thought for most of our lives would bring us happiness. Whether we come from a track record of success seeking significance and not finding it, or from a place of broken circumstances and profound loss, either way, God really wants us to finally get the point that all true significance starts with the gateway of surrender. It is the place of consistent surrender that builds true life significance and success redefined through
resting in God’s call for our lives.
As we embrace surrender more and more, we also seek to define our call more narrowly — not around our hopes and wishes, but more around how God has called us. This provides us with specific tools to say “NO! I chose not to do that.” This increased power to say “NO” comes from discernment in our prayer life and in community that while it might be a “good” thing to do, it is not the best thing to do. There is rest in our soul that our identity, purpose and value are from God who says that we are His beloved.