Counting the Cost

Play/Pause Stop
“For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it?” —Luke 14:28, NKJV

When I began my PhD program in English, I got the following advice from a veteran graduate student: “Participate in everything; take every opportunity you’re given while in grad school.” While I decided I could not take this advice, many of my colleagues did.

They went to academic conferences, published papers, and took on extra projects to “add another line to their CV” (academic resume). In grad school, there is an underlying anxiety to constantly perform, advance in academic rank, or gain scholarly recognition.

But as a family woman in her mid-thirties and as a Christian, my motivations had to be different. First, as I completed my PhD, I had to remember it was God’s calling to teach college students in a Christian environment that had led me to this path. Second, I had to remember that few extracurricular activities were worth taking more time away from my family. Thankfully, even after my husband and I counted the high cost of time, energy, and money required for a PhD, we decided the degree was worth it. That did not make it easy, however. So, I shut down my social life except for family-friendly events. One semester, I spent Monday nights on a sofa of a graduate colleague to save commuting time. I put aside my hobbies and used that time to study. Another semester, I left my family for ten days to study for my comprehensive exams. The focus required for a PhD is so intense that, for a season, I had to shut out everything that did not involve God, family, and the degree. At times, I felt sorry I could not participate in all the events my colleagues did. But when I marched after just three and a half years with a full-time job offer in hand, it felt wonderful to be able to provide for my family.

Furthermore, my skills were sorely needed at my university.

Working with college students in a Christian environment again gave me a deep sense of purpose and reminded me why I had subjected myself to those painful years of graduate study. Fulfilling God’s plans for us often takes hard sacrifices, but no temporary pleasure compares with the joy of fulfilling the mission God has given us.

Let us ask God to give us the courage to count the cost, along with the rewards, and fulfill the mission He has for each one of us.

Lindsey Gendke

Matutina para Android