This time last year when my first-born was heading to college for the first time I was consumed with what life would look like without her home, her own transitioning and sorority recruitment. I know there are countless others parents and students out there who feel this same anxiety now as I did then. So today I am starting a three-post series related to college – for the student & parent.
I’m kicking it off by rerunning an edited version of a popular post from last August as a reminder of where our true identity is found. While sorority recruitment and looking to Greek letters for an identity may not have anything to do with you, we all turn to false sources looking for worth. So I hope no matter what stage of life you’re in you’ll read on and share if you think others will also benefit…
With Sorority Recruitment soon taking place on college campuses, college girls, moms, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, friends and by default dads, brothers and grandfathers will engage in enough conversation about it to last a life time. I know this from experience last year when my daughter went through the exhausting process leading up to Bid Day. In fact, if I could’ve logged hours and been paid for all the time I spent thinking and talking about Rush, it would’ve been a fruitful week. As it was, a very unproductive week because of the all-consuming nature of the beast that had me digging deeper.
But the “beast” is maybe not what you think. I am not writing to offer a better way for sororities to recruit new members. Though there certainly are flaws, beautiful stories come out of sorority recruitment too – such as the new friend my daughter connected with over a conversation about her tattoo. What the “beast” has more to do with (in my opinion) is our own hearts, and what we think those two or three Greek letters say.
Too often for those of us affiliated with a sorority, the Greek letters we wear become who we are- how we identify ourselves. Where we find our worth. Likewise, we base others’ worth on how we view their particular “house.” So if we are honest, I believe this plays into one of the many reasons girls, their moms and entourage become obsessed with Rush.
For many of you, it may seem this post doesn’t relate to you because you weren’t in a sorority or your daughter is nowhere near college age. I want to challenge us though to see how in various ways we all try to find our worth in something that wasn’t meant to define us. It may be your profession, where your kids go to school, what zipcode you live in, or your specific neighborhood, where you shop or vacation, what kind of car you drive, what clubs you are involved in, where you go to church, what social events you attend, who your friends are, who your spouse is, how good a parent you are, how well your kids behave and on and on.
None of these things determine your worth. Only God can. Why then do we mistakenly base how we feel about ourselves, for better or worse, on such temporal things?
I believe it goes back to the soul hole I’ve written about before: The longing we have to know we are deemed accepted and valued. So we go on a quest of trying to stuff our soul hole with things we think will satisfy us and give us worth. And while some may seem to work for a time, eventually we need something bigger, something more.
Until we discover God is the only something bigger and something more who can make us whole, we will keep turning to false things to give us the identity we long for. On the other hand, to rest in our true identity is to know we are God’s most treasured possession, created in his image and bestowed with inifinte worth.
For a little while God made even his son stoop beneath us, sending Jesus to serve us by living the perfect life we could never achieve and then dying sacrificially. Both done on our behalf so God could welcome us as sons and daughter for all eternity.
Because Jesus did the work, God can now say to us, “Child, you are accepted. You are mine. Not because you earned your place or did anythig to deserve my namesake, but it was my good pleasure. What I give to you is your most sure identity that nothing or no one can take away.”
- What if we lived like this is true?
- How would that change the way we think about ourselves and others? No matter what we (or they) have or don’t have.
College friends, you are not your Greek letters. You are so much more. And your neighbor – she, too, is so much more than what her Greek letters or non-affliation says.
Adult women and men, you too. Your identity is not based on what the world says is worthy. Find rest in knowing your worth is secure in the One who went to the cross in order to say, “It is finished.”
“Finished for YOU, my child who I loved to the grave and back, for all eternity.”
Now Dear College Freshman, may you go off to college and even through Rush be free of yourself because you know you are freely loved and full of worth!
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