Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance - Proverbs 1:5
To say I had a nondescript academic career initially would be an understatement. It all started back in high school. I remember showing up at my graduation not really knowing if I was really going to graduate. Back in those days, they would let you march, but if you didn't graduate, you would have a notification in your envelope stating the requirements that you needed to fulfill to graduate. I carefully looked in the envelope and saw that I did have a diploma. I did indeed graduate, but just barely. This underachieving continued in college. I attended the local college and was irresponsible the majority of the 2 plus years there and landed on academic suspension. After basically running out of options, I enlisted in the Army Reserves in order to just get away. I completed boot camp (an experience in itself) and was then sent to advanced training for instruction of the job that I would hold while in the Army. While in training, I prayed to God for another opportunity to go back to school. If I could get another chance to prove myself, I would use my ability that He provided. My lifeline came in the form of a conversation that I had with my cousins. I'll never forget them telling me about a college that we could enroll in that would accept us. I immediately jumped at the opportunity to resurrect my academic career, taking the necessary placement tests and enrolling in the Spring semester.
Once there at college, one of the first things that I did was take my transcript from my previous college to the academic affairs office. My intent was to transfer as many credits as possible, thereby reducing my time needed to graduate. I'll never forget the registrar looking over my transcript and taking her glasses off and stating, "with these grades, you would be better off starting over.' I sat there stunned. I came into the office with the expectation that I would have at least a year, maybe a year and a half of credits that could transfer. Here I am at 22 years old having to start over. A 22 soon to be 23 year old freshman, what am I to do? Then I remembered my prayer and proceeded to have a mindset change. I put myself in this position and was reaping what I had previously sown. I drew on the lessons of discipline that I had learned during my time in the Army Reserves.
Fast forward 3.5 years later and I had graduated magna cum laude with a degree in business. God had used this experience to teach me a number of lessons. The first one is that you can have an opportunity to start over if you are willing to learn from past mistakes. Now keep in mind that I didn't say unlimited opportunities, because in life, you are not given unlimited opportunities to fulfill your purpose and destiny. The second relates to the first. I've encountered a number of people that on the surface, have wasted their talent and abilities and are languishing in a pool of mediocrity. I was one of those people. However, I have realized that some of those individuals are just a mentor or an eye opening moment away from a life changing experience. I know that there are some of you reading this that fit into that category and are on the cusp of a breakout. It happened to me and will most certainly happen to you if you are willing to accept that your experiences will mold you for the better and equip you to reflect God's glory that resides in each of us. Remember, God Wastes Nothing!
Ken Sadler is a leader of Men's Ministry at a megachurch and has a heart and passion for helping men become the best they can be.