I still remember getting the acceptance letter to the Georgia Institute of Technology. The large envelope’s black and yellow facade shone like a golden ticket. Known as the foremost engineering school in the state, it was the natural next step in the plan I had for my life.
The vision from my childhood was becoming a reality. Since I was about 10 years old, snapping together pieces of elaborate plastic K’nex contraptions, I had thought I wanted to be an architect, but in my high school years, I settled upon the more flexible field of engineering.
It wasn’t merely wishful thinking; I had the aptitude for it. I never made less than an A in a math class in my life.
Everything seemed to be falling into place, and with the acceptance letter, it seemed that God had opened the door.
Here was my plan:
* Go to Georgia Tech
* Get a degree in engineering (likely mechanical or industrial engineering)
* Start making $50,000 a year at age 22
* Give lots of money to worthy causes like world missions
I had no reason to think my God would not be pleased with this idea. It didn’t involve lying, cheating, or stealing to make me prosperous. I wouldn’t have to drink, smoke, chew, or hang with girls that do. Lastly, it would be financially advantageous for his kingdom initiatives.
There was only one problem with my plan. It just wasn’t God’s.
Halfway through my senior year of high school, acceptance letter in hand, I received various Georgia Tech paraphernalia as Christmas presents. As I held a yellow jacket baseball cap in my hand and looked at my GT Tervis Tumbler, there was a twinge of awkwardness in my spirit cluing me in that something wasn’t quite right.
It couldn’t be God. Clearly it was the devil trying to confuse me. Christianity was all about living a moral life and actualizing one’s potential, right?
But this strange stirring in my heart could not be ignored. I took New Year’s Day to fast, just to be sure. It was the first time I had ever gone without food for the purpose of seeking God, and I came away from that time with the inconvenient confirmation that God had a very different plan for me. It was not to attend Georgia Tech but rather to go to the smaller state university in nearby Carrollton, the University of West Georgia.
Breaking the news to my family was not easy, but they came to support my choice.
I entered West Georgia with zeal and purpose, touring all the campus ministries I could. I stayed late nights evangelizing in the food courts and dorm halls with the few other believers I could find who are willing. But what really confirmed in my heart that I was supposed to go there were the friends I made, friends God used to flip my sheltered life on its head.
I had hitched my cart to the pursuit of God, and before I knew it, Jesus turned off the main highway and went off-roading.
And what would God have in store for this straight-laced overachiever? How would he prepare him to be used in his upside-down kingdom of heaven?
It was the baptize him into a community of misfits….
Stay tuned for more stories from my testimony.