At the end of my first year of college, almost exactly four years ago, I was asked to write a blog about the crazy adventure I embarked on when I moved from my small town in Colorado to
enroll in CBC’s Outdoor Leadership program.
There were a million things I was learning at the time, but I picked five big ones to write about:
• Comfort zones are overrated
• Fear is a liar,
• Community is essential,
• Home will always be home, and
• God is God no matter where I go.
I’ve often looked back on those five lessons, sometimes relearning them time and time again, but always appreciating the bit of wisdom that God granted a scared and clueless 19 year old. They are somewhat simple lessons, but every bit as relevant to a scared and clueless 22 year old as they were then.
I remember saying that I wasn’t sure that four years at CBC would be enough.
So I did five instead and it still went faster than I could’ve ever dreamed possible. I’ve experienced friends come and go, different roommates, different classes, different places to call home. Tear-stained and joy-filled, these five years have been nothing short of life changing and life giving. I was challenged in every way – physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, and spiritually. I learned more about God’s faithfulness than I knew there was to know. I found renewed purpose in the knowledge that the Kingdom of God is now and I am invited to be a part of it! I gained a family, a second home, and a slight Canadian accent that my parents will never let me live down.
I’ve finished all my classes and am counting down the days until graduation. In the meantime, I have the coolest job in the world and am trying to figure out what life post-college looks like. It’s a weird and kind of hard transition but also incredibly rewarding and filled with opportunity. I could write ten more blogs on all the things I’ve learned during my time at CBC and probably a few more just on the things I’m learning now in this transition period.
But if I have to narrow it down, here are five things I have consistently learned, unlearned, relearned, and am still learning:
There is joy in every circumstance.
One of my favorite quotes says “Don’t take life so seriously, no one makes it out alive in the end.” A little morbid maybe, but there’s a lot of truth to it. There’s a lot of scary and hard things
in life, but I’m a big believer that laughter is the best medicine. Nine times out of ten, you’ll find me smiling. It’s not because life isn’t hard but because I truly believe there is a hope and joy in
Christ that is bigger than our present circumstances. I’ve started keeping a journal specifically dedicated to writing down each day’s moments of joy. It changes my perspective when I sit
down to think of joyful things instead of dwelling on the negative. Happiness is fleeting but joy is a choice and I will choose it!
Fearlessness is hard, but possible.
I tattooed the word ‘fearless’ on my arm in my fourth year of school. It’s not there because I am fearless, but because I’m really not. Fear is something I’ve always struggled with, even been
completely crippled by at times. But a very wise friend once told me that true bravery comes not from being unafraid, but from choosing to do things in spite of fear. Some days I’m afraid of my own shadow and other days I feel unstoppable. But on both of those days, Jesus is still bigger than my fear. He came so that I can have life abundantly, not life in fear! He can do the same for you. I’ve found that the things that scare me the most are often the most rewarding.
Family is more than blood.
I grew up in a really close knit family and my parents are still some of my very best friends. Being away from them was hard at times, but I’ve seen God’s provision in placing people in my
life who became family more than they were friends. I went through the OL program with a group of guys who became my brothers. There’s five of them still here in Abbotsford and anyone who’s ever spent time with all of us can confirm that we are nothing short of siblings. My best friend started as my RL but became my sister, along with countless other friends in and out
of CBC who’ve been there to build me up and point me to Christ. These people feel like home and I am so grateful.
Purpose is better than practicality.
The number one question I’ve been asked over the last five years? “What are you going to do with an Outdoor Leadership degree?”
The first time I wrote a blog here, I didn’t have an answer. I really didn’t know and had some serious doubts about choosing something so seemingly impractical. But I’ve learned that money is a poor measurement of success. I fell in love with guiding and rescue. This field is overflowing with opportunities for growth, travel, and interacting with people from so many walks of life. I will never be rich. In fact, I’ll probably just scrape by for most of my life. But I’ll gladly sacrifice that for all the fun I’ll have and things I’ll learn. I live in constant anticipation of how God will use me in this industry.
God is faithful in the desert places.
In the Old Testament, Israel spends a lot of time in the desert. It’s definitely a bummer, but it was also used as a time for Israel to grow and experience God’s faithfulness in powerful ways.
Unfortunately, we still walk through wilderness places today and I’ve experienced a pretty significant one in the last few years. It’s been a constant battle between being immersed in theology classes and Biblical knowledge but also feeling so distant from God. I faced intense doubt, terrifying insecurity, broken friendships and broken family relationships. I wondered at times how I could learn so many cool things in Bible college and still question God. And while I still don’t have all the answers, I rest assured that God can handle my doubt. If God has grace for my doubting heart then I can have grace for myself. Honestly, it’s probably fair to have a few doubts when you believe in a Jewish carpenter that came back from the dead. But it’s true and I
do believe it. I’ve seen the evidence of God’s work and faithfulness in this desert place, leading and guiding in the midst of chaos. I didn’t feel it and I couldn’t see it but he was faithful.
A friend asked me yesterday if I felt ready to move on from CBC. I do and I don’t. It’s scary to move on but I’m also excited to see what else life holds. I’ve taken a guiding job in Alaska for
the summer, in a town that I’ve never been to and don’t know a single person. I’m terrified and exhilarated, which I think is a good representation of how I hope to live my life in the years to
come. I want to experience all that life has to offer in so many different places, even outside my comfort zone. I feel well equipped to take on the challenge and am so grateful that there’s a
home in Abbotsford to come back to each ski season for the next few years. It’s hard to say goodbye, but with new seasons come new adventures and I’m pretty excited to jump in with
~ Morgan Cranfill is graduating from Columbia’s Outdoor Leadership program in April 2020