SOPHOMORE SLUMP ~ Tonya Brown

God doesn’t want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold and loving and sensible.

2 Timothy 1:7 MSG

I attended a small college in Indiana. I was born and grew up in the Hoosier state. I never really ventured very far from my home, so the college I selected was only seven miles from our house. (My single act of fearlessness was choosing to live in a campus dorm with a roommate I’d never met.)

As a freshman I attended general education classes, had nearly perfect attendance, and accumulated a decent GPA. My second year I took more classes related to my major, but started cutting classes and my grades declined. I questioned my purpose and looked for options. I’d hit a slump in my progress—the infamous sophomore slump.

These memories surfaced as I thought about this post. Let me explain. My input involves looking at a topic through the lens of the third gift listed in Paul’s letter to Timothy concerning matters of ministry.

The version I’m most familiar with translates sensible as self-discipline. Who in their right mind wants to read a blog about self-discipline? Or write one, for that matter.

So I looked at how different versions of the Bible interpret this verse into my native tongue using Biblegateway.com The original Greek word translates as discipline, sound mind, sound judgment, self-discipline, and sensible.

One original Greek word translated into five different English phrases. I settled on sensible as my word of choice, but wanted to know what word Paul selected when he penned his letter to Timothy.

This time I traveled to blueletterbible.org. Using Strong’s Numbers I found that G4995 is sophronismos. (Which explains why my mind drifted back to my sophomore year of college.)

Digging deeper, I looked at its root words. In addition to all of the expected definitions, I found some interesting twists that helped illuminate the meaning for me: restore one to his senses; to hold one to his duty; self-disciplined in one’s freedom.

These definitions brought me full circle. The slump my sophomore year was a result of my inability to hold myself to my duty. I needed to be restored to my senses. In exercising my freedom of choice, I’d lost sight of my calling. Entering college I declared elementary education as my major. It wasn’t until I hit the slump that I came to my senses.

My calling was to secondary English. I lost sight of that goal because I listened to others tell me all the reasons why I shouldn’t pursue my passion.

In future posts my goal will be to remind us to be sensible in our God-given freedom to choose.

Recommended Reading: To Be Told by Dan B. Allender, PhD

This nonfiction book explores God’s design for your life and how you can make sense of it by understanding both the hope and heartache that is your story.

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