• Advice for Baylor students? ‘Persevere.’

    “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” ~ Colossians 2:6-7

    Challenged to encourage Baylor’s Class of 2023 at Welcome Week’s Academic Convocation, Dr. DeAnna Toten Beard chose this New Testament passage as the focus of her speech. (You can watch it below.)

    “I have titled this short talk ‘Persevere.’ With a period on the end of it,” said Toten Beard, chair of Baylor’s theatre department. “It’s a one-word imperative sentence. A command.  In other words, this is not a speech on the topic of perseverance. It’s more of an exhortation from me to you. Persevere! By which I mean some kind of blend between ‘You got this!’ and ‘Just keep swimming!’ …

    “It will take perseverance to meet the tasks you will face between today and your graduation from Baylor, in just a few short years, right here in this same room. What will it look like for you to handle the challenges about to be put in your path? How will you grow into a person who thrives and succeeds far beyond Baylor?”

    Toten Beard offered five specific tips for success at Baylor:

    • “Decide now that you’ll try things that are just beyond your current skill set. Run the Bearathon. Take on a new language. Add a challenging minor. Learn to play the piano.”
    • “Decide now to set goals for yourself — real ones that you commit to and write down where you can see them every day — and work toward them.”
    • “Go ahead now and anticipate difficulty. Decide not to be knocked off course when you experience pain and challenge. Decide that you will ask for help from friends, mentors and counselors when you face periods of discouragement. Anticipate that some of this will be hard.”
    • “Commit yourself now to going to class every day. Seriously, go to class.”
    • “Plan now to take a variety of classes to help you find sustained and enduring interests.”

    Referring to the Colossians passage above, Toten Beard noted that, “Paul is not giving abstract advice. He’s talking about a trust in God that is DO-able. Paul knew what it meant to have roots that reached deeply into the real, strong foundation of Christ. … You and I may not face what Paul did, but we have the ability to endure our own challenges and setbacks because we can trust that we are the beloved creations of a faithful and merciful God who seeks us and draws us in. …

    “Remember the strong ground that you stand on and the beautiful promises of God that envelop you.”

    Sic ’em, #BU23!

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