God-Sized Dreams – A Test of Faith For A College Student

Posted on October 31, 2022

by Patriot Mobile

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Guest post: Riley Waddell is a proud Patriot Mobile Brand Ambassador. Riley is a freshman at Baylor University, double majoring in Business and Nursing and minoring in Leadership Studies. As a young, Christian conservative woman, she is passionate about the land of the free and home of the brave that she loves. 

Dreaming of what I want to be

When I was in 1st grade, I spent a lot of time answering the question every adult felt compelled to ask me, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” Much like every 1st grader, I thought I had life all figured out – I was going to be a Marine Biologist and be on Shark Week. Then I discovered cooking and desired to be a chef and receive a Michelin Star. I quickly left my pale pink Pottery Barn kitchen to pursue a career in fashion design. I left first grade sure I would become a lawyer and that desire continued throughout middle school until the summer before my sophomore year. 

God called me into the medical field as I sat in the trauma waiting room waiting for my grandfather to get out of surgery. I walked out of that hospital knowing I would be back in there someday but in scrubs and a white coat with the letters “M.D.” next to my name. In my short nine weeks at Baylor University, I have revisited the famous question “what do I want to be when I grow up?”, and have decided a better question is, “whom do I want to be when I grow up?” 

Dreaming of who I want to be 

These ten simple words formulate the most important question you can ask a person. Changing what to who causes the individual to be significant when thinking about what actions they plan on taking in life outside of the career path they choose. You should never be defined by the title that comes before or the initials after your name. Ever since I was little, I decided to challenge myself by never letting anyone else define me unless it is my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I am first defined by Him and every other title I possess flows out from being a child of God first.  

Looking beyond the label 

The analogy of a football player has stuck with me for my entire life. When you look on the outside all you can see is he must be talented at football. However, that man is a Christian, has a family back home, works a job to support all of them, and enjoys an occasional hobby or two. When looking at him, all they see is a football player because that is what he said he wanted to be when he grew up. Instead, God defines him as his child and that man is defined as a Christian that happens to be involved with so many other things. Society confines us in a box at such a young age and labels us: “teacher”, “doctor”, “stay-at-home mom”, “blue-collar worker”, and the list keeps going. Therefore, so many young adults give up once they go to college because they are told once they choose a profession they are stuck. What happened to doing what you love so you never work a day in your life? Well-known economist in the 1930s, John Maynard Keynes, predicted that Americans would be working fifteen-hour work weeks. Americans have sadly turned into workaholics who live to work instead of working to live.

Riley Waddell at Baylor University
Riley Waddell at Baylor University

God-sized dreams 

To answer my question of “whom do I want to be when I grow up?” is someone that is known for standing firm in my faith and the values I hold dear. While working at Patriot Mobile, a Christian conservative wireless company and still dreaming of a career in medicine, I prayed for God to help me navigate these two very different worlds. I felt very convicted that God placed me on both paths, but I knew He was not going to reveal those plans on my timetable. Since December 2021, I have been praying for clarity over certainty concerning where God wanted me, whether that was in an OR performing surgery or running for office. While I was so set on going to medical school to become a trauma surgeon, that human-sized dream was not God’s plan. God reminded me I should be dreaming God-sized dreams.  

Standing firm in faith, despite cultural pressure 

I was told recently by an advisor that my involvement with politics at a young age will negatively impact me when applying for medical school. When I first heard this, I was taken aback and had to catch my racing thoughts. That moment of someone telling me I could not be involved with something I loved was wrecking but trusting God’s plan gave me peace. Looking back at those conversations I am still in awe in that moment I could feel God saying, “Be still Riley, for I know the plans I have for you.” I never felt a sense of doubt or despair but one of peace and hope. After learning that my dream of being a surgeon was in jeopardy because I am vocal about my love for Jesus and my country, I quickly decided that medical school may not be in my future. I would rather obey God and stay connected to my beliefs and platform in politics than go into my medical school interview and deny ever going within 10 feet of it.  

Riley Waddell - Patriot Mobile Brand Ambassador

Trusting His plan opens doors 

I continued to pray for clarity over certainty, and God has a sense of humor when it comes to His timing. A week later, the Baylor Student External Vice President asked me to be on his cabinet as the Director of the Student Government Office for Extra-University Relations. This job allows me to meet with local, state, and federal officials as well as plan the Big 12 Conference on the Hill that takes place in Washington D.C. While letting go of a dream I have had since I was little is difficult, seeing God open doors I never dreamed of before as a freshman in college is overwhelming. Through lots of prayer and advisement, I have decided to double major in Business and Nursing with a minor in Leadership Studies. I am still pursuing a life in both the medical field as well as the political world, despite being told it is impossible. Honestly, I love the challenge and I look forward to making my God famous by doing what others tell me is impossible.  

While I still have many answers to “what do you want to be when you grow up” and I’m sure those answers will come and go in different seasons, I know one thing is for sure. I know who I am in God and whom I plan on being when I grow up.  

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