A freshman in college! I could hardly believe the excitement I felt at being on my own, at being free to make my own choices and be my own person. I quickly found out there was much more to university life than just going to school. I became immersed in the fun activities of college life, and many, many nights I stayed up past the moon.
Saturday nights in particular were a problem because everyone knew there were no classes the next day. My previous 100 percent attendance at church became a thing of the past. I got so little sleep before my 9:00 A.M. Sunday meeting that crawling out of bed seemed physically impossible. On mornings when I was able to drag my limp body to the church doors—late, of course—even the hard, wooden benches seemed to invite me to stretch out and sleep.
Needless to say, I wasn’t getting much out of the meetings. Finally one Sunday I realized I hadn’t been to church for two weeks in a row. My conscience bothered me. Maybe that’s why I began reading in the Old Testament. If I couldn’t get to my church meetings, maybe I could at least learn something on my own.
Then I noticed a scripture I had highlighted during some previous reading. The words seemed to almost grab me and shake me.
“I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths.
“Take fast hold of instruction; … for she is thy life.
“Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men” (Prov. 4:11, 13–14).
It was as if my Heavenly Father were saying, “You should know better!” All my life, loving parents, teachers, and leaders had taught me “the way of wisdom.” I had been led “in right paths.” I ought to have had enough understanding to know how to do what is right, to remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.
For the first time since I’d been at school, I realized the awesome responsibility I held for my own spirituality. It wasn’t up to my parents or other adults to keep me from the “path of the wicked.” I had to do it myself.
I guess I’m still something of a night owl. And I probably could do better at making sure I’m 100 percent prepared for the Sabbath. But since the day I read that scripture, I’ve learned that I’d better get some sleep on Saturday night if I want to be sharp on Sunday. It has become a priority in my life.