Michael Sobolik is a part of Flower Mound's graduating class of 2007. He attended Texas A&M University for both his Bachelor's Degree in Political Science & Communication, as well as his Master's Degree in International Affairs. Michael currently works in Washington, D.C. for the American Foreign Policy Council.
Give a brief summary of what you’ve been doing since graduating from CDA.
I went to Texas A&M and earned a Bachelor of Science in Political Science and Communication. The questions that motivated a lot of my study at the undergraduate level were, “What does it look like for a Christian to serve in government and politics? How does that look different than someone who doesn’t know the Lord serving in those realms?”
I spent time in China near the end of undergrad, and it got me jazzed up about foreign policy, defense policy, and national security. I felt a call into government, specifically dealing with relationships between nations. After earning a Master of International Affairs, I worked for a senator and focused on Asia foreign policy. I’m currently working at a think tank called American Foreign Policy Council where I focus on America’s national security interests throughout Asia – primarily with China.
Describe how your education at CDA shaped the person you are today.
Throughout my time at CDA, there was an emphasis that everything we were studying fell under the sovereignty of God and the influence of Christ. That seed shaped a holistic understanding in my mind about creation. God as Creator means that everything I’m learning as a student is connected to Christ, and all of life is a treasure hunt to discover how it traces back to Him.
CDA also taught me how to write and write well. In the first semester, I had professors remarking about the skill of my writing. I also found myself moderating and guiding discussions with great confidence because the interaction at CDA is Socratic and not just lecture-based.
How have you leaned on your faith while making difficult decisions?
After earning my graduate degree, the job search process took about ten months. Those months were hard personally and spiritually. It was the first time in my life when it wasn’t coming easily for me. Looking back, it was a very typical life story. Things worth pursuing are often hard to achieve, and it was about trusting the Lord instead of trusting myself. I learned to view myself as needy before the Lord and not feel insecure about that.
How have you exercised servant-leadership since graduating from CDA?
I’ve done this by letting go of the pressure to be the one who knows everything. In Washington, there’s a never-ending competition to be perceived as the expert or the one with the most connections. Something I constantly struggle with is letting go of that perspective and choosing to look at my profession as an opportunity to serve people. Politics can be a flashy environment where people compete for influence and measure power through the number of interviews or followers you have. I strive to focus instead on being content as a servant of Christ and doing good work unto Him without pursuit of the spotlight.
How did your education at CDA prepare you to live faithfully in a world that doesn’t celebrate Jesus Christ?
CDA taught me not to run away from culture when I find myself in an environment where Christ isn’t glorified or worshiped. It’s not threatening or a reason to disengage. CDA taught me to view ministry through the call to be an ambassador and to live in those places with boldness and with a sense of mission.
It’s exciting to be a part of Christ’s redemptive work. It’s part of The Gospel narrative. Our story goes back to Abraham in the first pages of Genesis. The scriptural cannon is closed, but the redemptive work is ongoing. We’re in the world but not of the world. For a Christian who understands this tension, they see that all truth is God’s truth, and truth touches everything. I love the emphasis CDA has always put on studying creation through the lens of God as Creator, Sovereign Ruler, and Redeemer. Everything we do is touched by Christ and the gospel, thus the primary motivator giving me hope while being in a worldly atmosphere.
Is there anything you want to add about how your faith influences your life and or career?
As the Lord continues to shape my life and conform me to Christ’s image, it becomes clearer to me that faith is the most precious thing in my life. If there’s anything I’d impart to young students, it’s this: There is nothing more valuable or precious than belonging to Jesus, being known by Him, and knowing Him.
Prior to heading off to college, I met with a few older guys to get their wisdom. One of them picked up the Bible and said, “Of all the books you’ll read in college and the rest of your life, none will mean more to you than this one here.” How do I exalt Christ in my life? How do I cultivate a longing for the Lord? I can think of no better place to fall in love with Christ than through scripture. If we put our attention on the Word of God, it will capture our hearts and seep into our souls. Nothing is more important than loving the Lord rightly.