As of late I’ve been the epitome of drained. We’re talking like a sink in perfect order- just draining like it’s my job. And so I starting puzzling together why I was feeling this way.
I’ve reasoned out that it’s because in my search for deep relationships I’m giving a whole lot. I like quality friendship. I can’t help it; I don’t think most people can. And I like being helpful. I love it. We are called to serve others, which I try to look avidly for opportunities to do. And that’s good; it’s all very good- just rather exhausting when you have very little being poured back into you.
But who am I to complain about seemingly one-sided relationships when I so often disregard the One who pours blessings into my life every minute of every hour? This is what the Lord revealed to me as I jotted my thoughts down:
“I miss having someone who reciprocates all the time and love I put into the relationship. But I don’t do that for You. I don’t. You love me far more than I ever will be able to love You. And You don’t stop loving me. You love so unselfishly . It’s got to be exhausting- but You go on & on. Not just to me, others- everyone of this planet in fact. You are SO good with such a capacity for love. Thank You.”
Currently I’m where I need to be. I’m learning lots of lessons while being in this place relationally with others. I’m learning a lot about One who loves more than anyone else here ever could, and that’s quite a comforting thought.
Maybe you want to hear about the place that’s kept me too busy to write?
First things first: I love my family more than ever and I’m excruciatingly thankful for telephones. Skype too, but for one-on-one conversation I think I honestly like telephone best, oddly enough. [three weeks ’til we’re hugging and crying happily at the airport!]
It feels like home here. Not quite as in the new home, but a new home. Just like different people can be home, I think you can have multiple places that are a home too. The Christmas lights are up and there are dried wildflowers and cards from loved ones scattered about. The roommates God blessed me with are beautiful, supportive, and adjusting to the frequency with which I cry for no particular reason. God-sent is the most accurate term to describe them. Oh, how I adore them!
All us Grovers live on campus, so class doesn’t even feel like school. There’s a homey community that surrounds it all for me so it kinda feels like I’m just studying at home. I quite like it. It’s fun being surrounded by people who love learning and, most importantly, Jesus.
They tell you things are so much more strict in college, but here, although they do expect a lot, grace is extended freely. I had tech troubles and wasn’t able to print out an outline due at the beginning of class. I was panicked thinking, “college profs don’t take excuses,” and, “he’s going to think I’m lying.” Instead the professor gave me his trust and a look of understanding. He told me it was just fine to drop it off to his office later. They aren’t easy profs, but they are kind.
My entrepreneurship professors especially are extraordinarily amazing. Approachable, always willing to help, compassionate, knowledgable, experienced, and dreams come true. They come over to chat with you in student union and let you call them at ten o’clock pm to talk over an elevator pitch. It is so apparent they want us to succeed and as freshman they openly welcomed us into the fam. That’s what my major is, a little ‘ol family.
Oh! Friends next. In additional to my delightful roomies, I’m close a group of band kids- surprise, surprise! Five of us girls met in line for food the first night of band, and the group has grown to about six girls and six guys. They’re pretty swell. We all went to Disney for band over fall break. It was grand old time!
I do want to be up-front and acknowledge that it isn’t all 100% a fairy land here [only like 95%]. It is hard not knowing anyone truly well. I crave a deep relationship here, but I know it’s something I can’t rush or force. I’m at God’s mercy in this, as in all things. One of my roommates mentors told her that starting college was the loneliest time in her kid’s lives, but that they grew so much closer to God in that time. There is so much wisdom in those words. I do have someone here who knows me well, far better than I ever will know myself. I’ve found myself leaning on Him to survive. And although loneliness will never be fun, it makes me actually grateful for it. Focusin’ on the positives- my main way to cope. I am praying that God will bring those relationships into my life, but I know they’ll be the best if on God’s timeline.
That’s it for now, but I made a blogging buddy, so I’ll be back soon! [Her name is Alyce Miller & she’s more than fabulous: see here]
Song Pairing- actually let’s do two!
One for Sari : All I Ask of You by Josh Groban with Kelly Clarkson [YouTube]
Because Josh Groban + Phantom = YES
One for Soph : The Girl by City and Colour [YouTube]
We listen to it on repeat, it makes us think of our moms. Slightly different, but strangely similar.
As I was packing to move seventeen-hundred & three miles away, my indecision was majorly stifling my productivity.
Exibit A: “Do I need six pairs of boots? No! But… maybe because these are for rain, these snow, and these every day, and I can’t very well go to the east coast without riding boots, can I? Oh, but I need a pair of short boots too and the Timberlands are waterproof and in great condition for thrift store boots but they’re kind of like the others and I don’t have room for both… ”
[Repeat for every type of clothing and possible college necessity, well maybe non-necessities- but, I do use them kinda frequently so…]
Three days later and I was still stuck on the same issue. The never-ending weighing of options and what-if scenarios have paralyzed me in place. My feet [in one of the too-many-pairs of boots] felt cemented down and I couldn’t move on with my packing over this silly, trivial, insignificant matter. But how am I supposed to move past? I can’t pick one pair over the other! That’s like picking favorites of your children!!
Except, it’s not. Not AT ALL. They’re just shoes, and shoes are great, but they do not need to consume as much time and sanity as they have. Seriously, I spent hours and multiple conversations on this “issue” before it hit that it isn’t an issue. What it is is a distraction that’s keeping me from focusing on Jesus and His people. When it comes down to it, all that matters is Jesus, following His lead, and sharing His love with His people. This conviction made me realized Timberlands or Ariats, I can mull over the option for days, or I decide either way in less than a minute & spend my days and thoughts rejoicing in the God who has blessed me with so many pairs of soles! On option sounds like a trap from the devil and the other like a wonderful way to glorify God.
My indecisiveness fills me to the brim with fear of making the wrong decisions, doubt in my decision-making capabilities, and inner chaos from weighing out multiple sides. None of these things sound like feelings the Prince of Peace desires me to have.
Psalm 34:14 [ESV] Turn away from evil and do good. SEEK PEACE and pursue it.
While reading the biography of my Grandfather, I came across this quote of his:
“It may not occur to most people that indecision and the complexity of life are spiritual problems at their root. I has been said that all of our problems are ultimately theological problems.” – Paul Bubna
So the cure? Simply put, I believe it is remembering the temporariness of this life and that there is only one thing that truly matters: Jesus.
Thanks for listening to my musings!
Song Pairing: O Come to the Altar by Elevation Worship
It’s finally hitting me that I have a privilege to be attending my top choice of schools. My dreams are coming actually true. In less than a week I will be joining the ranks of The Wolverine Marching Band and beginning my legacy as a Grover. I’m more elated than I can say! Saying goodbye is hard, but at least with my friends, they all have especially exciting journeys they’re embarking on too and so I’m overjoyed for them to started. In my excitement, I want to set some all encompassing goals for my freshmen year at Grove City College and some for just my first month.
First Month Goals:
1.Keep a planner. I try this every year, and it’s never stuck, but I will no longer have my mom’s calendar with all my engagements on it in the event my mental recollection fails. I’m an adult and I should probably start writing stuff down like one.
2. Go to bed at a reasonable hour [more often than not]. I am very much a night owl, but I need to start exercising self-control and making wise decisions for my body & mind. Those decisions probably should include more than a consistent five hours of sleep…
3. Lay off the coffee. This year I experienced some weird stomach stuff that ended up all being rooted in the delicious & caffeinated goodness that is coffee. It turns out that for me being a non-breakfast eater and avid coffee drinker doesn’t have desirable effects, however I’m still often tempted to ignore the pain and drink it anyway. I know I’ll probably be very exhausted a lot in college, but I want to deal with that through alternate ways than coffee. This could be especially hard since most everyone around me will most likely be drinking it by the pot.
Long-term College Goals:
1.Keep the Sabbath. For one day a week, Sundays, no homework, no studying, no prepping, no memorizing marching band music: only resting & focusing on You. This is one of the ten commandments, it isn’t an optional suggestion, but it has been hard breaking an eighteen year habit of working even on this sacred day.
2. Love everyone. This should always be a goal, but in high school I’ve been convicted that there were definitely one or two people who thoroughly annoyed me or who’s decision making made it hard for me to look on them with love. Adding to that, I didn’t try very hard. I enjoy wit but I fell into sin by using mine to bash these people. All of them have extenuating circumstances which are part of the problem, the other part being they don’t have Jesus. And I, who could have loved on them and maybe led them to Him, mocked them instead. I’ve repented of this, but I really want to focus this year on loving fully, unselfishly, and non-judgmentally. In the same way reporters always can find an interesting angle on a story, I want to always be searching for an angle of love for those with whom I find my self harboring ill thoughts against. My hope is if I focus on this and the fact that Jesus still loves me despite my baggage just as He loves these people, maybe eventually love will come naturally from me towards all people, not just “most”. I certainly can’t accomplish this goal (or anything) alone. The steps to achieve this goal are going to be massive amounts of prayer, maintaining Bible reading, remembering the vast love Christ had when He died for me, & trying to view these other people as He sees them. Viewing them as special, unique, and made in His image.
3. Maintain a 4.0 GPA, but not at the expense of experience college, trying new things and clubs, and being able to deeply live life with people. The second part of that goal is crucial because I tend to overly stress and become anxious and panicky at the thought of school if I mess up my priorities and put to much academic pressure on myself. I always want to do my best and it is primarily for scholarship purposes that I am hoping I can maintain a 4.0 while preserving my mental health. If not, it is what it is! I’ll have tried my best and that’s what the Lord asks of us.
Do any of you have new goals? Please go on and comment them below; I love seeing other peoples strategies for betterment!
Before our family trip to New Orleans, I had the beautiful realization that there was a real-life, actual, in-person Warby Parker store. I am a huge fan of Warby frames, and I love the at home try-on element that lets my test frames out without traveling hours upon hours to a store front, but only being able to pick 5 at a time is hard. The lovely thing about Warbys are they are uber affordable and for every pair bought, they send a pair to those in need!
Of course you can learn from the past and history does tend to repeat itself [how unoriginal!], but that doesn’t mean that it always does or that we should let fear of that happening settle in our hearts. You want a specific, more relatable example? Okay. Let’s do this thing.
[Yes, I am going to talk about tacky-teen subjects like relationships, but they are a part of life… so here we go: let’s get real!]
Once upon a time, I had a darling friend who entered into an unhealthy high school relationship and was never without her boyfriend. Passing periods, lunch with the girls- you name it. This was an issue in two ways: first, that much dependence is not healthy; your happiness should be way more dependent on your relationship with Christ than your relationship with anyone else. People should enhance your life, not take it over. Second, any conversation I wanted to have face to face with my dear friend now had a third participant, one who I didn’t really trust with my thoughts and feelings. This significantly distanced us and although we are still friends, we are about 5% as close as we used to be, which is really, really unfortunate. Granted, the Lord used this to bring new friends into my life who love me and value me as much as I do them, but a broken friendship is sad no matter what the situation.
Once upon a now, another darling friend is on the brink of dating and I had a flat out panic attack. This friend means more than I can communicate via words [hugs might work but the internet isn’t that cool yet] and the Devil used that opportunity to strike fear into my heart at the thought of losing someone with whom I’ve grown even closer to. Dating can be great, relationships can be great, and I am very much for my friends’ happiness, but that attack threw me an immense emotional curve-ball. Thankfully, prayer, more prayer, and Jesus reminded me Darling Friend 1 and Darling Friend 2 are very different people. He also brought to light that DF2 & I’s friendship in its very core is a God Thing, and His will will be done. If I hadn’t run to Jesus, and settled my Heart Issue, I would have distanced myself from the blessing of Darling Friend 2’s friendship. It’s termination would have been my fault and because of fear and irrationally applying someone else circumstances to this new situation. Instead, DF2 and I talked about it openly and honestly and this attack knit us closer together by the grace of God ❤
God, unlike history, is completely original- that’s how-come you’re so original. Don’t bank on things going the same way all the time- give the Lord some space to build something all-new.
“For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” 1 Timothy 4:8 ESV
This verse quite struck me. Whatever I do to help my body or my habits has far less value than anything I do that grows my relationship with God or grows me in love. Thusly, I’m going to be making sure I involve more spiritual goals from now on!
Memorize Scripture: I don’t do this and I know I should. So I’m going to start. Back when I did Awanas. how ever many years ago that was, I would memorize the verses I needed that day and forget them the day after. That is NOT what I am going for with goal. I want the scripture I’m dedicating myself to to be with me in my heart all my days. To achieve this, I’m picking quality over quantity and aspiring for one verse a week. The first verse I’m going with will help me remember why what I’m doing is so very important: “I have stored up Your word in my heart that I might not sin against You” Psalm 119:11 ESV.
Promptness: The song of the little white rabbit in Alice in Wonderland should be my theme song. It’s terrible. It seems that no matter how much earlier I awaken, I’m still five or more minutes late. So, to take this one step at a time, for the specifics of this goal, I aspire to be five minutes early to every single jazz band rehearsal. This goal might break me.
K-LOVE Radio 30 Day Challenge:The Challenge is to listen to nothing but Christian music for 30 days, or in this case, I’m making it the month of April. I feel much more encouraged, uplifted, and inspired after listening to Christian music, and I’ve done this challenge before. I really liked how great I felt from so simple a thing, and so I really want to try it again, with no cheating. Obviously there are some circumstances I cannot control, like Prom, the Sock Hop, et cetra, but for all the times I’m in control of music, I want it to be the kind that proclaims Truth!
I’ll check back in later t let you know how these go, but for now, thanks for reading!
I’m sitting in the car as I write this headed back with the family from a week in New Orleans. It’s hit me how grownup we’ve all become, [comparatively speaking that is- I still feel ill-qualified, juvenile, and ignorant in many fields but that’s besides toady’s point]. My older brother orders drinks at restaurants and we casually discuss marriage with our parents. Buying glasses today at Warby Parker made me conscious of the fact that I now look at everything through the lens of my up-&-coming departure for college and Pennsylvania [4.5 months now- Eep!]. Last spring break none of those things where happening.
During my seventeen hours in the car, I simply slept, drove, & sat thinking and enjoying the view. I didn’t even read more than a little bit, certainly not the hours I had planned for. My life has started going so fast I think I was just enjoying the time to have deeper conversations with my parents, and even those are different now. This trip those talks were about saving and budgeting and when they bought their first house. We discussed how they both worked yet made due with one car, got debt free in a year, and the pros and cons of renting vs. buying. Yet, even that gave me far more understanding into my parents than other topics. I really know far less about my parents than I think I would initially assume. I know far less about everyone than I should. I’m a selfish creature who’s just starting to realize how self-centered my life and thoughts are. Maybe growing up means you’re more aware of your flaws. My older brother keeps telling us younger ones to be self aware this week as we’ve tripped or knocked somethings over. I’m far more repelled by my lack of mental self-awareness though than I am by my physical self-awareness. My parents, when asked, said that my biggest flaws is I’m very stubborn, I would say it’s my pride and my need for control, and my younger brother has pointed out many a’time this week that I steal his food without asking. Getting real here, its all of these + every other possible flaw to one degree or another. In one of the Breakaway Podcasts, Ben Stuart talks about how his youth pastor would give as a gift to all his graduating kids the opportunity to hear his honest opinion of them if they wanted to. That’s a really interesting concept to me, and I do believe I would take the man up on his offer. I don’t think we should ever fear good quality, constructive criticism when it’s most important learning opportunity we have. It’s a checklist of what you can do to become an even better person; it’s tailor-made advice for your very own being. That’s really kinda neat!
One thing that is still the same on car trips is my the frequent pee stops… but in light of everything else, it’s good to know some things never change.