Monday, June 13, 2016

Navigating My Junior Year In College

My third year in college was also my first year on a college campus. I vividly remember what was going through my mind the day before I moved into my dorm...

"The morning of move-in I was sitting in the hotel room watching the sun creep over the Tennessee mountains. This was it. College was no longer a distant idea but a reality. The feelings I had were hard to identify. There was something deep beneath the surface, roiling there and troubling me. Unlike my previous experiences, I did not have bolstering dreams to urge me forward. Was I...afraid? If there was even a hint of uneasiness, was this the right thing for me to be doing? What if I had made the wrong choice? My poor, unfaithful heart, that had forsaken hoping was thrust to this edge and told, finally... 
                                                   This is your time to fly.
Press on toward your high calling! I have ordained this day for you! I am waiting here for you. Be adventurous. Be willing and trusting. I am here. So jump, I have given you your moment to spread your wings and fly." 
(excerpt from My Time To Fly)

Such was I upon entering the academic year. There were many times when I went back to being afraid. New challenges made me wonder if I was up to the task. Venturing outside of my comfort zone made me second guess myself. Storms from the outside came to buffet me and I lay awake at night thinking the darkness would win.

But every time God's provision shone through like the dawn. Where I ventured out into new territory I was rewarded with new confidence. When I pushed my limits I found new endurance. And what came when I called out for help was a blanket of peace. It was a rough year on many counts, but I can say that God has kept me and helped me grow.

There is one lesson that stands out from the others; a reoccurring theme throughout my life it seems.

Handling Changes in Route

I am a planner, an organizer, I like to have some level of control in my daily activities. So it is a jarring experience when all that control is yanked from my hands and I am suddenly set on a new course. College is a perfect training ground for Life because we run a mad race every day only to sometimes be confronted by a fork in the road. One path is the one we want to go down, and the other is one we definitely do not want to go down. The reality is, though, that we might have to.

That pause before the path is taken is called transition; when there are no answers and the future could go any number of ways. This silent, moving frame of time between an ending and a beginning. So often I feel I'm being asked to leave what I know and enter that silent space of not knowing. Packing memories away into boxes. Wrapping up a season. Left to wonder where I am going next.

It doesn't seem fair to be asked to do this again. We obsess over it in our minds. The self-pity and the anger come with hot tears of frustration. Whole days go by before we're calm enough to organize our thoughts in words or on paper. Barely holding onto composure. We pretend we're at peace and okay but we're not. We are lost and looking for something solid to hold on to.

When change seems forced on us we question our God who stands in complete control. I have. I've questioned His motives and His fairness. I've always said I want what He wants for my future, but why doesn't His best ever look like my plans? The longer I stay in this cycle of thinking the more pessimistic my thoughts become towards God.

I know I'm not the only one who is dealing with changes right now. I want to share with you what someone very wise shared with me. It's important to be careful how we see God when sudden changes in route come. All too easily we can forget His faithfulness in the past and His promises for our futures. Don't feel like He is always taking good things away from us. Nothing in our lives is ever wasted. God can use these changes in route to grow us, teach us, and show us His ways. Of course, saying that is easy. Living that is much harder sometimes. I still struggle with the changes that come, but I am slowly learning that through the change God never changes. Though my perception of Him wavers, His love for me never fades.

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