Last night I was asked a very interesting question. It was thought provoking and sent me into the mode of reviewing the movie in my mind.
“What’s one thing you've learned each year?”
How do I answer that? How do I encompass all of the tears, the laughter, fights, the worship, the moments screaming to a God I wasn't sure was there, the bible studies, and 12 months each time into one topic? I can't. This is definitely a reflection for me, but maybe it'll help one of you, too.
This was the year everything was new. I was a baby. I knew nothing of what it was like to do anything on my own nor how to make friends outside of the high school classroom. Cafeteria food was my go to, and there was the occasional easy mac in my dorm.
I learned how to live with someone not my family, but also how much I cherished my family back home. I learned how to manage my time ( Note: studying all the time and foregoing everything else is NOT the answer) and I learned that it's actually not a good thing to go to multiple multiple Bible studies a week. (Pick one or 2 and really invest)
I learned what dorm life was like and that personal heaters are a lifesaver in 100 year old buildings.
I learned that sometimes roommates don't get along and that's probably why they invented community study rooms.
I learned what it was like to go home in Christmas break and ache to return to what you now considered home.
I learned that in college you are not the academic rockstar you thought you were, and for the very first time, I made barely passing grades on papers and assignments.
I learned how not to study- Don’t stress so much about that history exam. And don't study the night before.
I learned how to make new friends and have new goals. And at the same time I learned that high school relationships don't last forever.
Freshman year was year number 1. God taught me that if I focus on him, everything will be okay. If you look at Jesus instead of the question you have, Je solves it all.
I learned how to live.
Sophomore year I was challenged like no other.
I learned that you absolutely cannot take people for granted,no matter how close your beds are. Just because you share a living space and a wall does not mean you will see them. Be intentional with your roommates.
I learned that we are all broken people and need each other, and in sophomore year I cried more than ever before combined.
I learned that Christians have varying beliefs, on various issues. Not everyone loves Jesus exactly the way I do, but as long as they love Jesus--that's the point. Just because someone believes..say, alcohol is ok and you don't, it does not mean they are not saved. Don't spend your time weeping over something out of your control
I learned that going back and forth on your word can really, really hurt people- it's really important to stick to your word.
I learned that being a member of a church, instead of bouncing around week by week, is vital.
It's also really important to actually BE in church. If you are the nursery or children's church helper every single week for both hours, no matter how much they pay you, your spiritual life will suffer.
I learned how to have a job for the first time, and that adult life isn’t always fair.
I learned that staying up late with friends is more than worth it, and that it’s okay to be adventurous and do things you’ve never done before(climbing on a roof, for instance) It's okay to be silly, and not take yourself so dang seriously.
Back to beliefs. I also learned that sometimes, there are wolves in sheep's clothing, and while they seem to preach truth, they are far from it.
I learned that goodbyes are really hard.
I learned that there is deep, vivid healing community when we stop hiding in our sin and shame.
I learned that “wounds from a friend are better than flattery from an enemy” Tough love might just save your life. It did mine.
Sophomore year God grew me by leaps and bounds. I had to trust him with my everything. I had nothing left in me. He carried me.
Sophomore year I learned how to suffer well.
Junior year I transitioned again. This time back to my home town.
I learned what shallow loneliness looked like. While I was around familiar faces and places, my heart felt hurt and alone.
I learned that a Christian education is not something to be taken for granted. And heck, if you have one professor that cares about you or notices you, HOLD ON TO THEM. Invest in that relationship, because they are rare.
I learned that people will sometimes use your past against you and that people have to earn a spot of trust.Along that vein,I learned to forgive and just what is meant by “forgiveness is for you, not them”
I learned that school is not just about learning. It's about the people around you, too.
I met lots of new people. Some of them stuck, some of them were only for a season or a class.
I learned that cafeteria food is actually not that great, and it's wayyyy cheaper to bring your lunch. (So what if it's peanut butter and apples and your teacher thinks it's weird).
Somewhere about mid way through, I began gaining friends. And by the End of spring semester, I learned that God gives good and perfect gifts to his children and that he “places the lonely in families”. I gained really beautiful friendships.
I also learned that sometimes reconnection with old pals is great, sometimes not so much
I learned that as adults, we have to work at our friendships and you have to work hard
I trained for a 5k and began to actually enjoy running.
I got my old job back and learned how to start from square 1 again. I learned that hard work gets you far.
I learned that in reality, we are all just like children- throwing fits and getting wayyy tooo excited about things, but we just know how to hide it better.
I realized that going back to visit a place you once lived just isn't the same.
I also learned that home isn't the same after you've been gone two years
I learned that study groups are actually really great and can help you get through hard classes.
Making a A isn't everything… Because sometimes you’ll miss an assignment or test altogether because you forgot and won't be able to make it up.
I learned that God is faithful like none other, and he is closer than we dare to imagine. When he says a hard season is over, he means it.
He is the quieter of my soul.
Junior year is a blur, but it was good for me in ways I'll probably never know. After the storm that was sophomore year, junior year taught me how to breathe again.
Well, nothing felt different at first. It was basically junior year part two.
But then gradually, I realized I was looking, acting, thinking, and believing more and more like an adult every day.
My body itself even began to change again. Suddenly looked more like the grown women around me rather than the teenagers. (Yes there's a difference. Even in my face, it's weird)
Senior year I had my first drink of alcohol
And I realized it's not really everything it's cracked up to be, and that I can live without it
I began learning (and still am) how to be an adult in a house I was a child in.. With 3 other adults learning the same thing
Yet again I was reminded that people believe differently, and many of my own beliefs, values, and ideas have changed. (Freshman year beliefs alcohol was the cause of many fights… And here I was, okay with consuming it)
I learned first hand about some of the biases and judgements lurking deep in my heart
And how to I overcome them
I learned how little I knew about the world and politics and everything that's actually important
I learned a lot about myself and how I learn and work best
I was confronted with the reality that the people around me day in and day out do not know the Lord and it's my job to tell them.
I learned that I get bored realllly easily and do not like a set schedule, not one little bit.
I learned how to do social workforce hand, as I had my first clients.
I learned how to balance all the aspects of life, and to suck each and every drop out that I can
I have gone to a lot of weddings and births and all kinds of happy things.
I am learning that where I am is enough
I volunteered for the first time at a place I fell in love with, and I realized that dreams do come true.
Senior year is kindof still in progress, and the lessons will not rooted in my memory and heart until months from now.
But senior year, I have grown up. I have learned how to live (again).
Listen up, college students. People always tell you it's the best four years of your life. I never believed them. But here’s the thing, sisters and brothers. Believe me. College will grow you, challenge you, mold you, and shape you into much of the person you will be for The rest of your life. Your brain is in the last stages of its major growth in which entire sections form in your brain the last time ever. In college you are 18 to 22 if you're there for four years. 18 you think you know everything, but you don't, I promise .At 18 I thought I was grown. I thought I knew how the world worked and a lot about God and how faith worked. I was so wrong. I thought I knew how to be a good friend and how to serve others well. But it wasn't until those areas were challenged in my life that I realized how little I actually knew.
Never be too prideful, or too anxious. Rest your heart and your souls on the fact that God loves you and knows exactly where you are. He knows your struggles and heartaches and joys and theology questions. He's going to complete the work he began. He will not let you go, and in those moments when you wonder where he is, he’s closer than ever before. He is breathing His life into you and keeping your faith, because He is the Author and the Finisher.
Run your race, keep going, do not lose hope. Give God all your questions and fears and struggles and victories. Stop stressing over that class or that test and live your life to the fullest because God has got you and that is exactly what He came for.