Fall semester of my sophomore year went by in the blink of an eye. I could've sworn I was just moving into my dorm room, but here I am getting ready for finals and a month of being home in Northern VA. I didn't think that any semester could top this past semester when it comes to the growth I have experienced, but boy was I wrong. The past several months hit me like a ton of bricks and I've never been more thankful or felt more full because of it.
One of my favorite things about Making Joy and Bliss is that I'll be able to look back at past posts and see what was on my mind at the time. What I've learned this semester is something that I feel like I have to document, so here I am.
God's best is better than my best.
I'll just be really honest here. In the past, my prayers sounded a lot like "God do this" or "God please give me that." I was always asking for my best. What I thought I wanted. Then I realized, why the heck am I begging God for what I have planned for my life when what He has in store for me is already a million times better than I could ever even imagine? It quickly became less about me and my plan and more about Him and His plan.
Satan is always looking to steal your joy.
It's taken me a while to fully come to terms with this reality. As much as the Lord is for us, the enemy is against us. There's no way to avoid it than to run faster to our Savior. I've practically been sprinting to Him the past few months, and sometimes I'm simply not fast enough. Satan gets his foot in the door, and then I'm right back to being distracted by the things of this world. The best part about this though is that I could be lost for a day, a week, a month, or even a year and God still loves me. Now that I'm aware of the enemy's presence and his attempts to pull me away from what's best for my heart, it's easier to see trouble every now and then before extreme damage can be done. Does this mean I don't fall for his shenanigans? Absolutely not. It just means I'm more aware of this beautiful thing called redemption that I find in Jesus.
Nothing on this Earth is forever.
Okay, so this statement isn't super profound or anything, but this is one of the most shocking and hard things I learned this semester. September was like a massive thunderstorm that just wouldn't let up. When I was away at school, my family unexpectedly lost the dog that I had grown up with for 12 years. Losing Casper was hard, but on top of all of that, my dad went in for surgery a few days later to remove a tumor in his kidney. Because of school, I couldn't be there with everyone for his recovery and I realized that being in college, being an adult, and having to be away from my family meant that I was going to have to learn to cope with things much differently. Being away from home meant holding my friends a little tighter, letting myself cry harder, and being much more thankful for this wonderful thing called facetime.
Relationships will change and that's okay.
I never really listened when people told me, "It's okay if the friends that you have when you get to college aren't the same friends that you have a year or so later." I wasn't interested in facing this reality at all. Having stable friends is something that's been so foreign to me, and I was desperate for it. When I saw that some of my friendships were indeed changing, it scared the crap out of me quite honestly. I approached this year wondering who I'd spend my time with, but never once did it cross my mind that God already had people picked out for me. He really ended up spoiling me in the friendship department this year. I think the difference that I see in my relationships this time is that these people really "get" me. They laugh, cry, and dance with me. We support each other with every ounce of our being. And most importantly, they bring me closer to my King and for that, I am so blessed. Y'all know who you are, thank you for being you.
You get what you give.
One of the biggest differences that I've noticed between this year and last is that I made a point to be really present in the dorm. While being on the leadership team has helped, I've made more of a point to be in the common area with everyone, I try to leave my door propped open often, and with all of that, my attitude towards school has changed immensely. Last year I never attended hall events, never hung out in other girl's rooms, or took the chance to get to know my RA's. The fact that I didn't feel welcome on my hall was entirely my fault. I didn't take advantage of all of the opportunities that were offered. I guess what I'm trying to say here is that if I had taken a step back and evaluated why I wasn't feeling 100% comfortable at school was because I wasn't doing my part. So put yourself out there. Meet new people. Show up to those seemingly lame organized events. I promise you won't regret it.
Find your safe space.
Okay, #1 thing about this is that your safe space isn't your room. Get out of there y'all. It's so easy, especially during the winter months, to trap yourself in your room. Anyways, find a place either on or off campus, where you can be alone and recharge. For me, it's the little prayer chapel on my campus. At night, especially, it's really quiet in there and I can almost feel God's presence in there instantly. It's a place where I can just sit whether it's for a quick ten minutes or an hour and just let go of all of the heavy stuff on my heart. Tears have been shed there, but I've also gone there when I'm having the best day ever and I just need to take it all in. Maybe for you, it'll be your car, your favorite place to eat, or a little table in the library, but find your space. Journal there. Call your mom there. Pray there. Breathe there.
Thanks so much for reading y'all! I love you so much and am so grateful for you. Enjoy the Christmas season! Soak it all up!