College? Bring It On.

IMG_0412“When I’m lost in the mystery, to You my future is a memory. Cause You’re already there, You’re already there, standing at the end of my life, waiting on the other side.”                                                                                     ~MercyMe ‘Already There’

Well, I have been trying to find the words to right a blog about starting college all summer. But how does one begin to summarize something so big? How does one categorize the emotions, fears, anticipation, and joy of such a new experience?! I just heard the song “Already There” by MercyMe, and figured it was as good a starting point as any.

So, tomorrow is the big day. My first day at a University. I’d like to tell you I have no fear, no anxiety, and that I am completely prepared. But I believe honesty is something to be valued, and the truth is, I’m scared. I’m scared I won’t make friends or get connected. I’m scared the work load will be too much. I’m scared I won’t be good enough. It’s a lot of change all at once, and that intimidates me.

I’ve never liked change. I like to have a plan, and stick to the plan. I’m the kind of person that has a planner in her desk and in her purse. The thing is, God doesn’t run His plan by us. He just says follow me, and often only gives one direction at a time. We are to listen and go when He says go, and then wait for His next direction. It’s called faith, and that’s what this life is all about.

I want to know who my friends will be, what organizations I should be involved in, how my grades will be, and so much more. God isn’t laying this out before me though. He told me to go to this school. That was my direction. He didn’t give me a detailed blueprint to follow. I am certain, though, that he will give me enough guidance and strength for each day as it comes. I may not know how everything will work out, but I know that everything will work out.

So, tomorrow I will walk into my new classes for the first time. Tomorrow, I will trust God even though I am surrounded by new and unfamiliar circumstances. Tomorrow, I will begin discovering what God’s plan for my time here at this University is. It won’t all come at once, but it will come as I need it. Just like the song says, He is ALREADY THERE. So as long as I follow His voice, I will end up there too.

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But what if you fly?

“You ask, ‘But what if I fall?’ Oh, but darling, what if you fly?” What would life look like if instead of anticipating failure, we anticipated success? I let fear, doubt, and a thousand what if questions keep me from taking chances everyday. Sometimes, I think I just need to stop thinking so much, just […]

Facing My Fear

“So what are you afraid of?  The shadows your scared of are usually your own, their not the great unknown.” ~ Kerrie Roberts ‘What are You Afraid of’

I have recently faced a lot of anxiety caused by insecurity and fear. Iv’e been teetering on the edge of a decision for a while now, knowing what I needed to do, but letting fear prevent any action. However, I recently made the bold decision to just go for it. I was still filled with fear at the thought, and I lacked the confidence I wanted. But this time, instead of letting my fear direct my choice, I let my faith. And instead of running away from my fears, I ran towards them.

The thoughts of fear and discouragement, telling me I was going to fail, did not quite once I decided to face my fear. However, when I faced them,  I realized, through God, I am bigger than my fears. The things I fear can come to pass and I will still be standing, in the middle of it all. I have to ignore the negative thoughts coming at me, and begin listening to the one voice of God. It tells me that I am  His and He won’t let me fail. Though the truth God speaks isn’t always what I feel is true, it is always what I know is true. This gives me strength and faith to do the things that intimidate me, regardless of the fears.

The thing is, so many times the things we fear will happen, actually happen. We have to realize, though, that when they do, we can remain standing. They’re never as big as we imagine, they don’t have to destroy us. Yes, sometimes they are challenging and hard, and maybe not ideal, but we have to learn that if we are God’s, we cannot fail! Even if it looks like failure to our eyes, we have to remember our story is not finished. There is still more to be written, and God will use what we interpret as failure, for glory.

So what are you afraid of? Don’t run from it. Go out, find it, confront it, and see how much you are truly capable of.

 

Faith On The Frontline

“It feels like I’m falling, and that’s what it’s like to believe.” ~Francesca Battistelli ‘I’m Letting Go’

I love how Francesca Battistelli describes faith in this song. She compares believing to falling. This is a rather shocking metaphor at first glance. See, we tend to associate the form of believing she is referring to, with our faith in God, and that faith is a good thing. I don’t know about you, but I relate falling with negative things, such as: failure, fear, and insecurities. How is it that a good thing can cause such a harmful effect as falling?

I think It is important to first understand, having faith does not mean that you always feel positive about the situation. Faith is a action, not a feeling. While this may not be news to you, a short, and I mean short, time ago, it was a revelation to me. I felt I did not have faith simply because I did not feel able to do the things God set before me. Then, I took time to consider the Bible’s definition of faith, and I realized faith had nothing to do with how I felt, but everything to do with what I knew to be truth. God is not telling me to feel brave, to feel secure, or to feel confident. He told me to BE brave, to KNOW I was safe,and to BE confident. I can be brave even when I feel like I am too weak to face the giants before me. I can know and act in the safety God gives me, even when I feel like the world is threatening to take it from me. And I can act in the confidence I have through Jesus even when I feel insecurities attacking me from every direction.

With this being said, I thing it may make a little more sense to compare faith to falling. With faith, you don’t know what is ahead, you are just trusting God won’t fail in His promises. Its like that game we all played as kids. The one where you put a blindfold on one person, while another one guides them through an obstacle course. If you’re the one with the blindfold, you feel like at any minute you’re going to either run into a wall, trip and fall, or that something is going to insert itself right into your path. And you can do nothing about it. That is often the way it is when trusting God. He is the one guiding us, telling us where to go, and we are the ones with the blindfold. We don’t see the big picture that God sees. So often the things he calls us to do make no sense to us. They appear from or view (the blindfolded view) to lead us right into disasters. Yet, God does see the big picture, and He will not lead us into despair.

We have to make the choice that we are going to keep going the direction God is calling us, no matter how we feel. Remember, faith is what you know to be truth, not what you feel. Hold on to God’s hand as he leads you through the obstacle course. It’s going to be scary. That’s ok though. Truth be told, the obstacle course would be a lot scarier if you had no blindfold, AND no Jesus beside you.

There are going to be multiple seasons of our lives when our faith will be exercised in different ways. For instance, right now God is building my faith through the words in John 12:25, “Anyone who holds on to his life just as it is, destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.” God’s goal is not to rid us of things we enjoy, rather it’s to make us dependent on Him alone. He knows this is the only way for us to live a complete life. We can’t put so much value in things He gives us, that we compromise our beliefs.

God is revealing to me the things in this life that I have to too much value in. These are the things that are keeping me from being willing to lose my life, in order to gain the one God would give me. This is where faith comes in. I don’t see what God has in store for me, but I do see the life I am living and the things before my eyes now. To let go of this, to be willing to sacrifice it, means accepting something unknown. However, through the words in John 12, I am learning to lose my life through faith that God will not allow me to be left lacking in anything, but instead will provide more than I could imagine. This means I stop fighting so hard to justify my attachment to earthly attractions. It means letting go of my need for control. It means being willing to be broken if that’s what it takes for God to make me whole. It means no more compromising my values for the desires of my flesh. I’m giving God my hand, as I wear the blindfold. Yes, I feel like I am falling, but this, this, is what it is like to believe.

One last note, we begin to see, as we act on faith instead of feelings, that our feelings begin to go the direction of our faith. Let your faith lead you wherever you are, you will begin to feel that faith become a true feeling. But you have to push that faith through the deepest storms sometimes for it to become tried and true. James 1:3, ” And you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.”