Monday, August 4, 2014

I'm Happy For You

It's a saying that I say often. Or at least write on Facebook posts. I'm happy for you. Don't get me wrong, I mean it. Most of the time.

Life after graduation has been a whirlwind of finding jobs, moving, and getting married. For everyone but me. I know there are some that are just like me. The small percentage with no prospects. It does give me a little hope, but there is no denying that the ones that are successful are constantly running through my mind, and my Facebook feed.

The large percentage of people are as happy as can be. They graduated, found love, found a job and are moving into true adulthood. Their lives are in fast forward and to be honest mine feels like it's paused. I have been waiting for so long to have my own classroom with my own students. The moment finally came where I was actually allowed to be a teacher and 60+ applications later I'm sitting here wondering what went wrong. Why can't I have my dream job when I worked so hard to get here? 

I didn't intend for this post to feel like I am complaining. God has blessed me with a wonderful family and friends who are constantly pouring their love into me. I had the opportunity to go to one of my favorite places in the world, Costa Rica, this summer. It was amazing and I could only go because of people supporting me. While this post is a bit about complaining, it is also about needing to remember this time in my life.Throughout this stage of my life God has been teaching me something.

I was reminded of Romans know, the verse about rejoicing with those who rejoice? It has always been a hard concept for me, especially when I am supposedly rejoicing with those who are happy because they have been given the very thing I have been hoping, praying, begging, pleading God to give me.

While it is not always with the best of intentions that I rejoice with others happiness, God is continually reminding me that this is what it means to be a part of the body of Christ. I want to truly rejoice with those who rejoice, even if I feel more like crying. It is my prayer these days, as I’m finding myself surrounded more and more by those who rejoice: Let me rejoice, God. Let me rejoice with those rejoicing.

Maybe life isn't turning out the way you expected, but I am learning that it's okay. Enjoy the moments and places that God has placed you in. It won't be this way forever. I don't know what is next, but I know God has a perfect plan for each of us, far better than anything we can imagine.

I'm working on showing true joy for the people in my life who are finding happiness. So if you happen to see or hear me say "I'm happy for you", you can be sure that I mean it. I encourage you to do the same.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

My Identity

Why did no one warn me that life right after college would be some of the most awkward times of my life? Do you ever feel like you don't fit in? I'll be honest, at times it feels like I've lost my identity. For four years I was a high schooler. That is what was expected of me, to go through high school and be a student. That was my purpose, my goal, my life.Then for four years I was a college student. That is what was expected of me, to go to college and be a student. So I did, that was my purpose, my goal, my life, my identity. I let it become me. While you always know that these two different stages would not last forever, it doesn't really hit you until you are out. I have no purpose, I have no life, and I have no identity.

 Now I don't mean I truly have no purpose now that I'm free (hallelujah), but I say no purpose for the sake of not having a plan, not knowing what is ahead. I feel like I was shot out of a cannon into a world that I'm not ready for. My friend group all of a sudden doesn't work anymore, we're all growing up and going different directions in life. I'm no longer treated like a child (most of the time) and I'm expected to be spending time with adults. (Talking about super boring things, am I right?) I'm expected to be an adult, yet I don't feel like I am because I haven't started my big girl job. So I'm stuck in a weird stage where I have lost my identity.

I'm constantly drawn back to my identity in Christ. Truthfully, it is the only thing that is keeping me from losing my mind right now.

When we place our identity in Christ, there are so many wonderful promises that we can be reminded of:

We are a new creation (2nd Corinthians 5:17)
We will NEVER be separated from His love (Romans 8:39)
Christ has forgiven our sins (Ephesians 1:7)
We can approach Christ with CONFIDENCE. (Ephesians 3:12)
And my favorite one, Christ holds all things together. (Colossians 1:17)

So while I'm making my way through this new journey called adulthood, it doesn't have to be alone. While I'm constantly trying to find my identity, I can rest assured that I can always place my identity in Christ
I encourage you to do the same.

One of my favorite quotes is by a Pastor Mark Driscoll, and I'll end with this...

“You aren’t what’s been done to you but what Jesus has done for you. You aren’t what you do but what Jesus has done. What you do doesn’t determine who you are. Rather, who you are in Christ determines what you do.”

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

New Beginning

Now that I am a college graduate, I thought I'd start my blogging up again! Why not have my first post be all about my college experience....right? :)

I'm not going to be one of those college students that says that they blinked and college passed by their eyes.
To be completely honest, the first two years of college were a nightmare. I hated Olivet, I hated the people at Olivet, and I became angry at God for putting me in this place where I felt so alone and discouraged. I had friendships that failed. I had professors let me down. I realized how incredibly dark the world can be, despite being in the "Olivet bubble". It was two years of my life that were quite scary and frustrating. I do not think there was a day that went by that I didn't comtemplate leaving. However, the last two years have shown me that I am SO glad I didn't listen to the voice in my head. Let's be honest, sometimes the voice in my head can be wrong. And lame. And discouraging.

First week of junior year was quite the struggle. With the weirdest roommate on the planet, I was wondering how I could possibly make it another two years at Olivet. But in that very first week of junior year, I became friends with four of the best girls I could possibly know. I truly believe God has placed each one of them in my life for life. The late night heart to hearts, funny inside jokes, and countless card games we have played have shown me what true friendship is. It also showed me how to live life in community with other people. They are honestly the best part of college for me.

Now the last two years of college was not always flowers and sunshine. But compared to the first two years, it was a relaxing walk in the park. I began to see how God had a purpose for every college experience - even during the first two years. I had the amazing opportunity to mature and grow as an adult, which was such a weird concept to me. I had people give up on me. I said goodbye to friendships that I realized were unhealthy, and I realized that it's okay to say goodbye. It's okay to let go.

Somehow I was able to graduate with honors and receive my Bachelors in Elementary Education. I know that I am supposed to be a teacher, it is just the where and when that is up in the air. This is another situation where I am putting my trust in Christ, I know everything will work out.

So now here I am thinking about life after graduation. In "my plan" I had a job all planned out and knew what I was doing after I received that diploma. In "my plan" I was going to find my future husband at college and be thinking about marriage by this point. In "my plan" I was going to be significantly richer than I am right now. But God has other plans, plans that are better for me despite all of my uncertainty. Isaiah 55:8 says "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways." Even though my way might seem like the most logical to me, I know that in the end Christ's path for my life is better than anything I could imagine. It's just the waiting and trusting that is the struggle!

These words gave me hope, and I hope they do the same for you: Cast all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.