Sometimes, life just works.
I’ve heard many adults talk of the year that changed their life forever. For a while now, I’ve been praying for that one moment that will change me. That moment that I can look back on and say, “that’s when everything changed for me.”
In reality, its almost never one moment, but a collection of circumstances God strategically places in your life so that you can look back and see He was shaping you the whole time. This year, I’ve really been able to pinpoint those moments. Life is finally starting to make sense.
Before this summer, I struggled with anxiety, stress, and depression. I was sleep deprived, becoming comfortable in my pain, and running from God. It was a dark place to be and I ran to the wrong places for help. I looked for happiness in friends, my boyfriend at the time, music, therapy, and more. I depended on people to constantly reassure me that I was pretty and smart, but one thing I can promise you about other people is that they will NEVER satisfy your needs. The hole that every human feels in their heart can only be filled by God, we were made to thrive in a close relationship with our Maker.
I decided one day that I was tired of running. I couldn’t keep pushing away those who tried to love me because I couldn’t love myself. Lesson Number One: Love yourself because nobody else can do that for you.
So, I began this summer by going on a trip to the beach with my best friend. It was the perfect getaway to reconnect with her and revive my spirits after a long year of being emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically exhausted. When I returned, I headed of to Impact, a southern baptist church camp that I HIGHLY recommend attending. This was my third year at Impact and I got to see all my friends that I hadn’t seen since the year before. God called me back to Him that week as he allowed people and sermons at camp to reach my tired heart. Since then, I’ve been keeping up with friends from camp and they constantly encourage me in my walk.
The second church camp I attended a couple of weeks later was “Beach Camp.” I was invited by a friend to go and again God did amazing things in my life that week. One being calling me to travel and include writing and missionary work in that. The second, reconnecting me with an old friend that I hadn’t known was struggling with the same things I was. Although, the biggest thing that happened to me that week was deciding that I was DONE with anxiety controlling my life. I prayed for God to take it away so that I could be more influential and outgoing in sharing my testimony with others. Now, I look back and question how I ever struggled with social anxiety, its almost nonexistent! That will forever be one of the biggest miracles God has performed in my life and I thank Him for it.
Finally, my last big moment of the summer was the mission trip. And as you can tell if you read the post before this, it had TREMENDOUS impacts on my life in many ways.
All in all, my takeaway from the summer is this: In my relationship with God I must not TRY harder, instead I must TRUST deeper. (Thanks Impact). This little saying has entirely changed my view about everything. I no longer struggle with thinking I have to do everything perfectly because I know that God will take my best and handle the rest.
In addition to realizing how God is working in my life, another big lesson for me recently has been that not everyone will see things the same way I do. But what we must take away from this is that, so long as we know ourselves, our beliefs, and what God is calling us to do, we can determine how to handle the “gray areas” in our lives. I’ve recently struggled with the acknowledgement that I think differently than most people my age, but the fact is that God has blessed me with wisdom to see the bigger picture in life. By that, I mean that I understand that the small things don’t have to be big things, they will pass. What matters is how we are loving others and loving God while keeping eternity in mind. Through prayer and guidance I understand that how I see things and what standards and beliefs I hold myself to may very well differ from others (and even my parents many times) but as long as I make an effort to stay humble, caring, and honoring to others it is ok to disagree with friends and family over some matters. Not everybody is fighting the same battle, and we all must react to our own circumstances differently.
What I want you, readers, to take away from this is that you MUST know yourself and be firm in your relationship with God before you begin making big decisions. This can mean establishing your limits in your dating life, deciding whats best for you and your future, or making a bold decision though it may not be the safe option that those close to you are encouraging.
THAT is how I believe you can continue to live passionately. Be confident in the fact that you are God’s child and He has an amazing plan for your life, one that is more outstanding than you could ever imagine. So, when life gets a bit rough and you begin to develop your own opinions based on what you believe is right, have faith in the fact that God is on your side so long as you are living for Him.