God's plans are not my plans but they are better than my plans.
During my first semester at college I have learned so much about life, God, myself, idols, etc. But one of the biggest things I think God has taught and is teaching me is to look to Him first for everything and to just rest in Him with full trust as I go about my days. I'm still NOT perfect at this by any means, nor will I ever be perfect at trusting in God. I'm sinful, I still worry and get anxious about the littlest things (and biggest things), but I know God's working and doing good things in me and in the world. His ways are higher and better than our ways.
When I feel anxious about something, instead of trying to just push it away, now I'm learning to let myself feel those emotions of anxiety, but before whatever it is that I'm about to face happens, I'm learning to take a moment to lift my head to God and talk to him about those worries and anxious thoughts and remind myself that being anxious will not make this situation better and pray that I'll rest in Him no matter what -- whether something goes poorly or smoothly.
For example, a couple weeks ago, around finals week, I had my community group + a couple of other girls over to my house on a Saturday night to have a home-cooked dinner, do some Christmas cookie decorating, and watch a Christmas movie (we voted on Home Alone...SOLID CHOICE. I really think it's impossible not to laugh out loud during that movie, mainly when Kevin is totally dominating against the "Wet Bandits" by keeping them out of his house with all his creative traps and hurting them. Gets me every time :') lol) But back to what I was saying... Before everyone came over, I immediately started feeling a bit anxious. I've dealt with a lot of social anxiety over the years, so having a bunch of people (even as sweet and loving as these girls are, I love them all) over to my house is just a little intimidating to me I guess. I'm a people-pleaser and desperately want people to have a good time/feel comfortable/etc. when they come to my house, but sometimes I feel like I'm not capable because I'm not the outgoing party-type who is good at entertaining people because I'm a reserved person.
When I felt all these worrisome thoughts come into my head and before freaking out, I stopped what I was doing, sat there in my chair for a few minutes, rationalized my thoughts, brought them to God asking for calmness, and I had to remind myself that anxiety does nothing to speed anything up or make anything less stressful, better, or worse. Seriously it is not helpful WHATSOEVER!! Because it does nothing to a situation to change it! Even though the little bit of anxiety I was feeling didn't leave like magic, it just helped for me to have one of these moments to calm my mind down a little and rest in God's arms for the night while I had this little holiday gathering/finals study break for these girls.
Going off of this subject on trust and anxiety, I've also been learning that ignoring and hiding emotions is not the way to go. I'm not good at sharing my feelings out loud to people, but again, I'm learning that it is so much more painful to bottle up emotions as opposed to telling a family member or friend, or even as simple as spilling out your feelings on a page in a journal/notebook. In my own experience, keeping everything to myself builds up feelings of depression inside of me, and that is so painful. I'm a timid person. I normally cannot get myself to start talking about my feelings to people out of the blue. I'm prideful, and often I don't know how to verbalize my actual thoughts and emotions that I'm currently feeling. But it is SO healthy to have people that you can freely tell what's going on in your mind and heart. It's scary sometimes being vulnerable and can feel embarrassing as its coming out of your mouth. I get it because that's how I feel most of the time.
But from vulnerability comes an awesome feeling freedom inside of you. I'm learning that God really did mean for us to be in community in this life. We were made to be friends with people and to love, care, listen, struggle together, sympathize, challenge, and encourage each other. In high school, I can say I had two great friends who I genuinely enjoyed being with and felt comfortable with. (If you're reading this, I bet you two know who you are!) But besides these awesome awesome girls, I felt so alone. So sad. So anxious all the time. And sadly, a lot of the time I never even had the courage to speak up about all the feelings and struggles I was facing that I had been bottling up. It was not healthy, and I now wish I could go back and really make an effort to be vulnerable with the couple of friends I had.
Friendship is an amazing thing, and I wish I knew and understood how important it is as I was growing up, especially in high school. I was so distant from everyone then. I didn't fit in with most people for some reason...okay I'm a lil awkward :) (frankly I still feel this way often. But I'm learning to embrace my uniqueness and the girl God made me to me, whether I really click with people or not.) I'm a quiet person generally, and am not someone who has a lot to say! Therefore I feel like my quietness sometimes is off-putting to some, but I know deep in my heart that being quiet is O.K.A.Y. True friends will like me for me.
I know I've said a lot of "I'm learning..." throughout this post today, but I truly am just growing and learning a lot apparently right now in this strange crazy thing called LIFE!
Summary/Re-cap of some of what God's been teaching me during my first semester at SLU:
- Trusting in God.
- Resting in Him.
- Letting myself feel emotions and raise them up to my Heavenly Father.
- Reminding myself that anxiety does nothing to a situation.
- Dealing with social anxiety, but also at the same time learning that friendship is SO important as well as living in community with others/not secluding myself just bc I'm self conscious about my personality and that I don't gel with everyone (& that's alight!! <<--- this is me reminding myself this truth as I write this haha).
- Learning how to be a good friend to others.
- God's plans are higher and better than my plans.
- Vulnerability brings freedom and growth to relationships.
More on all of this to come probably :) Once I start on a topic..my mind just starts going and soon enough I am at a completely different topic at the end of a post. I hope all of my thoughts made somewhat of sense and isn't just a complete/huge vomitting of words on a page that makes sense in my head but to no one else. It happens. And if that's the case today with this post...so be it...God knows my thoughts and I hope my attempt to sharing them with others is pleasing to Him.
To God be the glory.
Current Status: Embracing my quiet, quirky, awkward, sometimes (okay, a lot of times) anxious, Jesus-loving self