Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Comfort, Trust, Love, and Unknowns

Apparently, my thoughts get all sentimental in the wee hours of the morning and my urge to write is strong then too, which is why you're probably getting a bunch of 'aww' posts lately.

Each year of college life has been characterized by something different-- some theme or motif that's run through the entire year and teaches me a lesson in some way when I look back at the end of June.

Freshman year, I learned how to live with others, how to be more flexible and compromise, and I realized just how comfortable I am in new situations. As an only child, I never had to share my bedroom before and suddenly gaining two roommates was culture shock for me. I'm a naturally light sleeper, so you can imagine how I felt coming to college and waking up to every little disturbance throughout the night. I'm so thankful that God gave me the roommates he did freshman year because they were so patient with me and so forgiving as I slowly figured out how to live with people who weren't my parents.

When it came to social situations and making new friends and adjusting to college life outside the dorm room, though, I'd like to think it went rather well. The transition from high school to college that troubles so many wasn't actually that bad; I like meeting new people and have a tendency to strike up conversations with strangers anyways, so being dropped into surroundings where I knew almost no one didn't really scare me too much. I learned by the end of the year that God gives us challenges in life to strengthen and grow us, but never anything we can't handle. Everyone grows up and matures a lot their first year of college and I don't think I was any different in that respect.

Sophomore year, the lesson learned was definitely one of dependence and trust in God. There was a lot of drama that year concerning the next year's living situation in the apartments and a lot of misunderstanding and miscommunication. Although looking back, this was my favorite year of roomies, I know that I spent much of the year feeling hurt and rejected every time my friends would talk about apartment life together. While I know they hadn't meant to exclude me and it was quite unintentional, it didn't stop the ache that poked at my heart every time they mentioned the future.

When it came time to find an apartment with the girls I was going to live with, we weren't able to start apartment hunting until late in the school year, which led to much worry, stress, and fear that we wouldn't be able to find somewhere to live in time. With things so uncontrollable and unpredictable, leaving the entire situation in God's hands and trusting that He would provide was basically the only thing I could do. Personally, that's always something that's hard since I like to have things under control and planned and mapped out so that there aren't surprises and I don't have to freak out when deadlines are approaching. His plan was good though and he gave us more than we had hoped for. The entire situation made much more sense in retrospect since I could see where He had been leading me and why things happened the way they did.

Junior year, unconditional love and thankfulness for friends were highlighted. While I did and still do adore the girls I had the privilege of living with last year, the experience opened my eyes to a lot of things I was thankful for and also things I needed to work on. Seeing the kind of peer pressure my two roomies faced from their friends made me realize how amazingly glad I was that God placed me exactly where I was at the time. Everything leading up to college gave me a strong foundation of beliefs, character, and morals that stood firm in the face of all the things I could have gotten involved with in college. He gave me a high school friend to keep me company and keep me accountable freshman year when I might have otherwise decided to 'reinvent' myself {I did contemplate it, but reinvention is hard when you're living with someone who's known you when you had braces and survived SATs, APs, and college apps with you}. He surrounded me with friends who, if anything, peer pressured me into being better and challenging myself. For all those things, I was extremely grateful.

Living with non-GOCers was actually good in terms of experiencing the other side of college life. I think I wouldn't have learned as much as I did that year about serving and loving others, patience, and putting others before myself if I had lived with people who made those things easy. Beyond that, just seeing how loving, welcoming, and sacrificial of their time my GOC friends were towards me when I spent most of my time in their apartment {cause my apt was always empty and too quiet} was a blessing and a challenge in itself. Those were instances where I saw areas I could grow in and made me want to be just as loving towards my own apartmentmates.

Senior year isn't over yet, so I can't really tell you what the theme's going to be, but I can tell you that I've learned a lot during these past four years at college, not all of which happened in the classroom. Just some things I've come to realize in the past several months of senior year:

This is about making and collecting memories. Stuff is not as important and can't compare to the time and effort you invest in those around you. Give of yourself first and don't always weigh whether they can one day help you in return. Take chances sometimes and try new things; the risk is usually less than the reward. Challenge yourself to do things you didn't think you could. Overcoming fear is one of the most satisfying feelings in the world. Finding something you're passionate about sometimes comes about by accident. Doing nothing in particular with people you adore is better than being busy with people you tolerate. Best friends are the best.

I'm not sure how to end this post, other than saying: He has a plan for you and it may not be clear now, but looking back, you can see what He's led you through and why He allowed things to happen the way they did. Try to see them as they come, but if not, at least be thankful when they've passed and you've realized just how blessed you are.

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