It’s the end of a school year, a time that for me is usually wracked with stress, sleepless nights, copious amounts of coffee, and very little self care. It’s also a time of uncertainty, especially now that I am entering the summer before my final year of college. WHAT?! I feel like I just graduated high school and made it to where the big kids get to go, how have I almost completed three years of college? It is a time of big questions, specifically, “God, where are you leading me?”
This has been a very different finals season for me. All of that stress and lack of self care cannot happen this semester, because two weeks after school ends i’m on a plane flying 9,000 miles across the world to Uganda, East Africa. I have people depending on me to be healthy enough to volunteer and do the job i’m going there to do. I know that my usual lack of self care during finals leads to me usually getting sick and then taking weeks to recuperate and get back to my “pre-finals” normal. Nope i’m not doing that. Not this year. I’m not losing my health and sanity for a grade. At first I felt like this was wrong, like I was lazy, and not as dedicated as my friends, but God whispered in my ear, “Life is not a grade sweet girl.”
Life is not a grade.
I’m so blessed to have the opportunity to go to a four year university, an opportunity that I didn’t always appreciate. But grades are just one little aspect, and if we’re not careful they can become our end all be all. We can push our bodies, minds, and souls to the very limit just to get that grade in some instances. We see that grade as what our future is dependent upon. Will I get into this grad school? Will I get a good job? Will I ______ fill in the blank! Yes it is important to try hard and getting good grades is great, but not at the sake of your health, and not when you start believing they have the power to change your life drastically one way or another. The only person that can change our lives for the better is Jesus, through us and our actions.
I say this all because my grades have become a huge thing to me recently. I’ve panicked over my future so often lately, so unsure if i’m doing things “right”, if i’m making the right to decisions to lead me where I want to go. But that is so silly. God leads me. He sustains me. He shows me the path. And i’ve been trying (emphasis on TRYING) to take the control out of his hands by arbitrarily holding so tightly onto what my grades meant about who I am. Identity and who we are is an area where the enemy is constantly going to try to get a foothold in. He is going to try to make you believe that you are everything but what you really are. You are made as a son or daughter of the King. You live in grace, mercy, redemption, hope, eternity, love, kindness, the Kingdom. The enemy tried to make me believe that I would let God down based on my academic performance.
How many lies does the enemy feed us, that we start to believe are from Jesus? I finished up my junior year of college this past week and have been in full prep mode getting ready to head to Uganda – and the enemy is in full attack. Oh man have I been getting anxious and having random, obnoxious, constant, obsessive thoughts, but you know what? I am walking through it and feeling the uncomfortable, and knowing that above all, God will see me through. Have you read the story of Jesus leading his disciples through the storm?
One day he and his disciples got in a boat. “Let’s cross the lake,” he said. And off they went. It was smooth sailing, and he fell asleep. A terrific storm came up suddenly on the lake. Water poured in, and they were about to capsize. They woke Jesus: “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”Getting to his feet, he told the wind, “Silence!” and the waves, “Quiet down!” They did it. The lake became smooth as glass. Then he said to his disciples, “Why can’t you trust me?” Luke 8:22-25 MSG (emphasis is my own)
When I read this story in the message version and saw it translated as “Why can’t you trust me?” I was knocked over. This, honestly is such a hard area for me to decipher and understand because I truly believe that Jesus can overcome your anxiety. But I also understand that I have a disorder and my brain is wired differently, and it’s very likely many of these aspects will never go away. So does that mean i’m not listening to God because my brain is different? No, I think it means I have to lean extra hard on the Lord, while giving him and myself enough grace to understand that this might be a part of my story. It won’t be my story, but it will be a part, coloring all of my life’s experiences with an extra layer of hardship and gratitude for what the Lord has had me overcome. So I trust God by putting myself in situations that give me no other choice but to rely on him, to have him sustain me, to surrender everything to him. And it’s freaking hard.
I am so uncomfortable now that i’m exactly a week from leaving for Uganda. I know it’s the enemy attacking but just sitting still and sitting and praying through it doesn’t make it anymore comfortable, at least not right away. Every little experience that is tough, or challenging raises my tolerance to anxiety and to the things that are hard for me.
Honestly it’s taken me many edits and additions to create this post, so it may not make that much cohesive sense, but I feel like it’s what the Lord has for me to say. He is my refuge. Goodnight for now friends.