First of all, I need everyone to read this entire blog in your most dramatic diva voice. It will be much more realistic and fun. Words in all caps—give them all the emphasis. The sassier the better. Cause duh.
Before I get into the good stuff, I need to say this. In my first blog I wanted to bring attention to real life. I wanted to be transparent, which, for me at the time, meant writing about things that didn’t meet my expectations. I didn’t want to pretend like the best four years of my life started the day I moved in. This is real life.
I mean this with respect and love and all those things, but you lovely people do not hide pity very well. And it is unnecessary to cast all or any of that pity on me. Yes, I decided to put it out there for the world to read about. But I am not the only one who moved into a shoebox hours away from home. It may not look like it on social media, but every college freshman struggles. It is a hard and awkward transition into the real world and there is not an instruction manual. I WISH.
Here it is. I love college. I plan on being a Vol for three more years. YES, freshman year was the pits at times. But I made friends who are more like family, and I did fun things, and I started to figure out who I want to be in the world. THAT is what I’ll remember about freshman year.
Sometimes I get a little negative because I want to shed light on the things of life that no one likes to talk about. But I’m learning that I can claim the good things in life without feeling fake. I’m going to mostly talk about the pits in this post, but that’s because the pits make us. YES I said the pits make us. We are who we are because of the PITS. How cliché.
I’m going to be honest. I would not do this year again. Freshman year was not a breeze, y’all. I had to learn to survive LIFE without my mom. I had to figure out what I was going to eat for dinner EVERY night. Family dinners. Food on the table without any of my thoughts put into it. These are the most missed things of my normal childhood life.
I learned hard things this year. Life lessons that could have easily been spread out more evenly throughout the REST of my life. No. All in one year. It’s fine. I didn’t die. I got real low, but I am alive and well and the hardest part is over. I hope.
Part 2 is going to be different than part 1. These are things that I’ve learned in the past 8 months as a college freshman. But I think these things are relevant in every season of life. My prayer is that you can hear the Lord through these words whether you are 18 or 95. Okay. Here we go.
Let’s start with a confession. It feels like the natural thing to do here.
I found myself in the pits because I was treating Jesus like my job. I went to all the bible studies and made myself hang out with people who drained the life out of me. I was just trying to find my people, but in the process I stopped relying on God to bring them and started searching for them myself. I just wanted to get started with the fun things like trips to the cornbread festival and picnics in the park.
Those things came in God’s timing and the three friends who never drained me became my people. But before God so faithfully made that happen, I took my life into my own hands and I failed miserably. I was not getting the things done. And I was not inviting Jesus to do the things for me. So He knocked me onto my butt and told me to just chill for a sec because He’s working it for my good. Obviously.
I can get into the deets another time. But basically I stopped loving myself. My life didn’t look how I wanted it to. I didn’t look how I wanted to on the inside or the outside. I’m going to be honest, I let Satan win until I decided that he just couldn’t anymore. I invited Jesus to the pit. But He was already there. And He had been fighting for me the whole time.
People in this world will tell you that you don’t need Jesus. You can get yourself out of the pit. You can make yourself happy. You control your life.
I’m sorry. It’s just not true. You can try to get yourself out of it but you will only find yourself deeper in the funk. You need Jesus. College would be a waste of time without Him. And there is just no way around it.
You need Him like you need oxygen. But let me tell you the business. Jesus is not lame. He is not the friend who sucks life from every room. No. He brings the life. He takes regular things and makes them soul-satisfying things. He shows up to the party and you don’t even realize He is there putting heavenly things into your heart and making it full.
So that’s number two: this life can only be abundantly full if you are inviting Jesus to all the things.
Trust me on this. He can come to your picnics and be there when you exercise and He is even content to lay next to you on the no makeup PJ days.
Loving Jesus is not a chore. Inviting Him into all your life things does not mean you are becoming responsible for Him. You don’t have to start preaching at social events and saying lengthy prayers before every meal. Telling Jesus that He is welcome is not a burden.
This is how Jesus wants you to see it: He brings life and life to the full. He is peace and joy and hope. His presence changes the atmosphere. He can make ordinary things feel like a piece of heaven.
Time with Jesus is not limited to a quiet time or bible study. These things are good. But they do not define the life Jesus has for you.
And it’s a good thing because I am not a consistent gal. Thank God that my eternity and quality of life do not depend on consecutive dates in my prayer journal. Get this in your head. Jesus wants to live life with you. That’s it. He just wants to be there when you do the things He has set before you to do.
Three. This is important so listen up. Choose the things that make you full.
You know what I’m talking about. Stop surrounding yourself with those people who make you feel like you have to be someone you’re not. Live your life with the people who see you and love you as you are.
This is all I’m saying. When you find the people and things that Jesus has put into your life, you will know it. Don’t waste your time pursuing friendships if they are not working naturally and bringing you good things. If Jesus wants it to be, it will be. College/life will work better if you just let Him do His thing.
And all you have to do is go where He’s doing His thing. Here ya go. I feel closer to Jesus when I’m in Knoxville. It is where I’m supposed to be, and I know that because His presence is stronger even in the little things. I love going home. I love my family. But this chapter of my life will be the most fulfilling in Knoxville. Not Medina.
Run to the things that fulfill you. That is how you will know you’re on the right track. And don’t worry. No one has it all figured out. We’re all just living life, seeking things that make our hearts whole. Only Jesus can do that. So live life where His presence is strong. Everything is working out for your good. Relax.
So there. Don’t make Jesus your job. Invite Him to live life with you and your pals. And choose the things that fill you with God things like peace and joy.
I don’t have this thing figured out. Clearly. And I’m still getting over the pit I was just in. It was a doozy, okay? I need some time to recover from that one.
Life is hard. College is hard. The pits of life suck. But when you come out on the other side you will see why they had to happen. Believe me. The view from the top is so much prettier when you can remember that time you couldn’t even imagine making it out of the valley alive.