Hey, Friends. It’s been a while. I’ve missed you.
The sun has been hiding behind the clouds all day and every now and then I hear the pitter-patter of the raindrops coming out to play. I’m on my second cup of coffee. My “Oklahoma Baptist University” mug is sitting next to me on my night stand along with some dainty tea lights to cozy-up my room. My apple cider wax is melting nicely into my scentsy, and truthfully, it smells like Thanksgiving in my room right now. I’m snuggled up with the softest blanket in the world along with a cat who has been purring next to me all morning. Clearly, this is the perfect time to open up my laptop and write. In this scenario, I honestly had no choice.
For the past few months I have been constantly on the go, minus a couple of days here and there. I’ve traveled to a few states and even had the incredible privilege to go back “home” to Europe for two whole weeks. This whole summer I have felt hashtag BLESSED to be able to do so much traveling to see the people I love across different parts of the world. I’ve been busy. But last week my parents went on a cruise. Without me. Yeah, I know, how could they?! In all seriousness, they truly deserve some time to themselves and together before the new school year starts. So… I was at home. With not much to do but think.
Let me preface: My family moved to Texas about two weeks before I moved to college last year. Needless to say, I have not planted myself here in Texas because I’m really not here that often. The only people I really know here are my parents’ co-workers who obviously don’t have time to come chat with me over a cup of coffee because I’m bored. With that being said, I had a lot of time to myself while my parents were away.
Don’t get me wrong, I really value having some alone time. I absolutely love doing my calligraphy while sipping on a cup of coffee snuggled up with my cat and listening to my jazz playlist on Spotify. (Everyone who knows me has said I act like an old lady, but I just can’t figure out what they’re talking about.) But in all reality, I am actually an extrovert. The one thing I enjoy more than described earlier is enjoying that with other people. I love to talk about life and love and what makes our hearts beat a little faster and why we are passionate about things. That gives me life. That’s my jam. But when you don’t have other people to have those conversations with, you start to have those conversations with yourself. (Call me crazy but you know you do it, too.) Let the over-thinking ensue.
Here is what is coming for me in just a few days:
- Moving to a new state
- Starting a new University
- Having a new roommate
- Starting a new area of study
- Learning a new campus
- Making new friends
- Joining new activities
- Finding a new church
- Being a new kid…again
So, unless you are superwoman, you would be freaking out a little bit, too…right? That’s what I’m going to tell myself, anyway.
Here is the whole-hearted-vulnerable-truth: My first year of college was so hard. I won’t go into detail on such a public platform out of respect for the institution and for the people who still go there, but it wasn’t my cup of tea and ended up really hurting me. It has taken a lot of prayer for Jesus to soften my hurt and bitter heart. I’m ok now and I am confident that God will reveal to me why I went through the things I did at the perfect time. I’m no longer bitter or holding grudges…but I do have scars. These scars don’t hold me back anymore but they do make me nervous.
When I tell people about my experience at my first university, they always ask me, “What makes you think that this year and this new school will be any different?” And I hate that question because I don’t have a good answer for it. The truth is, I don’t know what this year will be like. Besides holding onto the good experiences others have had at this school, and to knowledge I have that God answers His people’s prayers, I have no actual validation that the same thing won’t happen again. And that scares me half to death, really. (Prayers are always welcome, by the way.)
If you pay any attention to any platform of social media of mine, you will know that my favorite author is Jen Hatmaker. Her book For the Love gives me all the good kinds of feels. Not because she writes sweet nothings to her readers about Jesus and love and happiness. But she is a real person with real human feelings and she uses her platform to empower and encourage women of all ages. She is seriously my role model. So I’m following in the footsteps of Jen and being really honest about my real human feelings this past week for the sake of encouraging other people with real human feelings who feel like they are alone:
I am really nervous that I’m going into a new area of study that I’m not sure about. I’m nervous that I won’t be a good social worker. I’m scared because I am sensitive and light-hearted and social work is a heavy profession. I’m scared that I will never figure out the right thing to major in. I’m scared to waste my parents’ money on 4 years of very expensive education to never use my degree. I’m scared that I will never figure out what I am supposed to do with my life.
Ok, there it is. It’s out there. I’m nervous about a lot of things that are important to me. And I know I am not the only one, which is why I share. Life is hard and a little scary sometimes. And that’s ok. But I am starting to believe that God does not have one mysterious path or profession for us. I’m starting to ditch the idea that there is one thing in my life that God has called me to do and if I never discover what my thing is, I’m terrible at discerning the voice of God. Forget that, man. Guilt and shame are not from my Jesus. I’m starting to walk away from the belief that I’m wasting my time if I don’t know what my future will look like. I’m starting to remember that God doesn’t waste anything. I’m starting to believe that His goal for us is to love Him and love others the way Jesus did/does. Our “calling” isn’t necessarily an occupation or location. Our calling is to salvation and to spread the gospel with the gifts God gave us.
1 Peter 4:10 says “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” My calling is not going to start the day I get my diploma and finish a degree plan. Your calling is not going to start as soon as your kids are older. Dear one, if you are living with Jesus, your calling has already begun. My calling has already begun. Our calling is here, now. I know people who are devoted momma’s, changing their precious baby’s life one day at a time. I know people who are so fantastic at writing and will impact our next generation with their words. I know people who are using their own experiences to touch the hearts of those experiencing the same. No matter how incredible or ordinary your every-day encounters are, our calling is to use the gifts we have in every season of life to share the love of Christ. I don’t know about you, but that certainly relieves some pressure from my burdened shoulders.
So, let’s celebrate our God-given gifts. There is room for humility but self degradation has to go. It has no place here.
Here are some of the gifts God has blessed me with:
I’m good at
What are some of your God-given gifts? Write them in my comment section. Seriously, it’s not one of those things where you’re all “Oh, that’s cute” and keep scrolling. Go write at least one thing you are good at in my comment section. There is a reason you’re good at it, even if you don’t know what that reason is, yet. I would be honored to pray for your gifts to be used in your season of life right now.
I am saying goodbye to the fear of not following the right path. God has given me (and you) certain gifts for a reason. I’m going to use these gifts as I meet new people at OBU. I’m going to use these gifts if I am a social worker. I’m going to use these gifts when I’m a wife. I’m going to use these gifts when I’m a momma. I’m going to use these gifts that God gave me to paint my part of the canvas. If you grab your paintbrush, friend, God will do something big with our painting.