As I sit in my little tiny dorm room bed, I think about what this year has taught me both personally and spiritually, because in less that two weeks time I will be in Madison, Wisconsin for training week.
I’ve learned a lot that will (hopefully) help throughout this intense spiritual summer and I think that’s what this post will be about. So backtracking, I went to college thinking I had a pretty solid faith and a pretty solid plan, and boy did both get shaken.
So what’s the plan Em?
Like I said in my previous post, I chose Milwaukee because Penn State is a whole lotta money I don’t have. And I hated UWM at first. I really did. I regret saying that now because I really have changed my mind, but the brutally honest truth of the matter is that I didn’t fit (& didn’t really try too hard to fit).
I felt like I was at a second-rate PSU and because I’m an incredibly competitive person, I felt like I had just waived my white flag and surrendered. Finding people was hard, and I don’t mean that lightly. It took a long time. I also don’t want to scare anyone though. The wait was hard but the people make it worth every second.
So I felt out of place (so what Emily, everyone does at first). It wasn’t until I began getting into the thick of the academic stuff that I realized how much I had learned about myself and how much I needed to work on. I have had the same career plan since I was twelve, and I knew every step I needed to take to get there. I guess I just didn’t realize that the person I was entering college was not the person I needed to be to fulfill all the dreams my twelve-year-old self set.
I am going to be completely honest here and tell you all that I struggled. A lot. And honestly, I still do sometimes, now I just know what to do with that struggle. But the Emily that was entering her first college semester was too hard-headed to allow anyone to know she too was human and therefore struggled. I refused to admit that sometimes life got a little to rough for me, and sometimes I needed people. After figuring that out in the least pleasant way possible, I realized that everyone needs someone sometimes. Maybe to some of you that sounds weak, or too vulnerable, but I’ve found more strength in my vulnerability than I have in my repression.
So I began writing. First on random scraps of paper lying around, then onto a fifty-cent black spiral, then my blue leather notebook, and now sometimes here. Every little random thought was scribbled somewhere and that helped to clear a little spot for the peace. I’ve found that when you’re constantly surrounded by people, that little peace can carry you through classes and days and even weeks, so if I were you, I’d try to make a little room. But because I wrote, I felt more sane, a little more normal (and that was a good thing, trust me). Within the first weeks of my second semester, I’d created a nice schedule for myself, making time for school and bible study and writing. However, I found little time for Jesus.
Dang it I knew I forgot something
First semester was a train wreck. I was a mess physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I began school thinking, “I came from an awesome church and youth group, and it’ll be so easy finding good Christian fellowship,” and “I have a totally great relationship with Jesus! I barely have anything left to learn” (can you feel the sarcasm oozing from that last one?). I was so ridiculously naive that sometimes I cringe thinking about myself, and that was only 9ish months ago.
So I believed that I had this incredible relationship with Jesus and I was just fine – I was wrong (again, it happens often). You know how you never notice yourself getting taller until you look back as the new, taller you and see the difference? Well that’s kinda how my walk has been this year. I didn’t realize how massive the impact Cru and my bible study have had until recently, when I began thinking about what I’d do without them this summer.
At the beginning of last semester, I went to three different orgs to check them out. After the first two, I left each in tears because they were so different from what I was used to and comfortable with. It wasn’t until my third try that I attended Cru. One day in my honors class I saw that a girl I sat by was wearing a Cru shirt. After class I asked her about it because I had heard the name before, and she invited me to attend that night. That Thursday was the first time I felt that I might possibly belong at UWM. This entire process took so much energy and trust and perseverance but without it, I wouldn’t have learned about the awesome God we have! I found the importance of perseverance in my spiritual journey during my hunt for youth groups. I found that MY strength along pales in comparison to the strength of our wonderful Father. I found that, with obedience, God will guide me where I am needed. All I needed to do was talk to Him.
Which leads me to my next point- prayer. My prayer life prior to second semester was incredibly unfruitful, and it was my fault (like most problems in my life). Prayer is the most incredible thing guys. I mean, it really is. Prayer is our DIRECT link to God and if that doesn’t simultaneously freak you out and amaze you I don’t know what will. I’ve learned through my own struggles and the struggles of those around me the power of prayer, especially the past few weeks. I have a good friend who was in a boot because of a broken ankle, and while at church a man asked to pray for him. He hobbled in on crutches that day and walked out carrying them. HOW COOL IS THAT!? Two of my girls from b stud (bible study but the cool way to say it) desperately needed summer jobs to continue their education, and BOTH got calls in the middle of praying about it!!! I mean, our God is SO GREAT and this semester has completely changed how and when I pray. I really really wanna encourage you guys to just talk to God whenever you have a spare minute, and make sure you have time for Him in your days. He is so so worth it and I guarantee you’ll begin seeing Him way more in your lives!!
What exactly did you learn then.?
I learned the strength and power of my savior in a real, authentic, personal way. I know this post was long, but guys God is so good that I can’t even begin to describe the changes I’ve seen. I just hope you all can experience it!!!