Tag Archives: stress

The Final Year

Being a senior in college is a weird thing.  A weird year.  I can’t figure myself out, or anything around me, or the future, for that matter.

Up until this point, every single year of my life has been pre-planned out for me. Each year is the same… school begins in August, takes a break in December, resumes in January, and continues until May or June.  Then, during the summer, I spend it looking expectantly towards the next new school year that would follow.

But now here I am, following this cycle for the last seventeen years, finally reaching the end of that cyle: the final year, where I have absolutely nothing already laying ahead for me.  Whatever happens from here on out is only up to me.  Of course there are people that can help me along this path and deciding what steps to take, what turns to make, and where trails may lead, but ultimately, I’m the one making my own choices for the future at this point.  I’m the one listening to the Lord’s voice and leading, and choosing whether or not to listen and follow (though I desire nothing more than to follow – I just want to hear His voice clearly enough so I know exactly where to go and don’t need to second guess whether a path I want to follow is my desire, or His, or both).  And that’s a weird and amazing feeling. Because I’ve never, ever been given this much freedom over my own life. Like I said, up until now my life has been pre-planned every single year.  Now, of course, there are going to be quite a few different things to balance that I am going to have to figure out, such as finances, where to live, how to follow where the Lord is leading, what friendships to maintain and how to find a sense of community wherever I end up. Those are the things that scare me – is getting those figured out.

In particular, the friend thing and the community thing scares me.  I know that next year is going to look so different in terms of friendships and in term of the community around me.  Who will I decide to stay in touch with? Who will choose to stay in touch with me?  Will I lose friendships that mean so much to me now? What new friendships will I make?

This year has already been weird in terms of friendships.  After last year, quite a bit of my friendships slowly dwindled away as people graduated and moved on with their own lives.  I’ve made a friendship that almost turned into a relationship a little too quickly and has gotten messy and muddled.  I’ve got another friendship I know I need to end because of its toxicity, but I haven’t done it yet out of fear and doubt it’s the right choice.  I’ve got yet another friendship that means so much to me but seems to be one-sided whenever we’re apart for longer than a few weeks at a time.  My best friend who means the world to me lives nearly 200 miles away from me.  My life is messy.  And despite all of this, these people mean a lot to me and the thought of losing them (even the ones that my life may be better off without) is not an easy one for me.  But I know that it’s bound to happen, because that’s just life.  That’s not be throwing in the towel and saying I won’t make any effort in the ones I think should last, but I know it’s going to take mutual effort to work and I’m not sure how much the effort will be mutual.  And that change is just one of the few that scares me.

I just really love my life here in my town, around these people, but I know things are going to change soon, and that’s what scares me. As much as I once thought I liked change, I’m not actually sure I do.  This school, these people, and this town have become my entire life the past few years.  MY ENTIRE LIFE. Every single stinking opportunity I have had is because of the resources this place has provided me.  Every amazing friendship I have encountered has some tie or another to this college. And holy cow. Thank you Jesus for that.  What an incredible four years it has been.  I can never stop ranting and raving over the goodness that has come from it.  But that gratefulness doesn’t come without some fear and some sadness.

Lord, take away my fear, and replace it with trust and rejoicing for the big things You’re going to do in my life if I follow your leading.  Remind me that You’ve provided from me before, and You’ll do it again.  Finances, friends, opportunities, You will provide what I need if I trust you. Teach me to trust you in this season of jumping into the unknown. You are so good, and don’t ever let me forget it.  Amen.

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Anxiety sucks.

Anxiety freaking sucks.

Being a Christian with anxiety sucks even more. 

Not only does your soul feel weighted and like it is about the burst, but then you have that lingering feeling that maybe the reason you feel that way is because you aren’t relying on the Lord enough.  That you’re focusing on too many worldly things.  That you haven’t rested in the Lord.

But here’s the thing, what if I don’t understand how to rest? What if I have never been able to rest?  What if I’ve never learned how to stop and have my soul filled to the point of really feeling satisfied, content?  What then?

Though the anxiety doesn’t hit me often, it hurts when it does.  It weighs me down, making my entire body feel like I’m on a kick of adrenaline I don’t want to be on.  I feel trapped on the edge, like I’m stuck dangling over the edge of a cliff and I just have to hang there and endure it until someone can come and pull my back up onto the solid rock.  It’s exhausting.  It sucks.  And I don’t wish it on anyone.

The worst part about anxiety is there’s no way to really “fix” it.  You either ride it out, let it take its course (which usually results in a panic attack) or you spend even longer trying to suppress it.  Quite honestly, the former is the better of the two choices – it’s so much easier to come down once you’ve just ridden out the attack.  And usually after an attack, I feel better than I did before the anxiety hit in the first place.

It’s weird.  I am only writing this because anxiety is hitting me right now for the first time in a month or so.  I’m on break from college, and honestly realizing more and more each day that I don’t really know how to rest.  Each day of break, I have been running back and forth between work, errands, and friends.  I’ve tried to sit and relax in the Lord, getting to know Him and rest in Him, but try as I might, I just never feel quite as full as I would hope to.  Why is that?  Am I doing something wrong?  I don’t understand it.  And I’m not really sure how to cope with it right now, but something propelled me to open up this Word document and just start freaking typing out all the feels.

On the days that I am not struggling with anxiety, I would say that my anxiety is a gift.  And despite how much I want to disagree with that in this moment, as I sit here and wrestle this feeling of being trapped on the edge, I can’t help but continue to stand by that statement.  My anxiety reminds me that I should boast not in myself, but in my Lord.  Even though I struggle to rest in Him and figure out exactly what that looks like, He is still good.  And He is oh so strong in my weaknesses. So strong.  His power is made perfect in my weakness.  My anxiety draws me nearer to Him.  Through my anxiety, He comforts me.  He shows me He knows best.  He reminds me that I don’t need to (and can’t) carry the weight of this world on my shoulders like I want to so very often.  And what reminders those are that I need, in this moment.

“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’” 2 Corinthians 12:9.

So yeah, I’ll sit here, and yeah, I’ll endure.  And it will suck and it does suck.  But despite the fact I can’t quite figure out how to rest and that is what leads to this anxiety, I trust that my God will continue to work through it, shaping me into who He wants me to be through what the world would see as an undesirable weakness.  His perfection will shine through this weakness, and I only pray I can keep that reminder in my mind the days I feel like this.  He is good, He is good, no matter how I feel or what I do; He is good.

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