“I really just don’t want to be me right now.”
I’m not sure why, but this phrase went through my head quite a few times throughout the course of the day. After I thought about it, I realized how silly I was being. If I wasn’t me, then who on earth would I be? Would I be saved? Would I be a brunette? Asking these questions made me laugh at myself. I love being me…besides, God thinks I’m the best me around 🙂
Today was rather difficult though. This morning was the first morning I was tempted to skip class. I really just didn’t want to roll out of bed and be productive. It was just one of those days where the actions of the world and the occurrences of the living are really unattractive when you’re warm and comfortable in your bed.
But then I remembered this is college…
World Literature was interesting. Writer’s Forum afterwards, however, was probably one of the most disturbing classes of which I have ever been a part. An author, Nelly Reifler, was reading part of one of her published essays written about Elliot Smith and his death (yes, this author was BFFs with Elliot Smith) and a chapter from her new novel. The excerpt from the essay-memoir was really interesting. But when she started reading from her book, my stomach twisted and turned and I had the overwhelming desire to leave the room. I won’t go into detail, but basically she took the imaginary world of toys like that of Barbie and Ken and perverted it so far as to render me unable to watch Toy Story 3 ever again.
I went through the hour proceeding Writer’s Forum in a fog, trying to focus on things but failing miserably. What was my problem? I have no idea. All I knew was that I felt weighed down. In between classes, I sat in the cafeteria drinking hot chocolate and writing a two-page letter to my best friend. Oh! That World Literature midterm that I was so worried about? I got an A- 🙂 Not too bad, if I do say so myself 😀 My professor assigned us a term paper that’s due in a month. A term paper (I discovered as I began making its outline) is a glorified version of an Olympic level high school research paper, which means this is going to be so much fun, because I love researching 😀
Critical Thinking and Writing was the class standing between me and nap time, so I forced myself from the cafeteria and up the four flights of stairs to reach my classroom. I suddenly felt spiritually sick, like I really needed to focus.
But I always need to focus for this class. Why would today be any different?
We sat in a circle and began discussing the last section of James Baldwin’s Go Tell it on the Mountain. One of the characters’ names was Esther, and I thought it was appropriate she be named Esther considering the “religious” theme of the book. My professor asked if I wouldn’t mind giving an outline of the story of Esther.
“Sure. Okay, so Esther was a Jewish woman, and she had been selected by King-“
“That’s not how it happened.” Maria voiced from the other side of the room. I’m not sure if you remember Maria, but she doesn’t really care for me, I don’t think, and I’ve been having a tough time loving her the way God would want me to. She’s not making it easy for me at all.
“I’m Jewish. This is a story I read every day. That’s not how it happened,” she continued.
“Will you just let me finish?” I snapped. I tried to do it professionally, but I was off. My mind was heavy and my thoughts were elsewhere. I was only trying to tell a story.
I began again, trying to explain the story without feeling paranoid about Maria jumping on every word I said. To make peace, I asked her if she wanted to explain who Mordecai was. She explained who Mordecai was and then continued to tell the rest of the biblical story, getting a lot of important details wrong. For someone who reads this story every day, she didn’t know it well.
Throughout class, she made a few more stabs at me, but I wasn’t in the mood to feel insulted, and I knew that it wasn’t worth it. When I left class, I felt terrible for snapping at her, but at the same time I was weary from her constantly fighting my every point and every argument. It’s not that I can’t make a sound argument or tell a story correctly, it’s just that Maria’s character is so overbearingly self-righteous and persistent (even when she’s absolutely wrong) that I might as well not even waste my breath. I feel like I’m arguing with my old self, the girl that I was before I was saved. It’s much like “arguing with a crazy person” as my mother would say.
When I arrived at my dorm, I was overcome with this weird disgust of being alone. So I packed up my backpack and returned to the cafeteria. I’ve decided that camping out in the cafeteria is my favorite thing to do 🙂 It’s nice to be around people while I’m doing homework. Also, weirdly enough, it’s sometimes nice to talk to God while being in the middle of everything. While I was sitting there in the cafeteria, my laptop wasn’t connecting to the Internet, which was a problem because I needed to do research for my term paper. I was getting frustrated and my thoughts were clouded. I put my head in my hands and let out a long sigh.
“God, I’m just trying to do my homework!” I whisper-yelled at God. I know, I’m pathetic.
Instead of continuing to fight with technology, I pulled my journal out of my backpack and began writing.
God, I am really stressed out right now. My mind is totally at war with my physical surroundings.
My cell phone started going off before I could finish my thought. It was my mom. We talked for only a few minutes, but a few minutes was all I needed. While I was talking to her, my laptop connected to the Internet and I was able to work on my paper. Then, when I was leaving, I wanted to get a donut from the bakery, but there was a really long line. I saw this as God reminding me to take care of my body. Lately, I’ve been a little stressed about some things and have been eating too many sweets. God was once again showing that He knows me better than I know myself.
Sometimes I wonder what would’ve happened if I hadn’t come to Pratt, to New York City. I wonder if I would’ve grown as much as I already have. I know a of few things that would surely be different: I wouldn’t have met my church family, I wouldn’t have met Charlene or Karly, I wouldn’t have experienced New York City, I probably wouldn’t have started this blog, and I honestly don’t think I would crave studying God’s word as much as I do. If I had gone to a Christian college, then I would’ve been in The Word all the time, no longer seeing it as a necessity but as just another part of life.
At times like these, when I’m stressed and weighed down by everything around me, it seems like I’m more aware of God being with me. I know that when something has upset me and I’m crying, I become far more aware of another body in the room than when I’m happy or neutral. I’m aware of how vulnerable and distressed I feel. Sometimes having someone there is a comfort while other times it’s an embarrassment. But when I’m stressed like this, God becomes so much more real to me, because He’s the only thing that’s familiar in this weird land. God is the only effective comfort. Exercise can only help me vent so much. Food can satisfy me for only so long before its effects become negative. Writing is not my saving grace. God is the only One who knows me well enough to know exactly how to comfort me, and exactly what I need when I need it.
Sometimes I just don’t know what I need, so I’m relieved to know that Someone else (who can actually do something about it) does. 🙂 As far as the things that are weighing me down, I know that they’re in God’s hands; I just need to stop trying to pry open His fingers to get to them so I can worry about their outcomes. He’s got it all under control…and I can’t wait to see how everything works out 🙂
“Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me.”
—Micah 7:8, ESV