“Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow! You’re only a day away!”
I love Annie, it’s such a great production, and, for this particular post, acts as a brilliant introduction as well. 😀 All bad jokes aside, tomorrow I head back to the Big Apple to begin part two of this adventure called Freshman Year.
First semester began a little rocky. While I knew I would be faced with challenges, I never imagined I would ever come up against the obstacles I did. I was unaware of how far gone the world is, I was totally caught off guard by how vastly wrong everything is. I was very tempted to pass judgement on everyone, to parade around campus like a ‘good little church girl’ with my chin held high and my nose held higher. But God had a different plan. He loved me enough to knock me down a few notches, to give me the perspective and understanding that, even though things are strange and sinful and frightening, and a lot of the people around me aren’t choosing to do the right thing, and most of them deny my God, I still have no right to pass judgement…in God’s eyes, though He has relationships with each and every individual on the face of this planet, everyone is the same: God don’t play favorites, and I’m no exception.
That was the first lesson. The second was timing and taking care of my body. I quickly and rather painfully learned the importance of a good night’s sleep, a healthy diet consisting also of regular exercise, and planning my study periods so that they would coincide with my sleep and class schedule. Now THAT was a challenge.
The third was realizing how important having a church family is. While I was at the Brock’s house last, Jacob, Beth, and I talked about spiritual offense and defense. Considering we’re in a war, it’s important to maintain a good defense and a strong offense. The defense, as far as I’ve concluded, is your Christian support group, the brothers and sisters you surround yourself with so they can encourage and strengthen you. Defense also includes the time you spend with God and how you apply His truths to your life. On days when I didn’t start off the morning with talking to God and digging around in His word, my judgement was sketchy and my emotions were off; I couldn’t focus and was often cranky, which brings me to the offense. Without having this support, this fantastic group of believers to encourage, check up on, and hang out with me, I would be less likely to be able to go out and talk to people about God, tell them about His activity in my life, about His love for them. But I especially wouldn’t have been able to do so if I didn’t have the combined factors of morning and evening devotions with God and the support from my church family. If you’re a Christian going to a secular college, you need to get set up with a church near campus, establish relationships there, and seriously exercise some discipline in your devotions. It’s important.
The next lesson is that I am human. I mess up. There’s a reason I need God, a reason for me to be in His word and talking to Him constantly and around His people. Oh have I learned about my own humanity. Sometimes it was painful, but other times it was just sweet, because I was reminded of just how little control I have over things and how much control God has over everything.
The final lesson, as if they could all be categorized, which they can’t, would probably be learning how to be adventurous. In this day and age when technology has taken the place of genuine human interaction, it’s easy to just sit in front of a laptop all day and laugh at Vines or silly cat videos on YouTube. God has shown me, above everything, that faith is an adventure. The best part? He’s placed me in one of the most adventurous cities in the U.S.A.; it’s like He WANTS me to learn to be adventurous. Cool 🙂
I don’t know what second semester will hold, but I know it’s going to be amazing, filled with God’s activity, love, and guidance, and of course the inevitable hiccups from yours truly. But I guess there would never be any growth in my relationship with God if I didn’t fall flat on my face every once in a while. 🙂
Today ended my study of the book of Matthew, and I read something that I had never read before (I love that about the Bible :)). In Matthew chapter 28, when some of the guards, who were standing by Jesus’ tomb when the angel rolled away the boulder in front of it, ran to the priests and elders who had killed the Son of God, the priests didn’t seem to react at all to this news of Jesus’ rising from the dead. They paid the guards to tell the people that Jesus’ disciples had stolen His body in the night and then falsely proclaimed, “He is risen!” Those boogers! God’s glory is literally staring them in the face and they still hide behind their pride! But how many times have we done that, regardless of the extent? God shows us beautiful things and performs miracles in our lives, but a lot of times our gaze passes directly over them because we’re focused on ourselves. It reminds me of the Steven Curtis Chapman song, “See the Glory,” in which Chapman talks about being in magnificent places, witnessing awesome things, and settling for something less.
Despite these lies spread by the elders and priests, Jesus is risen, and before He leaves to be with God, He tells His disciples, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (v. 18-20). This is the call to be on offense spiritually. God has commanded that we go out and “make disciples of all nations,” or to, by way of the Holy Spirit and the guidance of that spirit, witness to all nations and win them over to Truth, to show them just what they’re missing out on.
Finally, Jesus parts with this: “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (v. 20b).
So, in other words, God is never away from you and is always with you. If you think you’re alone and no one is listening to you, this is untrue. God is ALWAYS with you; He said it Himself, and He doesn’t lie. I always find this comforting, because most people, when they’re distressed or upset or hopeless, they don’t always want advice; they more often just want someone to listen, to sit by them as they vent out their fears, or as they sob. God is like that, only He’s there, not only when we most need Him, when we’re lost and confused, but also when we feel we don’t need Him. He’s there when we’re growing in Him and going through a period of peace in life, when we’re successful and strong and quiet in our heart and mind. He’s always there 🙂
I packed today and realized I was taking more things back than I had brought with me. I still haven’t had news as to whether or not I’ll have a new roommate. I’m not sure how I feel about that. I really enjoyed having Lin as a roommate; she was someone I really connected with and she was a sweet friend. Also, it was nice to know someone would wonder where I was if I didn’t show up one night. Now I’m not sure what’s going to happen. Either way, I know that God will take care of me. After all, He’s never failed before.
One thing I will seriously miss is cooking. I really enjoyed being able to cook, even simple things like pancakes, spaghetti, and bacon. The more complex things like chicken cordon bleu and meatloaf are fun too, more fun perhaps, but I’m still learning in that area.
As I get ready to leave, I finally face the fact that I miss the city. Yeah, yeah, yeah I know. I was so worried that I was going to turn into a city girl, and, though I technically haven’t, my own grandparents and Gracie told me I was a city girl. Oh well 🙂 It’s not like it matters anyway. These are only labels to categorize and more easily explain myself. But then I wonder what life would be like without labels. What if you just spent time with someone and that’s how you figured out how and who they were, without labeling them in order to know them? Wow! What a revolutionary idea! Okay I’m going to stop before I go off into a rant.
Anyway, yes I miss the city. Though there are still way too many people, I miss all of my friends. I miss going to Connecticut Muffin and eating at Waza with Charlene. I miss Brooklyn bagels. I miss the subway and being able to go places for five bucks rather than paying an arm and a leg for gasoline. But despite how much I miss the city, and how much I’ll miss home once I get to the city, there is one thing that will never change, and that is how close God is to me. Whether I’m in the City or in the Sticks, God will always be there. 🙂
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” —Joshua 1:9 ESV