Going into college I understood that my life would change, that I would meet some pretty awesome people, and that school would be different. Everyone experiences college a little differently, and everyone has different take aways. Here are some some things that have changed in my life since starting college that I wasn’t expecting.
I just came back from a retreat, and I only have four more weeks until I am done with my first year of college. You could say I’ve got a lot to think about and a lot of emotions running through me.
This semester of college has gone by fast. REALLY fast. Like way too fast, as in, I would be ok if it dragged on a little more. This semester has been filled with planning, preparing, emailing people, being confused, being frustrated that things haven’t been decided, feeling overwhelmed, and feeling just plain powerless.
After months of planning and preparing for both STP and study abroad, things are starting to calm down and guess what? This has led me to realize that I am terrified of what all I have signed myself up for. What if I can’t handle it? What if I get lost in Italy somewhere? What if I hate my job in Florida or don’t make enough money over the summer? What if, what if, what if. Life has so many what if’s!
This makes me sound ungrateful for all the opportunities I have, but honestly, I’ve never experienced something like STP, and I for sure have never lived by myself abroad. I haven’t even been on a plane by myself!
Enough of my worries, though, here is the happy encouraging part of this post. God came to save the powerless. While this might be such a duh claim, for me this phrase really resonated with me this past weekend. I will never have full control of my life. I will never be completely secure in everything I do, and that is completely okay. God doesn’t want us to be secure, he wants us to be taking chances. He wants us to put our trust in Him. Yeah, I can’t say I feel like this 100%, but I’m working on it and I hope the same is true for you.
At the beginning of this school year, I went on my first retreat with The Navigators. If we want to be precise, Instagram is telling me I attended the retreat on October 4. During some part of the retreat, they showed us all a video of this summer training program that Navs offers. At first I didn’t think much of it, but then I realized that I needed this. I needed a push to grow in my faith, and grow closer with God. The next thing I remember is coming back to campus and telling my friends that I was going. I was worried that if I didn’t tell people, then it wouldn’t end up happening. That my retreat high would die, and so would my interest in attending STP. Well, God kept my passion alive, and during Thanksgiving I told my parents of my interest. Christmas followed, and I applied and put some money into attending the program. All of this sounds really easy, but it wasn’t. I was 100% sure that I needed to go to STP, but I wasn’t sure how my parents would take the news, and I wasn’t sure if I would raise enough money (still not sure about that part).
Well, my parents didn’t take it so well. It’s understandable, but it still hurt not having their immediate support. Instead I got a no, but you’re an adult so you have the ultimate decision. Yeah, my parents are pretty amazing like that. I know so many kids my age whose parents would put their foot down, and maybe it’s just because I’m not doing stupid stuff, but my parents have really allowed me to make my own decisions. Still though, the whole process of preparing was and still is stressful. I was told that if I wanted to raise the full amount that I would need to send letters to over 100 people. Well after weeks of thinking of people, I came up with 75. Honestly, I was pretty proud that I came up with that many names, but still worried because I didn’t have as many names as I needed.
Then, checking my phone after Winter Jam (aka I was already on a spiritual high), my parents informed me they had sat down that night and had come up with around 80 names! I remember reading, and rereading the text thinking my mom had written it wrong, but no. Not only had I been given 80 more names, but I received the support of my parents and more encouragement that God CAN provide for me.
At that time, I was certain no one else from Xavier would come with me. Well guess what everybody?! God is very good at surprises! I remember talking with my discipler (weird word sorry) and telling her about how I was going all alone to STP, but it would be fine because I knew I would enjoy myself and meet some great people. Well, the next retreat happened, and pretty soon one of my friends had joined me! I now not only had a way to get to Florida (where the program is located), but I had a friend to pray with, raise money with, and just encourage me. Then God did something even better, after spring break, two of my girlfriends announced they were going to come!
What is incredible, is that every person who is coming with me has great excuses for not coming. They could easily say they need to be sure they can make money over the summer, want to spend time with family, or are just exhausted with college. Honestly, these aren’t just excuses, but valid reasons not to come on STP. BUT GOD, (sorry, I just really like that line in scripture) He challenged each one of us, but also assured us that STP was and is the right choice. I am stressed but oh so #blessed that God is good at surprises.
I feel like it is the college thing to write fancy posts about life events. So I too, have decided to hop on the band wagon. I just hope I will keep this all up. My hope is that by creating this space, it will force me to reflect each month about what has happened in my life. Also, I hope that I become better at writing because thus far, writing is definitely not my strong suit. These won’t be very profound, and I really don’t expect much fuss about my posts. This is just Miranda musing.