Ahh… what a familiar sight.
Coffee mug, check.
Bible open, check.
Journals strewn all over my bed, check.
Yes, journals. I have seven of them filled with memories of the past six years, and take them out from time to time to re-read old entries. As I do, I’m reminded that life has not gone the way I thought it would from the perspective of my seventeen-year old self.
If you’ve ever read Seventeen Magazine, you know there’s a section titled, “I am seventeen, and this is what it’s like to be me,” which features a seventeen-year-old girl, and what life is like for her. I don’t know if they still do that because it’s been years since I’ve read the magazine, but at age 17 I was an avid reader. In fact, my journal from that age has magazine clippings taped all over it, one of which is the headline from that article. That journal was all about what it was like to be me at seventeen…and eighteen, and nineteen, all of which was when I thought I was going to become the Boston coordinator for Child Evangelism Fellowship for the rest of my life.
God had different plans. In fact, as I peruse each of those journals, I’m reminded that God had very different plans than what I had expected, and they included more than just what I was going to do for Him. Though six years later and just about finished with college I have no idea how I’m going to spend the rest of my life as far as specifics are concerned, I look back and see the people I’ve met that have left imprints on my life, and the lessons I’ve learned through unexpected circumstances, and am thankful.
One thing I’m thankful for learning is that life as I know it hardly stays the same. I’m thankful for learning that, because I’ve spent too much time and energy being disappointed over things not going the way I thought they would.
As Fall is fast approaching, I’m finally beginning to embrace it this year. Normally, I’m excited for Fall; it’s my favorite season. Hot drinks, cold nights, crisp air, blankets, sweaters, fires, football, foliage, baked goods… I could go on and on with all the things I love about Fall. But this year, I was holding on to summer for as long as I could. Even getting a pumpkin spice misto yesterday felt almost wrong.
I stopped and thought about it this morning, and the reason why I think I’ve been so reluctant to embrace Fall this year is because this year, life as I know it is radically changing, and it’s not at all what I thought it would be.
At the end of last semester, I thought about this coming Fall, and dreaded its arrival.
This Fall, I wouldn’t be returning to college with my best friend. She would be in South Carolina, not living 5 feet away from me, where I could watch movies with her, laugh with her, pray with her, cry and vent to her.
This Fall, I would be getting a job—a full-time job (hopefully). I had no idea what job that would be, or if I would be able to find one that paid half-way decently, and was something I would enjoy at least somewhat. I had no idea how long I would have that job, or how it (if at all) would get me closer to what I really wanted to do—be in full-time ministry. After all, I will have graduated with a degree in Biblical Studies. That doesn’t exactly set me up for a secular career, and I don’t really want one for the rest of my life, anyway.
This Fall, I would be single—not married sometime in the near future like I had once thought. Being out of Bible college made my prospects of finding someone who wanted to be in ministry, and had the same views as me, seem slim to none.
Add in that this was my last summer of being a college student, and being able to get away with lazing around, taking whatever work I managed to find, but not stressing over not having something permanent because school would start up soon and so would my regular, part-time job…
I was dreading Fall. Here came Grown Up World, where I would have to find a full-time job, I wouldn’t get to take a two-month break in the summer, student loans would kick in before I knew it, my best friend/roommate lived in another state, and I would be single. I held onto summer with every bit of strength I had. Life as I knew it was turning upside down, and I did not like the looks of it.
But Fall is just about here, I’ve entered into “Grown Up World,” and while it’s not what I expected, I’m content. I realized I can either embrace it as it comes, or hold on to life as I knew it with every last bit of strength, only to be pried away from it by reality and left bitter. I had a choice. And I chose the former.
My best friend is in South Carolina, and I miss her. A lot. But we keep in touch, and we’re still best friends. Our locations may change, but that never will.
God provided a job for me as a full-time nanny with the family I worked for just about all through college. It’s temporary, and I don’t know what I’ll do after this, but so far I’m having a blast. I love that family, and get to help home school the younger 2 boys, which I’m really enjoying. I don’t even mind doing laundry or dishes!
And, I’m single. Though I miss the companionship of a relationship, and this time of year brings back memories of last year’s romance, I’ve realized I can be thankful for those good times without becoming bitter for not having that right now. I’m learning that not only is Christ sufficient, but I can be completely satisfied in Him. And while I’d love to have that companionship again at some point in the future, the idea of being single for the rest of my life, if I so happen to be, isn’t as miserable as it once was. Also, just because I’m out of Bible college now doesn’t automatically mean I’ll stay single. If God has someone out there for me, He can bring him into my life through a number of ways.
Life is not how I expected it to be at this point six years ago, or even six months ago. And I don’t know how long it will be like this, but I do know it won’t be like this forever. I’ve learned to not just see it as a waiting phase, as just something I have to get through in order to make it to the next stage, where I’ll have things figured out, be more settled—because things may never settle down. And I’m okay with that. If I’m constantly waiting for the next big thing to happen in order for me to have some semblance of purpose or security (like a career, or marriage), I’ll never be satisfied; and, I’ll miss what God is trying to teach me right now. My purpose, no matter where I am or what I do, is always to glorify my Father and shine His light in this dark world. My security, no matter what my circumstances, is always found in Christ.
This is life as I know it right now, and I am content.