Thank you Gregory Alan Isakov for that lovely quote.
This is me tonight.
I tend to write when I have something to say, when my heart is so full of emotions it threatens to overflow into every part of me, spilling like ink throughout my body. That’s why I’m writing tonight.
I am so in need of second chances. I am so desperate for grace.
This semester has flown by in a whirlwind.
I know, everyone says that. But I could recount for you perfectly, in a flurry of pretty adjectives, what it felt like to see my dear roommate Casey after three months apart as she walked across the threshold into our new unit, seemingly as though it was yesterday. I could tell you how I single-handedly arranged all of the bulky furniture in our new dorm room out of sheer willpower and determination to get it to where we wanted it. I remember the first couple night of this semester, spent alone, waiting for everyone else to arrive in an eerily empty unit built for eight, as though it was a few hours ago and not a few months.
I have watched my friends mature before my eyes, seen them come in conflict with immense physical trials and tackle them head-on, and watched them develop even deeper relationships with loved ones. I have seen people move away and I’ve met new people, and as my selfish heart always tends to, I’ve wondered about myself and where I fit in with all the people who surround me. How do they see me? Back to the constant drawing board of questions, back to the Q and A with God. Who am I again, Lord? I’ve questioned all over again who I am and what the heck I’m doing with my life and AM I ACTUALLY DOING ANYTHING RIGHT AT ALL
I’m a sophomore in college. And my first semester is dangling by a thread before my eyes.
I want to recap this semester as means of understanding what I’ve learned, who I am becoming, and what God is doing.
Some common themes of this semester:
1. release of bitterness
One thing I’ve realized, and this I know: if you have burdens, lay them down. stop hitting yourself over the head with things you regret doing and people you regret meeting and oh yeah that guy who came in (like a wrecking ball!) and almost completely destroyed you. You have to remember that like every other believer he’s washed by the blood of the Lamb and you just have to let God be God. He says what is His to avenge He’ll avenge. forget bitterness, laugh at your mistakes, hold your chin up high. Take your bitter root, dig through the soil of hurt, and rip it out despite how much pain it causes you. After all, the only one bitterness really hurts is you.
2. peace isn’t always “fun”
Freshman year was a big party. We went out all the time driving and we pushed limits and we got emotional and we burned bright and flickered out fast. But now we’re sophomores and things are more serious. We spent our weekends studying like always, but instead of breaking out of campus to use that extra hour driving down country roads to our hearts’ content we tuck ourselves in at midnight. It’s as though the fire in us has simmered and we’re content with just doing what is required of us. Sometimes what you might think you want, what you call “peace”, isn’t really what you want at all. Find balance.
3. get used to being wrong.
I have had a majority of the truisms I cling to torn away from me in painful ways this year. This is the process that produces growth. We are sophomores. That can be translated as wise-fools. We are walking contradictions, arrogant one moment and humbled the next. This is my reality. The second I think I know something somebody smarter than me proves me wrong. ‘No, Angela, you’re not even close to being fluent in Spanish. Let’s take a look at your last oral exam, shall we?’ Get used to being proved wrong. Accept criticism. Proverbs 29:1:
Whoever stubbornly refuses to accept criticism will suddenly be broken beyond repair.
Yup. I’ve been broken beyond repair a couple times this semester.
4. stop thinking you don’t need anyone’s help.
I was talking with a dear friend the other day about her unfortunate concussion that has absolutely wrecked her ability to focus and concentrate, giving her unceasing headaches day in and day out, regardless of the medication she takes. She told me she believed God had used the concussion (a result of her actions) as a way to teach her about taking help. My friend is an extremely strong woman, more than capable of fending for herself. God found it necessary to refine her by making her a patient, someone that others must tend to and care for. She now values even more the beauty of a community where your issues aren’t a burden. They belong to each member of the community and they are attended to and prayed for. I’m tired of pretending like I’m alright. Hey, I need counseling. Hey Internet! I need counseling! I’m going to get counseling! I am fundamentally not alright – I desperately need the help of others to succeed.
5. friendships are the most beautiful, difficult, rewarding, and challenging relationships (next to marriage).
never in my life have I been such good friends with other women. I am usually one to gravitate towards surrounding myself with guy friends, as a means of low-drama, low-stress, usually humor-driven community, but Cedarville has placed me intentionally in the path of – gasp! – other women. I live with eight women in close quarters. We do life together. I have found myself clinging to them (especially my dear roommate Casey) as a means of crisis control. I have an intense fear of being alone – especially after a summer spent mostly alone in a different city, (save for a couple individuals who comforted me in my loneliness). In turn (and to selfishly avoid the scary loneliness of my own soul), I have become very close with several different ladies, all of them incredible in their unique ways. Friendships are really really cool. Like I can come back to the dorm and just rage about all the junk happening in some class and immediately have attentive ears and well thought out answers. I can be my absolutely weird self, making funny noises or dancing like a fool. I can be 100% me around my friends. I think this is the first time in my life I can say that’s true. Up to now, I’ve always hidden a part of me away because it’s just too honest or weird or stupid or (fill in the blank). Imagine a world where you could say anything and not get judged for it, but still be corrected in godliness? Welcome to my friendships. I AM GRATEFUL. Friendships are also difficult, however, because I’m no angel and they’re not angels and none of us really have God’s perfect nature so we’re dealing with each other in raw, emotional ways. I have to learn to bear with my sister in Christ, because she’s going through that, which is putting stress on her and making her treat me this way. I have to stop getting frustrated when I feel like I’m not being treated the way I deserve. I start loving regardless of how I perceive I am being loved. And that completely and totally of Christ.
I guess that ends my late-night rant. I am just so worked up on energy from finals and so done with my never-ending emotional cycles of high, nervous emotions right before I take an exam and the depression that sets in after I fail to fulfill my own expectations for myself. I can’t sleep, specifically for reason #3 listed above.
My most recent mini-heart attack involves sending my spanish teacher the wrong draft of a final group paper. she graded the whole thing, noted that we never corrected our errors, and slapped a mediocre B on it.
i quickly emailed her the FINAL version of the paper, apologizing profusely, worry already clouding my vision and dark thoughts already racing across my mind:
“Now Joe is going to hate you. You screwed up. How could you send the wrong draft of your paper? Really?!”
“You are just wasting everyone’s time. After all Senora has done on your behalf. You’re doing this?!
“You’re not good at anything Angela. Just stop now and do yourself a favor.”
Lies. All of them, each speaking louder than the next and drowning the still small voice of my Savior out like the clang of a thousand gongs.
See, this is finals week.
For a perfectionist, this is do-or-die.
You screw this week up, and “you are just not good enough”.
As much as I try to convince myself to just let go, I can’t. I always want to cling to my grades as a validation of my worth.
Sophomores, perfectionists and procrastinators, A students and C students, hear me out: WE ARE NOT OUR GRADES. We are not our mistakes. We are not who we impress.
Learning doesn’t mean just getting that A. Learning means making fewer mistakes. Stop making the mistake of thinking what you get in that class is definitive of your future.
Let’s never stop learning.
here are some pictures of me doing things: