Three days from now, I’ll be moving into my college dorm room at Baylor. I have an incredible roommate, one of my best friends is going to Baylor as well, and I’ve already made a lot of friends from various incoming freshman events. Even so, I have been an absolute mess. The thought of being away from my family, my dogs, my amazing church, and my group of friends (who are really more like a second family) completely breaks my heart. All throughout high school I had been so eager to get on to the next chapter of my life— college— that I never really took the time to enjoy the season of life I was already in. It wasn’t until graduation that it hit me that it was all over.
This summer has been both the best and worst summer yet. I’ve had so many wonderful memories with the people I love, but I have also felt completely consumed by anxiety and fear of the future. The girl who was once so confident, so sure of herself, was now questioning why God had brought her to this point in the first place. I knew God had led me to Baylor, because until February, it had been pretty much the last school on the list of places I thought I would end up. I already see evidence of how God has used Baylor to shape what I major in and what I will do after college, yet in the midst of all my emotions and fear, I began to question if it was really the right choice.
I can’t identify a time in my life where I have felt more consumed by anxiety, fear, and sadness, and where everything in my life felt so out-of-control. Never before have I felt so weak. But the craziest thing of all is that God used this time to remind me to rely on Him and Him alone. He has been my strength to carry on through it all.
Last night at church the Holy Spirit spoke directly to me through the sermon and worship. One of the Scripture passages we talked about is found in Hebrews 10:
“…23 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 24 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.”
If God led me to Baylor, why should I question Him? Instead, I should trust that the God who gave His life in order to save me and have a relationship with me is not going to abandon me. He holds my life and the entire world in His hands, and He knows best. His plan is better than mine. He’s never failed before, so why would He fail me now? Rather than continue to drown in my worry and fear, I need to grab onto His hand that is reaching out to me and draw near. Rather than relying on myself, I must rely on God. Rather than seeking help and strength from others, I should seek God and lean on Him alone.
James 1:5 tells us that God “gives generously to all without reproach”. Spending time in prayer asking God for strength, wisdom, and joy that is not dependent on my circumstances is a far better use of my time than being fearful of what is to come. He will give wisdom to help me choose new friends who will point me to Christ. He will lead me to the right church to plug in to. He will give me JOY even when I’m missing home. We should be confident in our prayers, because the blood of Jesus Christ purchased those prayers on the cross. He won’t ignore us. He hears us always, and He will help us.
Jesus continued to speak to me when I got home from church. I opened my copy of Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis (which is a super awesome book if you haven’t read it yet), and began to read one of her journal entries from 2008.
“‘Remember, God will never give you more than you can handle.’
People repeat this frequently; I heard it when I was growing up and I hear it now. It is meant to be a source of encouragement, and it would be if I believed it were true. But I don’t.
I believe that God totally, absolutely, intentionally gives us more than we can handle. Because this is when we surrender to Him and He takes over, proving Himself by doing the impossible in our lives.
…I have learned to accept it, even ask for it, this “more than I can handle.” Because in these times, God shows Himself victorious. He reminds me that all of this life requires more of Him and less of me. God does give us more than we can handle. Not maliciously, but intentionally, in love, that His glory may be displayed, that we may have no doubt of who is in control, that people may see His grace and faithfulness shining through our lives.
And as I surrender these situations Him, watch Him take over and do the impossible, I am filled with joy and peace— so much more than I can handle.”
WOW. So even when I am feeling overwhelmed by all the boxes I still have to pack, by the thought of being apart from the friends I see everyday and the family I adore, by the fear of being a socially-awkward eighteen year-old having to make new friends in a new town, by the anxiety of having to find a new church home and place to serve and connect, I can trust that Jesus is using these situations in order to display His power. I can glorify my Savior by simply trusting Him to care for me.
“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” —C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain
I am certain that God used this season of my life to draw me to Himself. All through high school I was positive that I was ready to move on, to go to college, and to be on my own, and I never expected to react this way to this particular change. And even though I am still in the midst of this change with three days remaining at home, I am thankful for it. God truly did use this pain, anxiety, fear, and sadness as His megaphone to get my attention and remind me to rely on Him for strength. He will not fail me.