graduation

Final Remarks From A Graduating College Senior

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”- 2 Timothy 4:7

I remember the first day of freshman year like it was yesterday. And frankly, most of the time it feels like it was. I was a totally out of my element 18 year old who had short hair, a Tommy Hilfiger striped shirt, and baggy shorts from the recent weight I had just lost from a mission trip to Haiti. I had no friends, no idea what the heck I was doing, and was terrified I was going to completely fail out and have to transfer. And yet, I remember being so utterly excited as I walked into the cramped triple that was going to be my future home for the next 9 months. Even though I had no idea what I was doing, I was very excited to start.

Now as I prepare to spend my last day on the Grove City College Campus, I am left with very similar feelings. Being excited, yet terrified, as I look to begin a new chapter in my life. For many of us( myself included), that means moving away from our homes, it might mean going home in the hopes of finding a future, it might mean starting a graduate school.  Either way, we all have one thing in common. We all have to pick up our feet and begin a new journey.

Without getting too sentimental, I can easily say that Grove City College has been the best four years of my life so far. I am not saying (hoping) they will be the best four years I have ever had, but for a girl who went to a pretty red neck high school it was practically paradise. It was a dream come true to walk onto a college campus where people also dressed preppy, loved the Lord with all their hearts, and would actually compliment me. Looking back, it makes me so sad to realize I went so long without the amazing friends I have discovered in college. I have met friends who have been with me through some of the toughest times of my life and helped me to weather the storm. Friends who one second are making an inappropriate joke, but then teaching me and encouraging me in Christ the next.

And I know that right now can seem like only an ending and not a beginning. Because if you don’t have a job or a plan for after graduation, it can be really intimidating to move back in with mom and dad and seemingly lose your freedom overnight. But I know from experience that we all have to start somewhere. In the very famous verse from Ecclesiastes, one of the times God describes is a

“A time to build and a time to uproot. A time to scatter stones and time to gather them.”

Currently, we are all in the “being uprooted and yet to be planted” stage. And it can be terrifying to be uprooted. To leave the nice cozy dirt of college and classes and homework and friendships. To leave napping, and late night Sheetz runs, and comfortable surroundings. To be yanked out without wanting to be planted somewhere else. But fortunately, we’ve done it before. Obviously moving from high school to college is not as big a transition as blazing our way to the real world, but it is a similar time of transition. Remember how scared you were to not make any friends, or what if you couldn’t handle the class load, or the food made you sick? You wondered what if you didn’t make the cut and high school was your peak time? Fortunately, it only took a little bit of time for us at college to get adjusted to the class loads and to make new amazing friends. We were uprooted, but we were planted and able to flourish.

So what advice would I give to myself and other graduating seniors? Of course I don’t come close to having any answers, but I hope that some of these tips can help both of us

  1. Never Forget

“ You who are young be happy while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth.” – Ecclesiastes 11:9

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.”- 1 Timothy 4:12

To not forget the people and places that have shaped you for the last four years. Now I am not advising you carry around a tub of ice cream, only wear your Greek shirts out in public, or to constantly be reminiscing about the “good old days,” but to not forget the lessons you worked so hard to learn in college. To not forget about the friendships you have forged, and realize that any relationship can work if you are willing to put in the effort. Yes, instead of having sleepovers in your dorm rooms you might have to settle for monthly or every couple of month trips, but your foundation is already there.  Don’t allow it to crumble if it’s important to you.

Don’t forget to stop learning. Even if you aren’t in a graduate school, continue to learn from the people, places, and colleagues around you. Everyone has something to teach us if we are willing and able to listen.

Don’t forget to stop dreaming. College isn’t where the road ends. God has big plans for us and how He wants us to impact those around us. Don’t miss out on His quiet whisper for your heart because you are too hung up on the past. Don’t think that just because we are young and inexperienced that we can’t contribute well to society. These years after college are the time to explore new cities, travel, take jobs that we love that don’t pay us super well, get our dream degrees, start our own businesses, and meet anyone and everyone. Now I am not saying to chase a dream that is utterly unrealistic. I don’t want anyone to tell their parents they are going to move to Thailand and pursue their dream of being a surfer just because they read this post. But don’t let satan trick you either. Don’t let him make you think that you aren’t able to accomplish the plans God has placed on your heart and prepared you to do.

  1. Make new friends

“A sweet friendship refreshes the soul.” Proverbs 27:9

I love the saying make new friends but keep the old. Don’t be a hermit in the place you end up after graduation. Do things that will purposely get you to interact with new people. Join a Bible study or young adult group, interact with young people at your work place, talk to those kids you sit by in your grad classes, enroll in a class at the gym, or even get a cup of coffee at a place inhabited by young people.  There are so many amazing and wonderful friends that we have yet to meet. There are going to be new people we encounter who we are going to question how they haven’t been in our lives longer. So, don’t ditch the college friends who have made you who you are, but don’t confuse fear with loyalty. Get out there and make some friends.

  1. Rely on God and other people

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”- Romans 8:28

I am blessed to still keep in contact with some of my friends from college who have already graduated. And I know from them that the real world is not very easy. It is a hard transition. Going from an easy final semester of senior year, straight into a 9 to 5 job that requires skills you are still harnessing, is going to be tough. We need to expect it to be tough. But, we know from watching others, that just because it is difficult doesn’t mean it isn’t doable. Listen, if you can make it through Grove City College, you can make it through practically anything. Just remember when you feel out of place that you are equipped for that job, that test, that interview. God is there. God is willing to give us the skills we need to succeed. He is working for the good of us. He will not forsake us or let us down. So we need to rely on Him. He is the only constant that has been with us through all our transitions. He knew the people we needed to meet at college, He knew the professors we needed to learn from, He knew the experiences and lessons we needed to have. So He knows the job we need to take, He knows who our new friends will be, He knows the right church where we can serve and be refreshed. So, instead of throwing ourselves pity parties when things get tough, we need to be striving to ask Him what He wants for us.

And likewise, don’t be afraid to rely on the people you love. To call your mom up when you have no idea how to make her favorite recipe or turn on the stove, to call up your best friend when you just want to hear her voice, to be able to be broken and vulnerable with other college graduates about what you are going through. To know that you are not alone, so you don’t have to act like you have it all together.

  1. Anticipate failures 

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”- Ephesians 2:10

Anticipate the messiness of post-grad life. We are going to fail, because we are imperfect people with imperfect lives. Yes, it’s not going to be as easy as college, also you can’t nap at your job, but there are still many benefits. Like being able to decorate your first apartment, finding your own church, having money to actually go out to eat, not having to study or write papers, finally being able to read again, the peace of not being stressed out, Sabbaths, bars that don’t just serve you in plastic cups, and no more greasy college food.

Yes, college changed you hopefully for the better, but other things and people will change you just as much. We have a new journey to begin and a new path to take. We will not be alone, and luckily our guide knows where all the pot holes, ditches, and poison ivy will be. Life will get hard, but when has it been easy? The most important lesson I have for this post is to just trust in God and meditate on His promises. Don’t let not being around a Christian community of encouragers stop you from pursuing Him and witnessing to others out.

Literally in two short days, I will walk across a stage, hopefully not be sniped, and proudly be able to say I am a graduate from Grove City College. I’m not an English major, but it truly was the best of times and the worst of times. But I am glad for every moment all the same. So take these next couple of days and weeks to mourn your college experience and all the emotions that go with that. But, eventually, we are all going to have to take that tentative step into adulthood. In the fine words of Dr. Seuss,

“ You’re off to great places, today if your day. Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way.”

5 Ways To Stop Comparing Yourself To Others

Oftentimes, comparison to others can start off harmlessly enough. Someone that inspires you to be kinder, wiser, or dress better. But the problem with comparison, ultimately, is that it doesn’t just stop there. Soon enough everywhere we turn we find someone who is better at this or that, prettier, or more Godly. Suddenly what started out as a good intention becomes a nasty habit that latches itself on to our deepest insecurities and doubts.

I think as women we can all relate to times that we have become prisoners to comparing ourselves to others. To the times we’ve cried because we wanted to be smarter, prettier, funnier than the girl sitting beside us, one of our best friends, or a girl in our office.

Comparison has always been an area where I have greatly struggled in my faith. From wishing my prayers sounded like another girl’s at youth group, to wondering if I’m not a true woman of God because I’m not taking any Biblical classes, to striving to make my makeup look just as effortless as the girl who sits beside me in class; I constantly wish I was someone else.  Comparison quote

At my smaller Christian college ring by spring isn’t exactly a joke. I definitely anticipated meeting the love of my life at this college. I easily pictured getting married the summer after graduation, and then living happily ever after as all our children sported “Future Grover” onesies. I wish I could say I was kidding. Yet, here I am the spring of my senior year, just as single, though hopefully wiser, than my naive freshman self who thought all of this would happen. Being single is a great gift, but it can also be a curse. I know that there are hundreds of fabulous single people all around me on my college campus, but I don’t choose to focus on them.   I choose to spend my days focusing on the people that are dating. And trust me, I’ve heard plenty of the “The right person comes when you aren’t looking,” “God has someone so special saved for you,” and “Would you even want to date who are they dating, anyways,” crap to last me a lifetime. But some days, it doesn’t change the fact that I am confronted online every minute with pictures of happy couples, flashy engagement rings, and Pinterest wedding boards, all while I’m sitting across from a couple canoodling in a study area across from me. This is not to say that I am not wildly happy for my friends that are in relationships and getting engaged, I am, but I also want it to be my turn too. Let’s all be happy and dating together, am I right?

I have liked plenty of boys over the course of my 21 years here on this earth, and with that comes plenty of opportunities to both be liked and to not be the one liked. I constantly find myself in positions where I’m not chosen over another girl. Sometimes the boy has no idea I even liked them, sometimes they do and they only liked me as a friend, and sometimes I just annoyed them. But either way, it is too easy for me to find myself comparing myself to those “better” girls they chose over me. It is easy to get consumed about why you weren’t chosen. Is it’s because she’s funnier than me? Because she’s shorter than me? Am I too much, or not enough, or show my gums too much when I smile? The list can go on and on. And I’m left crying in my bed knee deep in her 8th grade pictures on Facebook wishing that God had made me more like her. Because according to that boy I had obsessed about, she was worth it. And since I wasn’t picked, I was not.

That’s how I used to let myself think. I used to let myself get jealous of my friends successes, spend my days wishing I was someone else, and hating certain qualities about myself that made me who God wanted me to be. This New Year, I am learning to be expectant. I think it is all too easy at times to believe that God has great plans and ambitions for other people. The type of people who can recite whole chapters of scripture, who never have a bad hair day, and who always win awards. But that’s not the case. That’s a lie we have told ourselves again and again like a bad nursery rhythm to ease the pain that we are not enough. You are special, you are loved, you are chosen. Not enough? That thought is unfathomable to a God’s whose thoughts we can’t even begin to imagine. He wants to use you right where you are today. comparison quote

In this crazy life we think we can be satisfied if we are given a sense of worth; if we win the employee of the month at our work places, get complimented on our outfits, or get the highest grade in the class. We think that our worth depends on what we do, who we know, and how we look. I’m here to tell you, it doesn’t. Our worth was determined for us long ago when Christ hung on the cross to pay the price for our sins. He didn’t just die for the people that have it all together, the popular kids in high school, the girls you think are more beautiful than you, He died for all of us. Because we are all worthy and equal in His sight.

For example, it’s like being the worship leader at a church. Because let’s be real, everyone wants to be the worship leader, right?  It seems so exciting to be able to lead people in singing songs to the King of the World. They show love to people during altar calls, stir up the Holy Spirit through a simple repeated verse,  and get the credit for picking songs that quite literally save people’s lives.  No one really thinks about the person pushing the words along on the PowerPoint. Unless, of course, they get off and you don’t know the words to the song. But the person who is pushing the slides on the PowerPoint is just as valuable and important in God’s eyes as the worship leader. The worship leader needs the person pushing the PowerPoint too. If people don’t know the words to a song, the worship leader’s job is irrelevant. No one’s lives would be touched, no one would get that “Come to Jesus” moment they are craving. Because to have a great worship service you need both parts.

“For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. If they were all one member, where would the body be? But now there are many members, but one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.” – 1 Corinthians 12:12-14

And I don’t know you or the area where you are struggling with comparison today, but I can guarantee you that wishing for another’s gift will only lead to you wasting yours. We all have different purposes, different tasks, and different challenges we face every day. For example, I am not a girl who has ever been overly self-conscious of my body.  It breaks my heart to see my friends and loved ones spending their days hating the details of themselves that were loving crafted. But, where many of my friends have dealt with that issue, they have had no problem getting boy attention, where I have struggled.  Because the enemy wants us to believe that it’s just us who feel left out, abandoned, and less than at times; but that is not close to being true.

Maybe you’ve wondered if God could ever use you because you look around at your Christian friend group, church, or college and see plenty of people more prepared, and in your mind, better equipped to serve God’s kingdom. Maybe you wonder if there’s enough room for you to also have this dream, or that desire, or that ambition. What if you’re too late?

“The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.” – Matthew 9:37

I am not a competitive person by nature. When I used to run on my track team in high school, I would literally size up the other girls on the race line to see if I would be ok with them beating me. “If she beats me I won’t be upset because she went to States last year, but that girl, she’s so annoying. I have to beat her.”  I’m all about pushing myself, but I don’t have much of a pain tolerance or a big desire to push so hard I throw up. The ironic part of all this, is that while I would love to be more competitive on a sports team which is healthy, I chose to be competitive in comparison.

I hungrily read blog posts written by other strong Christian women, on the online magazine I often write for, or a book suggested by a friend and end up feeling miserable by the end. Because, I’m afraid that her great article that has so much wisdom and knowledge means there isn’t enough room for me to post anymore. After all, she got more likes and comments than me anyways, right? Wrong. Remember the verse above, the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.

comparison and grace quote

Just because she is very talented in the same area of you…doesn’t mean you have to get a new hobby.

Just because your friend got a job first…doesn’t mean you won’t also get a job you love.

Just because everyone around you is dating…doesn’t mean God is calling you to be a spinster.

Just because she has the same dress.. doesn’t mean you’ll look the same or less good when you wear it.

To be honest, while I was writing this article I took a break to casually peruse Instagram. Suddenly I found myself looking at photos of my friends studying abroad, seeing other friends reconnecting, and of course, date night photos. All while I was writing this article in my pjs on a Saturday night. I tell you this to let you know that I haven’t perfected this either. I can only give you some tips that have helped me and hope they can do the same in your life. Because like I said before, no one has it all together.

  1. Spend time with God each morning. This is a major struggle for me. If you know me at all, you know that I am a 10 pm in bed kind of girl. However, I don’t spring up and sing like Snow White in the mornings either. I like to sleep, 10, 12 hours. Getting up for me is never fun, frankly getting up from sleep ever is never fun. But I do notice a significant difference in my ability to control my thoughts when I do my devotions in the morning versus the afternoon or night. Every morning when we wake up we are facing a great battle. This happens between the enemy and our thoughts. Don’t give him any more ammo.
  1. Be on the look out. Every day from God is a gift. We need to be on the look out each day from the urgings of the Holy Spirit to talk to that person who looks lonely, speak the Bible verse our friends need to hear, and follow the call to sign up for a new club or activity. We need to realize that God has a plan to use us each day in big and small ways. Don’t miss your gift by noticing everyone else’s.
  2. Limit your time on social media. Social media is the food that feeds the comparison mResting in comparisons quoteonster.  Though social media is a great way to keep in contact with others, it is also too easy to get caught up in how many followers, likes, and comments we get on something we’ve posted. Suddenly, we are comparing ourselves to Amy’s photos wondering why we aren’t cool enough to get as many likes as she did on that picture of her cat.  That’s the problem with social media. So I’m not saying to quit social media, but if you know that you struggle with comparison, limit the amount of times you check it each day.
  3. Give yourself a break. Realize that you are going to have days where you are bloated, have zits covering your chin, and forget to pluck your eyebrows. On those days or other days where you feel like you could never be as good as insert name here, realize that you don’t have to prove yourself to anyone. God has already proved to you that you are worth it and worthy of being pursued. The moment those toxic thoughts enter your head, simply take a deep breath and relinquish it to God. He can take these thoughts and give you the peace you require. He can give you the confidence to stand on top of these thoughts and conquer them once and for all.
  4. Finally, fill yourself with what God says about you, not what others think of you or the horrible things that you think about yourself. Look to the verses that say that you were chosen, you were set apart, you are loved, you are worthy, you were created beautifully and with a beautiful purpose. God can satisfy our deepest desires and handle our deepest fears. Let Him shoulder your burdens, insecurities, and doubts each day when they’re too much to handle.

Remember that comparison is a battle that we all are constantly facing, but what do you say? Are you ready to win that battle today?

Why Your New Year’s Resolutions Keep Failing

2017. A year that looms before us unknown and sweet with expectations. It’s exciting to think that we have no idea what this year will bring. Many of us wish to find something new to fill the void in our hearts this year; a new person, a new hobby, a new figure. Many of us see this New Year as an opportunity to become the person we’ve always wanted to be. The person who spends time regularly with God, who invests more in other people, or actually gets on that workout regime. C.S. Lewis quote

But we face a problem as we hastily throw down resolutions after resolutions on notebooks and random scraps of paper. We face the problem of reality. It’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel when 2017 has just begun. It only takes a minute to look out at the gray and snowy January day for you to lose the hope that you had to complete the task. So why do we fail? Why do we forget about achieving our resolutions by the time March rolls around? Why do we not become those people that we hope to be?

I think that the answer is rather simple. We are set on being someone new instead of becoming someone new. From the minute our glasses clink ushering in the New Year, we are set on being this “new version” of ourselves.  Maybe for you that meant being less selfish, gossiping less, or being a better friend. Maybe you hoped to find contentment, to increase your spiritual life, or to help out your family more. These are all great plans, but we must remember that nothing comes easily in life. Process is everything. We need help. We need God. We are broken and damaged shells of people. We are not our own.

In the Bible, we see story after story of characters undergoing trials and joys on a journey that would lead them to who they were ultimately designed to be. They didn’t just wish that God would use them in big ways, they took steps to put God’s plans into motion. Think about the story of Paul. He had a major transformation, yet he didn’t become God’s vessel to the Gentiles overnight. He probably was scared to death and afraid, just like many of us. Luckily, God can take our brokenness and weaknesses to be used for His strengths. We are able to read book after book of Paul’s spiritual and personal trials to see how he learned to depend on God above anyone and anything else.

Or let’s look at the life of Peter. When God first called him to be a fisher of men, did he become one of the main leaders of Christianity the next day? No. Face it, he was just a smelly fisherman that was curious and maybe even a little bored with his mundane life. But he took a step. He gave God the opportunity to shape him and make him into who he was intended to be.  By letting God see his heart, his loves, and his failures, Peter became the man who was the rock of the Catholic Church. Do you think after the rooster crowed he was thinking how powerfully God would use him in the lives of others?

Just know that you are not alone in trying to improve yourself but falling short. You are not alone in having great intentions that you Proverbs 3:5couldn’t quite keep. We live in a crazy busy world. We spend our days racing from work to the gym to our quiet time to dinner to trying to squeeze in an episode of Netflix, all while trying to maintain 8 hours of sleep. Our eyes are bleary from the all-nighters we have pulled. And we find ourselves putting on more activities, finding new hobbies, maintaining more friendships, and having less time for God each year.  Have you ever stopped to ask God what desires and plans He has for your life? To ask Him how He wants to use and shape you this New Year? Maybe that’s where you need to start.

And then we face the question of what are the best resolutions? Thanks to social media and modern blogging( haha) we find that every publication, friend, and parent has an idea of what we should be working on this New Year. So we find ourselves up to our ears in self-help books, crazy weight loss solutions, and “read the Bible in a year” plans. All seem to promise that we will better ourselves, be someone different, and become who we always wanted to be just for signing up for their newsletter. That’s not true.

The only person who knows what we need to work on, what sins we need to improve, and what idols we need to kick, is God. Have you asked Him? Maybe this year He’s calling you to give up a bad habit, maybe it’s leading a Bible study, maybe it’s joining a ministry on your campus. But it could be as easy as smiling to everyone you pass on the sidewalk, or talking to that girl who seems lonely in your humanities class. Whatever it may be, I urge you to spend time prayerfully asking God what He has in store for you this New Year. Every year has its fair share of ups and downs, but by having God as your constant companion, you can be prepared for whatever life throws at you.

Over these next few weeks I will be introducing different resolutions I have for the New Year for you to either join in on or to ignore. This New Year, I hope to find ways to not be someone different, but to begin the process of becoming the woman of God I have been created to be. I want to become more content, unplugged from social media, expectant, intentional with others, and more serving. Now, none of these are easy tasks that I can complete overnight. Unfortunately, I can’t offer you any quick tips to become these things in 10 minutes or any cheats. My only offer is to dig into these issues using scripture and to start a journey that most likely won’t be completed in 2017. Because we shouldn’t be striving to become better just for 2017. We should be trying to become the person that God will say, “Well done good and faithful servant,” to at the end of our lives.

So are you ready to become a better kingdom server for God? Are you ready to stop making resolutions and start making changes? God is ready to guide you through this uncertain and unknown New Year, all you have to do is ask Him to lead the way.

Isaiah verse

5 Tips For Your Senior Year Survival Guide

Senior year. Whether you are jumping for joy at the thought of being done with college forever, or already internally cringing when an adult asks what your plan for after graduation is, it happens to all of us eventually. Unlike high school, after we walk across that graduation stage amidst the flashing of cameras and excitement of family members, many us may be unsure where our paths will lead us next. This year will be full of changes. From parting with friends who have become like family, to moving to a new town where no one knows you name, to moving back home, it is important to realize that this unexpected journey has already been mapped out by the Creator of all. So take some time right now to relax, sit back, and let me pass on some wisdom of my senior year survival guide.

1. Be content.

“For your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.”- Matthew 6:8

“To the God who is able to do immeasurably more than you can ever ask or imagine.”- Ephesians 3:20senior year bible verse

As I was praying for God to show me what He wanted me to learn and experience in this coming season in my life, one word kept coming to my mind, contentment. If you think about it, many of us are not content in our day to day lives even when we have so much to be thankful for. It can be all too easy to dwell on the negative, like being unhappy doing spreadsheets in your internship instead of being grateful for the opportunity, or being annoyed when your mom makes you help her make dinner, instead of realizing how lucky you are not to worry about food. We all do it.

Learning to be content doesn’t mean always being happy. It means fighting the battle every day of choosing praise over complaints. It means accepting that everything isn’t going to go the way you want it to, but trusting God anyways. It means seeing the good when you’ve recently experienced a whole lot of bad.

This coming year is going to be an onslaught of “Just landed the perfect job” and “We’re engaged,” social media posts. There might be days where you feel like you can’t even check Facebook because you are sick of everyone else getting good news. Do not fall into the trap of comparison. God made us all with completely different gifts and life plans. Just because Suzie lands her dream job in October and you have to move back in with your parents after graduation, doesn’t make Suzie more loved or better than you. Who knows, Suzie might land that job, but end up absolutely hating it, while you end up waiting at home and landing a job you’ve always wanted.

So choose satisfaction. Choose praise when you get rejected from another job and realize you have to move back home. Choose praise when you worry about never getting married or worry if your boyfriend is ever going to pop the question. Choose praise when everything in your once perfect life seems to be spiraling out of control.

No matter how many resumes you send out to hear no replies, how many times you ache to have a date on a Saturday night, or how many times you stain your bed spread with tears from it all being too much, God has not abandoned you. God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, and He is the same in your period of waiting and the same if this year leads to you getting everything you’ve ever wanted.

Ask God to grant you contentment during this time of uncertainty and to show you the ways He is working in your life that you never noticed before.

2. Don’t be overwhelmed.

“Peace I live with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”- 1 John 14:27

“When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”- Psalm 61:2 senior year bible verse

College in general is a time of stress and juggling a million things.  Trying to fit in a meal date here, while doing a meeting there,  and doing your homework in the time cracks in between it all.  As a person who barely has enough room to fit her activities on one page of her resume, I can relate to doing too much. Though it is great to be involved in many activities and avenues while in college, you don’t want to spend your senior year making up for lost time. You don’t need to try to go on every mission trip, lead every organization you’ve been in since freshman year, and then sign up for a new activity that sounds fun.

Take a deep breath. Don’t try to cram every memory, project, and fund raiser into the first month of school. Though we are told to savor every moment of senior year and continually told how it is going to fly by, nothing is ever that quick. You still have 9 months to make the most of your senior year, so relax and enjoy being involved and enjoy your friends. Pray that God will give you wisdom and discernment to say yes to the right things and no to those things that are getting in the way. This is your last year to be a college student, so sleep in those days you don’t have 8 ams, say no to going out to stay in and watch a movie, and don’t read all the miscellaneous things assigned to you.

Find the balance between school, activities, and friends that you can handle. It really is true that you can’t do it all, so don’t burn yourself out trying.

3. Don’t check out.

Kind of piggybacking off my last topic, don’t check out this senior year. It’s hard to invest in new people, new campus groups, and new things when you feel like you barely have enough time to spend with your friends, but don’t check out. Take the time to do that mission trip you always wanted to go on, join that group that always looked like fun, and get to know those people in your major you always thought seemed cool.

Likewise, don’t skip out on meetings and plugging into those activities you’ve always loved. If you are on a sports team or in a sorority, take the time to talk and get to know those freshman. You never know the way you can be used to mentor them or how God can use them to bless you.

Whatever you choose to spend your senior year investing in, do it wholeheartedly. Do it lovingly. And do it without any regrets.

4. Be intentional.

“A sweet friendship refreshes the soul.”- Proverbs 27:9

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”- Luke 5:16 senior year bible verse

The hardest part of anyone’s senior year is saying goodbye to the friends and loved ones who have helped you to transform these past three years from that naïve freshman into the senior strutting across the stage to grab her diploma. Be deliberate in all your relationships. You might graduate and move to a new town where you don’t have any friends or family. Take the time this year to invest deliberately in the friendships that you want to last beyond college. Make meal dates, friend dates, and weekend hang out times. Tell your friends that you love them and really want to spend the time growing with them this year.

Invest in your parents. They are the ones who have taught you everything, and no matter how much you feel like you are independent since starting college, you still need them. Truly soak in their knowledge and learn everything you can from them. For me that means letting my mom teach me to cook when I really hate it, or allowing her to buy me things I need to for my house for Christmas over clothes. It means asking for advice instead of rolling our eyes when we receive it. It means watching Lost with my family every night this summer instead of holing up in my room watching Netflix. It means taking the time on breaks to put away our cell phones and plug in to our families.

Invest in our savior. College is the best time in our lives, because we have four years to selfishly and unapologetically focus on nothing but ourselves. We get caught up stressing out in all we have going on and our classes, but really we are stressed because we don’t have time to work out or hang with friends. None of our decisions really impact other people.  God is the only one we can rely on when our life is changing like crazy. He is the only one who understands how bad we feel to be sad that our best friend got a job when we didn’t. He is the only one who gets how scared we might be to get engaged or to leave college never having a boyfriend. He alone knows how we are going to feel and how to comfort us. The real world is going to be scary and unknown, but we can’t properly tackle it without God’s help. That means laying the foundation before we get there. That means taking the time each day to sit before His throne and lay our burdens on Him. That means listening to His call and choosing it even if it isn’t what we had in mind. It means learning to be His servant and realizing we are not our own.

Each of these relationships are important to our growth, but only one can sustain us for all time. Choose intentionality this year.

5. Don’t cry until it’s over

Don’t cry before it’s over; smile because it happened.”- Dr. Seuss senior year quote

My last bit of advice is harder said than done. I would consider myself to be a fairly easy crier. I cry every time Hillary Duff gets humiliated in A Cinderella Story at that pep rally, cry when I’m overwhelmed in the shower, and cry when I skin my knees. I am more than prepared this upcoming senior year with tissues in case I get struck unexpectedly with nostalgia. Don’t live like that!

Embrace all the little and big moments that senior year has to offer. Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Likewise, who of you by crying and bemoaning senior year ending can add days to it? So try your best not to dwell on it ending, but live in the present every day. Don’t waste your weekends wallowing in your dorm room with friends, go out and have fun.

I have decided to try my best to not cry until I walk across that stage to get that diploma. That might be unrealistic, but I can tell you I don’t want to waste my precious college memories stressing about them ending. I have plenty of time to cry when it actually ends.

So seniors, go out and build the kingdom this new school year. You have 9 months, let God help you make the most of them.

3 Ways God Wants to Grow You This Summer

I think plenty of us right about now are praising God for summer and more importantly summer vacation. When I think of summer, I think of the beach, sunny days, ice cream cones, friends sitting around a fire, and driving with the windows down. It is such an exciting time full of endless possibilities and a multitude of memories waiting to unfold. But one of the things we tend to neglect over this 3 month or more period is trying to get closer to God.

We settle into our fast pace of internships, retail jobs, Netflix series, and seeing family members. As college students, long gone are the days where we had the opportunities to serve God through high school mission trips and VBS programs. Long gone are the days where we ourselves were privy to learning more about Jesus at summer camps and church activities. So what do we do now?

It can be hard when we scroll through endless Facebook posts of friends charging off to minister to kids all summer at a summer camp, traveling to a third world country to do ministry, or who snagged an internship ministering to teens. It can begin to make us feel like our summer isn’t really important to God. How in the world can we be glorifying God by tolerating foreign people at our retail jobs, getting coffee for internship supervisors, or babysitting those kids from down the road you can’t stand? How can I possibly grow in my faith the same way as those who are posting their address for people to send them letters in Africa?

Well, if you are feeling that way I have some good news. This summer can be just as great of a way for you to grow in your faith, minister to others, and learn about your identity in Christ as those preparing the groundwork on the mission fields.

Psalm 139: 16 says, “ All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”Bible verse

No matter where God has called you to work or grow roots this summer, He has you there for a very specific reason. A specific reason to help and learn from specific people that are all part of His divine plan. Every day God presents us all with the unique opportunity to uncover His beauty that He has created just for us to notice. We can see this in the love of a friend, the kindness of a co-worker, the beauty of a summer sunset, and even the surprise of ice cream after a long day. Let’s not miss out on those opportunities to see God’s glory just because we aren’t at a Christian summer camp.

So what are some tips we can use to grow in our faith this summer? What are some ways we can glorify God in the job your parents forced you to get?

1.Set aside time each day to grow and be in God’s presence.

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”- Jeremiah 29:13. 

You can’t find your potential in who God created you to be, grow in your faith, or glorify

You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heartGod if you spend all day too tired or too busy to spend time with Him. Yes, some days the last thing you are going to want to do is come home from an 8 hour work day and traffic to curl up with your bible. The very last thing you might want to do in the morning is wake up earlier than the crack of dawn you were already planning to, leave your comfy bed, and spend time with God. But I assure you, the more you try to desire God, the easier it will become. If you truly want to grow in Him and be properly equipped to help others see Him, this the first step you must take.

2. Do all things to glorify Him.

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”- Colossians 3:17

No matter if it’s talking politely with a customer, not cutting corners on data entry, or folding the shirt properly the first time, nothing we do is pointless to God. Nothing slips His always watchful eye. If you believe in Jesus Christ, which I hope if you are reading this you do, then you have to believe that the hard jobs, annoying bosses, and pointless activities will matter in the long run. God will reward us for diligently working at jobs we can’t stand with people we can’t stand. It is a great way for us to witness to our employers, customers, and co-workers. What if all it takes to spark a conversation about Jesus is a co-worker wondering why you are always optimistic or work hard?

3.Pray through the challengesPray without ceasing

“ Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus.”- 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Now I understand that it can be hard sometimes to set aside 20 minutes to pray to God uninterrupted, let alone thinking about it all day. We as Christians have been stuck believing the lie that every time we come before the Father we need to hide ourselves away in a quiet place, dwell in His presence for five minutes, even out our breathing, and read a bible verse before we are fully ready to engage with God. But that is a lie. I wholeheartedly believe that once a day we should try to engage in the practices stated above, but that would mean we are only conscious of God once a day. And He wants us to be as conscious of Him as much as possible. God is available and willing to talk to us 24-7. God isn’t going to answer a text message first, scroll through Twitter first, or have to take a second before engaging with us. He’s always ready.

This past year I have been reading the book Jesus Calling that talks about the trials, frustrating comments, and panic situations we find ourselves in every day as God’s way of saying “hey stupid, I want you to notice me.” Our trials and painful situations are the secret to a greater relationship in Christ. So we must try our best to come to Him first when we don’t know what the heck we are doing in our internships, don’t know how we can tolerate any more Canasians, and don’t know how to make it through the rest of the day. God knows how to get us there, and He is waiting for us to come to Him with open arms.

So this summer don’t get hung up that you aren’t curing cancer or helping children from poverty stricken homes. God thinks that the person who keeps sneezing in the cubicle next to you at work is just as precious as these, but He still needs your help in reaching them.

How To Prioritize God When Life Gets Too Busy

“ I’m just so tired.”

“I mean God wants me to rest right?”

“It isn’t fair for me to do devotions if I’m not going to really focus on God.”

“I’ll just do a big devotion time tomorrow.”

Excuses. We’ve all used these same excuses at some point on our faith journey to avoid and make ourselves feel ok about not spending time with God. We all have such busy schedules that sometimes it can feel almost impossible to make time for God each and every day. But how is it that we make time to work out every day? How is it that we make time to scour Pinterest for an hour every evening? How is it that we make time to keep hitting the, “I’m still here, “button on Netflix? We can’t go two minutes without responding to our friend on Snapchat, but when the God of the universe starts demanding our attention we find every excuse in the book to not give in.

I think as Christians we get stuck believing the lie that our devotions have to be a certain way or involve certain things for them to be able to bring glory to God. But the key thing about spending time with God, is that it can be anything that helps us to glorify and bring us closer to Him. Maybe you’ve felt the urge to draw nearer to Christ at a church service singing meaningful lyrics. Maybe you feel connected to God every time you see a sunset or take in the glory of His creation outside. Maybe the only way you can feel connected to God is through journaling and quietness.

“ God has given each of you a variety of spiritual gifts. Use them to serve one another well,” 1 Peter 4:10-11  Bible verse about being busy

Just like the verse above states, God knows and understands more than anyone else that we are all created differently and uniquely. God has a unique time He wants to spend with you each and every day that is unlike any other. Some Christians find it hard to sit still and soak in God’s presence on a regular basis. They feel like they’ve failed because their mind is going a hundred directions when they should be praying. It can be frustrating because many of our friends and members of our churches seem to worship in the same way, and we are left feeling like that means our faith isn’t as real. There is nothing further from the truth.

Over this summer my congregation was encouraged to take a test to show what ways we enjoy getting to know God( I attached the link below!) Some examples of the questions we had to rank were things like, “I draw near to God when I am helping other people,” or “I would nothing more than to read a book about God for hours.” It was really interesting because I was able to learn that many things could be ways to worship Christ that I had never realized before.

For instance, I love to be encouraging and help other people. I didn’t realize that could be a way to worship God. Say you love nature. Did you know that taking a simple nature hike and praying could be the best way you glorify God?

The important thing to remember is that no devotion or worship style is better or worse than any other. It’s whatever is going to allow you to have that intimate time with the Savior of the universe that both you and He are craving. We need to be consistent about spending time in His word, but other than that our time to worship God is 100% our own.

We all struggle with finding time with God, but instead of being lazy and letting these tiny idols control our day, let’s give up some things to give more to God. Worship time is about quality over quantity, so don’t be discouraged if you only start by spending 10 minutes every day with God. As you pray for Him to fill you and thirst for Him more, I guarantee that 10 minutes will become longer and longer. Because let’s be honest, if we can find time to check Instagram five times a day we can find 10 minutes to spend with God.

He loves you so much and He is waiting for you to come to Him. God gives us plenty of freedom but He does ask for one thing, that we give Him all of us. All the tiny insecurities, all the sins we don’t want to admit, all the disappointments we have in ourselves, all the tears we’ve cried, and all the times we rejoiced. He wants it all. He is the only thing that can truly see all that we are and still adore us.

So what are you waiting for? Jump into spending more time with God today

http://northpointministries.org/misc/sacredpathway.html

7 Ways To Better Yourself This New Year

1.Don’t overextend yourself

“ Before I was born God chose me and called me by His marvelous grace.”- Galatians 1:15 Bible verse

I go to a college where everyone is involved in as much as they possibly can be. And the thing is everyone brags about it. We flaunt our extracurricular and 400 level classes like badges of honor and saying “I’m just so busy,” is a quote of pride, not annoyance. The truth is, it’s ok sometimes to say no to things so that you can put your best foot forward in other areas. God wants to use you, but He can’t use you very well if every day you find yourself with barely enough time to give to Him.

You won’t be less of a Christian because you aren’t involved in two ministries on campus and lead your own bible study. You won’t be less of a person because you have a difficult semester and choose to have a social life and focus on one activity. You aren’t a bad person to spend less time investing in friends that blow you off. You can’t always be the best at everything, be everyone’s best friend, and love Jesus the most. Don’t try to do it all because God has a specific plan for you, but He also has a specific plan for your roommate and the person that lives down the hall from you. Don’t waste your opportunities or accidentally take the opportunities of another.

2.Be intentional with your relationships

“Two are better than one, because they have good return on their work; if one falls down his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!”- Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 Bible verse

College is an amazing time in your life to meet new people, focus only on yourself, and basically have unsupervised parental fun. Make the most of it. If you don’t take the time now to make plans and be intentional with the great friendships you have, they are going to fade away. This is the only time in your life where your best friends live literally feet away from you. Take the time to stay up late talking to your roommate, have weekly lunch dates with the person you’ve always wanted to get to know better or a friend you’ve neglected, and encourage one another in Christ. It’s never too late to work on being a better friend. So this new year try to become the type of friend you would want to be friends with, the type of friend God calls us all to be.

3.Stop defining yourself by social media

“ You are worth more than many sparrows.” – Matthew 10:31

“He rescued me because He delighted in me.”- Psalm 18:19   Bible verse

Sadly if you’re reading this blog that probably means you aren’t famous. You not likely to get over a thousand likes on any of your tweets or pictures you post. You aren’t Sarah Vickers, and people are not going to be looking to you for fashion advice just because you got bean boots for Christmas and you took an artsy pic of them in the snow. It can be so hard in our generation to not constantly judge ourselves based on our followings on social media, or how many likes our Instagram photos got. I find myself sometimes planning photos and tweets to post at just the right time to get ample amount of likes. I even sometimes will pull a post if it doesn’t get the likes I expect in an hour. Isn’t that ridiculous?

There are so many perks to social media, but one of the downsides is becoming too focused and obsessed with getting this many  likes or this many mentions. I can tell you one thing for certain. When we face God at the end of our lives, He isn’t going to let us into heaven because we got 90 likes on that selfie we took.  He is going to ask us why we spent so much time online instead of focusing on furthering His kingdom? He is going to ask us why we weren’t able to comfort a friend because we were checking Twitter simultaneously? He’s going to ask us why we felt the need to post pictures of our Bibles artistically placed next to our cups of coffee on a cold winter morning, but never lived that scripture out in real life?

Don’t let people’s perceptions of you online define you. God already defined you as lovely, saved, worthwhile, treasured, and beautiful. Ask yourself why you need more? What has happened to us that all we use the internet for is to make people feel bad that they aren’t having as much “fun” as us? Why do we panic if we don’t get a picture with our friends for Instagram when we hang out? Why do we feel empty inside when we choose to stay in on a Friday night and look at all our friends having a “blast” on their snap stories? We are missing memories as we are carelessly loading photos to all our social media accounts. We are missing great conversations about real topics as we have to stop to snap our friends the picture of the Starbucks we just got. We are afraid to be real with someone so we hide behind our phone screens. We think the snippet of devotion we glance at on our phone on our way to class is enough to nourish us spiritually for the day.

So this new year enjoy your phone, but not more than you enjoy the people around you. Don’t become so enthralled with your followers that you forget to take time to follow the only one that matters.

4.Read the Bible in a year or dedicate time to God daily

“ Therefore, I urge you brothers in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” – Romans 12:1-2. Bible

I’ve never read the Bible in a whole year, so this year I’ve decided to try it. One of the websites I contribute for, Tirzah, is having a year of devotions linked to reading the Bible in a year. You can sign up for email updates daily at the bottom of this article!

It’s never too late to start a relationship with Jesus Christ.  Even if it’s just in the first 10 minutes you get up every morning, or choosing to pray instead of listen to music on your way to work , these little steps can help you get into a better relationship with the God of the universe. If you have a more advanced devotional time, try journaling, meditating, or nature walks as new exciting ways to worship God. Whatever works for you, figure it out and then dedicate time to God every day. Not in the last 5 minutes of your day as you fall asleep, not interrupted when you roommate starts talking to you in your room, not put off so you can “figure out a time tomorrow” do it today. Find some quiet time with God every day and it will open up your life to a great relationship that never will disappoint.

5.Sometimes you need to be weak to show your inner strength

“ That is why for Christ’s sake I delight in hardships, in persecution, in insults, in difficulties, in weaknesses. For when I am weak then I am strong.”- 2 Corinthians 12:10

“Who comforts us in all our troubles, so we may comfort those in trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”- 2 Corinthians 1:4   

Bible verse
Bible verse

This past semester I struggled with some anxiety that finally resulted in me being diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder. If you know me well at all, you know that I am the person that loves to be there for everyone else. Having a crisis, I’m here. Need prayer, take a seat. Need to talk about emotional things, let’s get a meal date because I’m your girl. I love playing that role and being strong for other people when they can’t be strong for themselves. I am, however, not so good at being weak. Not so good at coming to other people when I need prayer, and the queen of bottling everything up until I burst. I have learned this semester that there is nothing wrong with seeking counsel from friends, nothing weak about meeting with a counselor at your college’s counseling center to get the help you need, and nothing weak about God’s love.

He wants us to stop relying on ourselves and rely on Him alone. Unfortunately, I had to learn this lesson the hard way this past semester. God surrounded me with the exact right people I needed during this storm of my life, friends who I had prayed over before who started praying over me, friends that calmed me in the midst of panic attacks, and friends who walked me to the counseling center when I was too scared to go in by myself. Satan wants us to hide our struggles in the dark so that we feel ashamed and feel weak, but don’t forget that with God we can never be weak. We alone our victorious. So don’t be afraid to lean on the people God has granted to be in your life, or of using your struggles to be leaned on in the future. Finally, don’t ever be afraid to cry out to God because He will always rescue you, even if it means diving in after you.

6.Point to God, not yourself

“He must become greater; I must become less.”- John 3:30 Bible verse

This is something I have really been struggling with a lot with lately. Because when we point other people to God we need to make sure we are pointing them to Him and not to ourselves. As Christians, it can be so easy to slip into hypocrisy because we think what we are doing is benefiting God, when it’s really only benefiting our egos. Examples of this could be always signing your name on cards when you encourage people with scripture and blessings of God because you do want them to know YOU thought of them. It can be as simple as always being the one to talk at bible study because you want people to know how on fire you are for God. It can be using someone’s weakness as a way to gossip, “ Did you hear that Mary fell back into her depression, poor thing we really need to pray for her.” And let’s not forget the constant stream of song lyrics and “All to Jesus I surrender” we post on social media every Sunday.

We don’t like to admit we do these things, but we do. The amazing thing is that God can still use our not so great intentions for good and to bless those around us. Yes, God has gifted us with amazing gifts and talents, but we are nothing without Him. We need to be pointing others to Him and not to our selfish hearts. This year be open to encouraging and loving other people where God calls you to, but in a way that doesn’t point back to you. Maybe that means sending anonymous notes of encouragement, letting others take the prayer after a meeting, and letting God use your talents for His good not your good.

He must become greater; I must become less.

Live by that code.

7.Enjoy the little things

The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like the flowers of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.”- Psalm 103:15  Bible verse

Life goes by so quickly that in a blink of an eye we are done with high school, then done with college, and then starting jobs in the real world. We are so focused on the coming up that we forget to enjoy the right now. To enjoy and relish in those late night talks about boys and life in a college dorm room.  To enjoy dancing around a room to silly songs with your best friends as you get ready for a dance. To enjoy the random Saturday afternoons when you hunker in and have a movie marathon. To enjoy the days in practice when you get the opportunity to push yourself to your breaking point by some of your best friends.

As I look to the next three semesters I have in college I want to make the most of those memories. Because as much as I will continue to do my best in my classes and get my 8 hours of sleep, I definitely know that when I look back at my college experience, the regrets I will have are the experiences and memories I missed making with some of the best friends of my life. So whatever you have planned for the next year make sure it has plenty of laughing until you cry, regretting eating so much food, spoiling friends, encouraging others, and of course learning to love our Savior more than all of it put together.

Four Ways To Refocus On God

Let me ask you a question. How many times in the past month have you had to refocus your mind during prayer? It can be much easier than it sounds.

Dear Lord,

I come before you now to thank You for this day. Oh wait did I turn in my assignment today? No re-focus. God you are so good and I am so blessed by–I wonder if that cute boy in my class noticed my skirt today? So Sorry God. And help me to follow your plan but also to pass my finals. Crap are people going to dinner already?

Sound familiar? The truth is, in our media centered and hectic world it can be really hard to hold any of our attentions for any too long. I wonder how God feels when this happens, probably pretty frustrated. How often do we find ourselves rushing through our devotion times to get to something we deem more important? How often do we find our prayer times lacking because we are distracted by the stress of tests or just the noise of a college dorm room? How many times will we plead for God to answer our question about what to major in, who to marry, and who to room with next year and never hear an answer? Is it because God doesn’t care to answer us? I feel, rather, that it us not taking the time to invest and listen.

I came across a verse this week that accurately depicts what our life of devotion time should look like,

“How lovely is Your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty. My soul yearns, and even faints, for the courts of the Lord. Better is one day in Your courts than a thousand elsewhere.”- Psalm 84 verses 1-2; 10.Bible verse

These verses really struck me because I realize that is not at all how I feel most of the time I am before the Lord. If I’m being honest, He is not always the most important part of my day. I can easily do my devotion time as something to cross of my Christian list before I feel like I can watch my latest show obsession on Netflix, go running, or screw around on Facebook. These activities aren’t inherently bad things, but rushing through a devotion time to get to anything suddenly makes them an idol.

I was stunned this summer when I was listening to a sermon by Francis Chan who was talking about being satisfaction in heaven.

Would we be satisfied in heaven if God wasn’t there?
This questions crushed me because sadly I wasn’t sure what my answer would be. Do I love God enough that I could live in paradise without him? Am I truly so prideful that I feel fine going throughout the day ignoring the God of the universe?

So how can we overcome this? How can we love to dwell in the House of the Lord so much that we get annoyed when we have to surface to go to class? How can we be so poured out for God each and every day that we go to bed feeling like we have nothing left to give?

Well, I have not discovered the answer quite yet, but I do have some tips that helped me to prioritize God.

  1. Have a time of devotion each and every day. I know that every Christian alive drills that into us, but it’s so vital to having a relationship with God. This can be anything from reading the word, prayer, singing, walking in nature, and writing. Find what works for you and do it every day. Don’t get stuck thinking that if you aren’t doing what everyone else is doing during their devotion time that you’re wrong. Whatever you need to feel closest to God and glorify Him is just as successful as the person from your church that talks about their hour long prayer sessions. Setting aside time for God helps to start to make Him a priority in your life even if it’s not the first one.Bible verse
  2. Have a time of meditation. How many times do you ask your friends questions and then not listen for an answer? Never, right? Because that would be stupid. But yet we do the same thing with God. We ask him questions and then get angry because we never receive an answer. Maybe it’s because we aren’t giving Him time to speak. So even if it’s only 10 minutes every day, take some time to be still before the Lord.
  3. Truly surrender everything to God. That sounds easy enough, but it’s a bold prayer to pray. Giving God permission to give and take everything from you means He will do just that. Remember we are not immune to trials, but we are immune to living without God.
  4. Don’t put a time on it. As a Christian I think it can be all too easy to make ourselves have these long winded, repetitive prayers so we can get a certain amount of time each day in. Devotions are not a study session or workout. Remember that God wants quality not quantity. Who cares if you only spend 10 minutes each day with God if I spend an hour and don’t really accomplish as much? Everyone’s relationship is unique, so don’t get lost comparing your relationship with God to someone else. He has an authentic relationship He wants to have with you that is different from anyone else.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               God doesn’t call us to have perfect relationships with Him, but He does call us to love one another and more importantly to love Him most of all. So now that you’ve read through the blog post I want to ask you a hard question.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Would your heaven be complete without God?

8 Steps For A Successful Semester

1.Be willing to put your best foot forward academically, socially, spiritually.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as if working for the Lord and not men.”- Colossians 3:23.

God has always given us His best so we need to do the same with our daily actions throughout the semester. This could be not skipping class to sleep in, setting aside a time of devotion every day, or including someone on your hall that isn’t your favorite. No one likes eating leftovers and God sure doesn’t like getting ours either.

2.Dedicate time to being a better friend

“ Two are better than one, because they have good return for their work; if one falls down , his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!”- Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

This semester I want to be the type of friend that always puts people first, that always encourages, and is quick to listen. One of the best ways we can show Christ’s love is through our friendships. Sometimes in the busyness that comes with a college semester I fail to put my friends first like I should. I want to work on not taking the people that God has blessed me in my life with for granted. Be the friend that holds the tissue when the boy says no and the friend that screams when she gets the internship she wanted. It’s time to stop using pictures on Instagram to express our love for friendships and start living out our friendships by our actions.

3.Start thinking about what you can do for God not what He can do for you

“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of you heart.”

I think this verse is often taken way out of context. Yes, God wants to give us the desires of our hearts, but He also wants us to start desiring what He desires to give us rather than just what we want. When we go about our daily activities this semester, we need to be asking ourselves what we are doing today that is glorifying to God. We need to work on not being afraid to say “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders,” and truly understanding the weight of those words. God has granted each of with gifts and callings that only we can fulfill. Don’t let the class where the teacher asks the impossible, trying to do every club on campus, or Netflix get in the way of that.

4.Seek time alone with God/ make his relationship a priority

“ But Jesus would often withdraw to lonely places and pray.”- Luke 5:16

It can be so crazy in our busy lives to find time to just sit and be still before God. But we need to accept that throwing up a quick prayer before we eat or have a test is not going to help us have an authentic relationship with Christ. We need to be actively seeking Him in our times of devotion so that we can have a relationship that grows. Now, I know how hard it is to set aside time when you want to hang with your friends, nap, or feel like you have so much homework you might explode. But setting aside time with God can help us to put Him first in our lives where He belongs. Growing in Him can be one of the ways we start to grow up ourselves.

5.Forgive those who have wronged you in the past and move forward

“ For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you.” – Matthew 6:14

Forgiveness is not a word anyone likes to hear, especially when it involves a situation where they have been wronged. It’s not a secret that my earthly father has not exactly played a big role in my life. It is really hard for me sometimes to call him and love him when I know that he has never put me first. But even though it can be a daily struggle for me to forgive him, it is still harder for me to continue to hold a grudge and keep it bottled up inside. I am not saying you need to let that person back into your life that has hurt you in the past, but by not forgiving them how can you expect God to turn around and forgive you? So this semester let go and forgive the girls that were mean to you in the past or the boy that broke your heart. You might just point someone to Christ by your actions.

6.Enjoy your time of singleness

“He has made everything beautiful in its time.”- Ecclesiastes 3:11

It can be really hard when you are in college to look around and be happy for the people that are in relationships when you are not. It can start to feel like your biological clock is ticking when you just turned 19 or 20. Let me tell you a little secret, God wants you to be single for a reason. He wants you to be in a relationship for a reason. If you are not in a relationship, it might be because God isn’t done with you yet, or it could be because the boy He has planned for you isn’t ready yet. God’s timing is always impeccable. Even if the guy you thought would be your prince charming isn’t. This semester instead of stressing about never getting married or feeling like you wear a perpetual “Friendzone Me” T-shirt, take some time to truly enjoy it. Go out with your girlfriends, invest in the guy friends you have and make as many as you can, buy a new outfit to make yourself feel beautiful just because, and have that extra scoop of ice cream. Use this time to fall so in love with God that you no longer need a boy to know your worth.

7.Gossip less

“ A gossip betrays a confidence but a trustworthy person can keep a secret.”- Proverbs 11:18

“ Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only things that are good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear it.”- Ephesians 4:29

Watching what I say is easily one the things that I struggle with the most. We can remember every single thing that a mean girl said to us in high school, the time a boy called us ugly or fat, or when our “best friend” told someone she thought we were annoying. Yet we forget to recognize that we so easily have done the same things to others. We need to be the type of friends that when we get frustrated with each other our first instinct isn’t to run to another friend and complain. We need to be the type of friends that can keep secrets. I know how much fun it can be to be the person who has the scoop at a sleepover, but it shows so much more maturity to keep the promise you kept. We were put on this earth to lift each other up and be encouraging, not to complain, ridicule, swear, and to hurt. Don’t say something in your haste and anger that you can’t ever take back.

8.Don’t stress

“ If God is within her she will not fail.”- Psalm 46:5

“ This is why for Christ’s sake I delight in weaknesses, hardships, insults, persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak then I am strong.”- 1 Corinthians 12:10

The hard part about being a Christian is that we are going to face trials. We are going to face semesters where our class loads seem insurmountable, we face problems back home, and we feel abandoned by God. In these stressful times, we need to remember to rely on God before we rely on ourselves. He alone promises to make our burdens light, if we turn to Him. No matter how many times you stress cry over a test, eat dinner alone, or feel like you can’t do it anymore, God has never left your side. You are not a failure for admitting you need help. So this semester try to truly let go and Let God. He holds our whole world in His hands, He will not let us fall without picking us back up.

Do Good Things Really Come To Those Who Wait??

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Patience is not a virtue that is easy for anyone to posses. I just feel like patience is always lacking from my genetic makeup and overall DNA.  Anyone that knows me, knows that I can barely wait for my friends to run back and grab their ID’s when a bunch of us are ready to go to dinner at my college, let alone wait for God’s timing in my life.

No one likes to wait. Especially in our internet driven world where many answers are easily at our fingertips, it seems like no one really has to. As a self-proclaiming control freak, I can honestly say that there are many things about my life I wish that God would just let me have or give me the answers to. Like for instance, when my future husband is going to come into the picture? Or what he wants me to do with my degree after I have finished college?  Yet, I am still no closer to having these questions answered than the Cleveland Browns are to winning the Superbowl.

One thing that can be of great consolation throughout our frustrating period of waiting for God’s timing, would be what The Bible says about the subject. In chapter 8  of Ecclesiastes verses 5-6 it says,

“Whoever obeys his commands will come to no harm, and the wise heart will know the proper time and procedure. For there is a proper time and procedure for everything, though a person may be weighed down with misery.”

While that verse is rather bleak, it does capture a lot of the emotions I have while I am waiting for God to provide me with answers. I may not be miserable, but I sure am frustrated. Sometimes I just want to yell at God “Is it my turn yet?”

Romans 5:6 reads “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.”

Jeremiah 29:11 “ For I know the plans I have for you”, declares The Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you hope in a future.”

After hearing these verses it dawns on me that although I may not know what God is doing in my life right now, I can have faith that God does have a plan to benefit me. So why should I waste my time worrying about boys liking me or if I am taking the right classes? He is the God of the universe and He is in more control of my future in a moment than I would like to think I am in a lifetime.

I once heard it illustrated that our lives are like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. We get to watch the parade from a window on Fifth Avenue.  The room has only one window and it does not allow us to lean out, so we can only see the parade as it is right in front of our eyes. We cannot see what is in front or behind us. God is like the parade manager. He sets all the floats up in the order they are supposed to go and takes great care to ensure that everything is in its proper place before the parade begins. Because God does truly have everything in our life lined up in it’s proper place. Our time of waiting might be preparing us for lessons we will need for the future or upcoming joy.

I think that Joyce Meyer put it best, “Patience is not the ability to wait but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.”

Talk about an inspiring quote. I think sometimes it is so easy to get caught up in our own self-pity that we overlook all the little blessings that God has placed right in front of our eyes. We need to remind ourselves of God’s past provision and His promise to do it again.

So, the next time you are ready to pull your hair out or scream loudly into a pillow because you have had it up to here with all this waiting, remember that God has already planned every aspect of your life out. We don’t have anything to worry about.

All this seemingly tedious waiting is nothing more than an ingredient that is necessary to complete the perfect dessert that will one day become our futures.