Sunday, August 23, 2015

dear freshman girl: advice from a sentimental senior

dear freshman girl,

tomorrow is your very first day of college classes, and if you're like i was the night before then you're pretty nervous about making sure you get it all right... not walking into the wrong class, making sure you show up on time, making sure you don't come off as TOO much of a freshman.

from a senior's perspective, here's some advice that i wish someone had told me when i was in your shoes:

it's okay to miss your parents. all those pretty, fun, outgoing girls you see in your dorm that seem to not have a care in the world? i promise-- they're missing their parents as much as you are. speaking of parents, they're your biggest fans. they're in your corner. they're your people! (try to) include them in what's happening in your new life. :)

lean into the loneliness.  you know that gross, uncomfortable feeling that's making you want to run as fast as you can back to everything you knew at home? embrace it. be all here. all of this is just helping you form into the person God created you to be. i promise, the loneliness doesn't last forever! it takes time to find friends as good as you had in high school. you had four years to form those relationships. don't freak out because you haven't made them by the end of the first weekend! before you know it, you'll be friends with people you absolutely adore, and you'll have no idea how you lived 18 years without them. hang on to those people.

don't be worried about everyone else. it is so easy as girls to become insecure. so what if susie in collins 302 has perfect teeth, bright blue eyes and a magnetic personality? the biggest lesson i've learned in college is just because someone else has something we wish we had, doesn't mean we have to subtract something from ourselves. nothing good ever comes from comparing yourself to others. this is the time to figure out who you are, what your passions are and what kind of person you want to be. speaking of insecurity...

instagram isn't real life. no one ever posts an ugly picture of themselves on social media. i'm a big fan of artsy photos with deep and profound song lyrics and/or quotes. i've had to gut check myself about my motivations for posting photos. but don't let that picture of the girls on your hall having tons of fun at a party give you FOMO or the insta of your best friend's perfectly arranged picture of her bible, journal and coffee cup at common grounds make you think less of yourself. because that's the enemy trying to plant lies about your self-worth in your head.

your faith will probably be tested. if not by other people, then you yourself will start to have questions. if you were raised in a christian home, then you know how easy it is to have "your parents' faith". now is the time to make your faith your own. there's never been a time when God has flipped me around more than college. he loves you more than you can imagine, and he's better than any other thing you think could bring you fulfillment. i hope that you experience him in powerful ways over the next four years, because there is nothing sweeter than seeing the evidence that God is right there with you, walking you through everything you could possibly experience in college!

find a church or campus ministry to get involved in. i church hopped my first two years of college and couldn't find a place to settle, but once i did, it made ALL the difference. my church is one of my safe places. i absolutely love it. join a small group. these people will sharpen you, encourage you and push you to be everything God has called you to be.

go to class. need i say more? don't let the professor who doesn't take attendance trick you into thinking you don't need to be there. if you don't go to class, you're going to end up at home because i highly doubt your parents are going to want to continue to pay baylor tuition if you're failing your classes due to a lack of trying. trust me, those conversations are not fun.

finally, have fun. these are some of the best years of your life. meet people-- there is something to learn from every single person you encounter. take a road trip to dallas or austin with your roommates. go watch the sunset from the top of a parking garage. take naps. order pizza late at night while you're watching a movie with your friends. roll down the windows in the car and sing really loudly. ask to hang out with that older girl that seems cool. who knows? she might end up being a mentor to you.

i would go back and do college again, with all of its ups and downs, in a heartbeat. it goes by way too fast so please don't wish away these days!

love, a very sentimental senior

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

start dreamin' big, people

i'm in a class this semester on career management. it's really very insightful- i initially registered for it because my advisor told me that it is a GPA booster (there aren't enough of those in the business school) and that i would probably find it pretty interesting. i unassumingly signed up for it, not knowing what i was going to get myself in to.

my professor is a cool guy- former baylor football player, funny and hard of hearing, like myself (the hard of hearing part.. ha). he has recently been asking us if we know what we want to do post-college and talking to us about what we would do if we could do anything in the world. it's gotten the wheels in my head turning without a doubt. for as long as i've been at baylor, the path after college has been pretty clear. i never gave much thought to doing anything other than getting my degree in HR and then going to get my masters of health care administration and hopefully work in a children's hospital in texas. i'm passionate about people, i love the idea of how rewarding being in the health care industry is, the job is secure and it pays well. sounds like a good gig to me.

it wasn't until recently that i came to the realization that there is not just one perfect job for me. i just figured that my current degree plan was the result of a bunch of little decisions i made that were now adding up: i applied to baylor as a business major, i got in, i registered for those business classes, i decided that accounting/finance/economics/management sounded awful (sorry to all of my accounting/econ/management professors- you're all lovely people but i think you'd be the first to tell me that i shouldn't pursue those fields) and so now i find myself looking at human resources, the most people-oriented major in the business school.

is there one option that is better for me than another? certainly so.. but is there a right option? that i'm not so sure of. over the past month, i've had random people who all mean a great deal to me, but don't know each other mention that they see creativity in me. that makes sense- ever since i was a little girl, i've been drawing and taking pictures of people and writing. my mind has always drifted to the romantic, the idealistic, the dreamy. truthfully, i've never considered those things as a career option... but why?

that now puts me at a place of thinking about what it is that i want to do with my life. i want to do something that i love, but more than that, i want to do the thing that will bring God the most glory possible by utilizing the gifts that he has given specifically to me. whether that's in a hospital or in front of a canvas or behind a camera or something else i'm completely unaware of at this time will be fun to watch unfold. because He always has something fun up His sleeve.

please don't ignore the dreams you have and the things you want to do that you're not sure are realistic. emily p. freeman, author of 'a million little ways', pushes her readers to think about why it is that we so often assume that pursuing the things that we want to pursue can only be done at the expense of our responsibilities. really though- what if we each desire to do certain things because God created us a certain way- not to make us miserable or tease us while we do something we hate, but to actually mold us into becoming more like him, for his glory and for the benefit of others? what if the thing that we most long for, those things that we can't stop thinking about or keep wishing we could do, is the thing we were actually made for and are being equipped to do?

"the Shepherd laughed too. 'I love doing preposterous things,' He replied. 'why, I don't know anything more exhilarating and delightful than turning weakness into strength, and fear into faith, and that which has been marred into perfection.. that is my special work,' He added with the light of a great joy in his face. 'transforming things- to take Much-Afraid, for instance, and to transform her into-" He broke off and then went on laughingly. 'well, we shall see later on what she finds herself transformed into." -hinds' feet on high places

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

no longer a slave to fear

if i can be straight up, fear is something that i struggle with on a daily basis. fear of the unknown, fear of sickness, fear of poor performance, fear of missing out on things... fear is rampant in our culture and is a reminder that we live in a fallen world and that things aren't exactly as they should be. 

i know i'm not the only person that is fearful of things, but sometimes it can feel as though i'm the only one. fear is a part of human nature, but i'm (slowly) learning that it's how i deal with my fears that determines how i live my life.

the pastor at my church gave a sermon on fear a couple of weeks ago and he made some incredible points on the topic of fear:

1. first and most importantly, fear is NOT FROM GOD. you can rest assured that God DOES NOT SPEAK TO YOU THROUGH FEAR, but through promise: "for though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. the weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. on the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. we demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." (2 corinthians 10:3-5). the same power that raised Christ from the dead lives inside of me; He who lives in me is greater than he who is in the world.

taking every thought captive is incredibly difficult for me to do. the thoughts of fear creep in and before i know it, they've infested my mind and i've come up with the worst possible scenario. it's something that is definitely a work in progress.

2. i am fearful when Christ is not central in my life. i find that when i am at my most fearful, it's because i haven't been spending as much time with Him as i should be. by saturating my mind with Jesus and memorizing scripture and rejecting fearful thoughts, i can prevent a lot of worry from invading my mind.

3. fear is meant by the enemy to immobilize us. satan's job is to do whatever he can to keep us inactive and destroy our relationship with God. he uses confusion to paralyze our emotions and if left unchecked, fear can literally make us sick. i'm learning how to reject fear by reciting scripture.. "God is not the author of confusion but of peace." the great thing is is that satan isn't creative. he's actually pretty dumb. my pastor told us that to the degree that we feel fear, we should beat it with double the amount of prayer. (that's a lot of prayer for me..)

i was talking to my parents yesterday about fear and they reminded me that you can't sweep fear under the rug. you have to face your fears head on and you have to replace it with Christ and his promises.. and you definitely shouldn't dwell on future problems that may or may not ever happen. are they wise or what?

"you will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are fixed on you..." isaiah 26:3

"for God has not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, love and of a sound mind." 2 timothy 1:7

"do not fear, for i am with you; do not be dismayed, for i am your God. i will strengthen you and help you; i will uphold you with my righteous right hand." isaiah 41:10

"now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way." 2 thessalonians 3:16