Hey friends! Yikes, it’s been a hot minute. Life gets busy and 24 hours isn’t really that long, so I’ve learned.
If you know me, you can attest to the fact that I am probably the most indecisive person on the face of planet earth. Like if I go to a restaurant that only has two things on the menu I will probably still have to tell the waiter that I need a couple more minutes to decide. So, after four months of not writing anything, I looked at my running list of blog ideas (that’s mighty long, I might add) and I couldn’t decide what to write. Then I thought about what’s been going on in my life these past four months, and the unexpected rollercoaster it’s been. Therefore, I’m calling out uncertainty. To my dear readers–especially if you’re a late high school/early college student–I want you to know something.
As a sophomore in college–approaching the halfway mark of my collegiate career and the near end of gen eds (BLESS)–I often feel the pressure to have my ish together. My senior year of high school, I was dead set on going to Florida State University to study dietetics, graduate in 4 years, hopefully get a combined dietetic internship+master’s degree from FSU, and become a registered dietitian. I was so pumped because I thought I had it figured out. I thought I had a passion for health and nutrition. I really thought so.
Turns out, my passion was more of an unhealthy obsession. I battled with a binge eating disorder (I was never diagnosed with a legit eating disorder, but I certainly had disordered eating) and I put an unhealthy amount of time and research into food. It was a comfort, but a stressor. When I would stress, I’d turn to food. See how it’s a vicious cycle? It got to a point where the only healthy things in my mind were hyper-organic, chicken and green vegetables. Everything else would destroy my gut. That’s what I thought.
It took failing chemistry and having to drop the class for me to finally wake up and realize that I wasn’t meant to study dietetics. Well nuts, plan foiled. So in a frenzy, I switched my major to Editing, Writing, and Media, knowing I liked to write. Then came the often dreaded question: “So what do you plan to do with that?” Good question. Your guess is as good as mine.
I finished my freshman year totally clueless as to what to do. I thought about taking a gap year or transferring schools. I just didn’t know what the heck my purpose was.
A few weeks later, I began a summer internship in student ministry. How did I end up there? Honestly I give Jesus the credit 100%. In high school, I always thought to work in student ministry, you had to be super outgoing and funny and have energy like nobody’s business. So basically everything that I am not, I thought. Good, one less career option on my radar, one less thing to choose from. Evidently, God had other plans (a WAY better one, I might add). It’s actually pretty funny to me to look back on how it all fell into place. I’m just so glad that it happened, let me tell you.
Things I learned from an internship I never thought I would ever do:
- The body of Christ (the Church) HAS to be diverse or it cannot function properly. 1 Corinthians 12:12-31 is titled, “One Body, Many Parts.” The Church is likened to a body, and people to the parts. A body is not made up solely of eyes. If it were, could it move. No. Could it think? No. Therefore, it would be dysfunctional. But the body is not made up of one part, but of many! (vs. 14). “If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body” (vs. 15). I found great encouragement and confidence in that. Verse 18 says, “But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.” In a world that gives you a list of requirements and standards, it can be so hard to believe that YOU WERE MASTERFULLY CREATED EXACTLY THE WAY YOU ARE. Your personality, likes and dislikes, even your life experiences and struggles were hand-picked for you and you alone.
- Sin serves a purpose. It was no accident! I’m in the process of reading Extravagant Grace by Barbara Duguid. (It’s $8.14 on Amazon, I’ve linked it for ya!) The female interns and an amazing leader would meet and unpack this book together on Thursday nights, and it honestly blows my mind. In what I’ve read so far, she talks about how God uses sin for His glory, and how God ORDAINED the specific sin that each person struggles with. Satan literally can’t freaking win. Dang, what a good God we serve.
- People need people. We were never meant to do life alone. Like point one, we need people who think differently, who see things from a different perspective. We all were created with totally unique thought processes; therefore, we all need each other. The most life-changing things I’ve learned about myself–good and bad–were pointed out to me by OTHER PEOPLE. You can’t grow without people speaking into your life, affirming your strengths and calling you out and walking with you through your weaknesses.
- Do the things you thought you never could. Turns out, I love student ministry. Absolutely love it. This transition coming back to college has been pretty tough because I loved my summer more than I ever thought I would. Doing life with middle and high school students and growing in grace together is such a treasure. The cool part is, now I feel like I have a direction to go in. I feel like my eyes have been opened to a whole new opportunity. Stay tuned…
- Love is the answer. 1 John 4:8 tells us that God is love. 1 Corinthians 12:31 deems love “the most excellent way.” Chapter 13 tells of all the great things we can accomplish in this life, all the things we can surrender, all the faith we possess are meaningless without love at the heart of the matter. Love is patient, kind, is not envious, does not boast, is not proud or rude or self-seeking, is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices in truth. Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres, and love never fails (1 Cor. 13:4-8). Check this out; go ahead and substitute ‘God’ everywhere that ‘Love’ is in this verse. God is love! Loving others is a reflection and an outpouring of the love God has for us. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him” (John 3:16-17). Jesus, in His love for us, took our condemnation upon Himself so that we could be free. We have been freed from the condemnation that God had every right to give us, but He loved us too much to leave it at that. How great the Father’s love for us, am I right??
Shoot, man, this list could go on. But here’s what I want you to hear.
You are free to say, “I don’t know.” There is no shame in saying, “I am lost, I am confused, I am upset, I am in pain.” IT’S OK TO NOT BE OK.
The standard is not perfection or having it all together. We’re all human and we make mistakes and take 10 years to make decisions and say stupid things and hurt people and struggle with depression and anxiety and fall flat on our faces sometimes.
But by the gospel, the standard is grace. God is at work in whatever season of life you’re in right now. You don’t have to have it all figured out, because He’s had every second planned since the beginning of time.
And it’s a beautiful masterpiece to watch unfold.