what sophomore year has been teaching me

Long time, no talk!! But really, it’s been a minute – I haven’t posted since May when I first got home for summer break, and, boy, has it been a time since then.

I spent my summer as a camp counselor. I’ll be honest, I was VERY!!! unsure about this as I drove up the mountain in May. I was worried and full of self-doubt that after a rough freshman year, I wouldn’t be able to find community at camp and I wouldn’t be a good counselor. God completely blew these expectations out of the water, and this summer was everything I needed and more. I found people that poured into me, and I was able to pour into people in a way that I didn’t know I was capable of. God had His hand in everything I did this summer, and He made sure that He placed people there that would know me & love me so well every single day in ways that can only come from the love of Christ.

This summer was incredible, and I sort of put God in a box when I imagined how sophomore year would go. I was convinced that everything would just fall into place and be this perfect vision of college that I had wished for. Rather than ask God to make this year conform to my own way, I should have been asking Him to have His own way. I thought that maybe He had taught me all that I needed to know (HAHA), so therefore, things should be perfect from here on out.

I thought that I could define my relationship with Jesus by how well or how badly everything else was going. I thought that He would only use the difficult seasons in my life to teach me lessons and show me how much I need Him, and that if my relationship with Him is steady, He would make everything else around me steady. And as easy as that would be to believe, God works in mysterious ways and is doing bigger things than we can ever see if we’re hyper-focused on the physical, tangible things. God gives us what we would ask for if we knew the things He knew. Things are bigger than I ever thought they would be.

Joy is gladness based not on circumstance. I’ve found recently that clinging to Jesus and His stability and His promises produces so much more joy than if we define our gladness on fleeting worldly circumstances. God is big, and He is so much bigger than our worldly desires. Because we are His sons and daughters, we will never be satisfied by this world. True joy comes from the Lord.

So if I’m expecting joy to come from how well my sophomore year is going, I won’t find it. Yes, if I had 20 best friends and if I was always going on spontaneous adventures at 1 AM and if I had a boyfriend and if the dawgs won the national championship and if I had a 4.0 GPA and if I was the President of every club on campus and if I became Joanna Gaines, I would be happy, but something would be missing (hint: it’s Jesus). And even if none of that happened, I could still be joyful because I have Jesus.

God has been showing me that things are a lot bigger than I believed they were a year ago or even 3 months ago. He is bigger than if you got invited to go to the game with certain people or not. He is bigger than the Greek letters that you wear on your frocket t-shirt. He is bigger than whether or not you have someone to sit with at church. He is bigger than, dare I say it, UGA losing to South Carolina. He is bigger than any definition we can wrongly give ourselves based on the standards of this world.

This isn’t to say that He doesn’t care about this or for you as you struggle with these things because He sees you, and He cares so deeply for you. He sees every tear that rolls down your cheeks and knows when you feel uninvited, unwanted, and insignificant.

John 8:32 says, “Know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” He wants to set us free from the anxiety and stress that comes with trying to conform to who the world says we should be. The truth is this: We are defined by Him. He is all we ever have needed, need now, and ever will need. Our joy comes from Him, and from no other circumstance. Isn’t it so great that we have a God who is so constant in His love and loves us so much that His love is all we will ever need! We don’t need anything from this world because our end goal isn’t to be in this world, it is to be in heaven.

 

So, sophomore year is teaching me to be joyful. And to find joy no matter my circumstance because God is doing kingdom work that is so much bigger than what I may be able to see right now. God is using the circumstances in my life that may not be how I originally wanted them to be for good things to glorify Him. I’m learning what it means to surrender and How to surrender to His will. I’m learning to stop trying so hard to temporarily fix the pieces of my puzzle when God is fixing my puzzle into a masterpiece. I’m learning that I don’t have to be perfect to glorify God and that God still loves me even when I’m impatient with friends or I don’t make time for Bible study or I don’t give good advice. I’m learning lots of good things, and I can’t wait to learn more and find the joy in the process.

Love, ~E.

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