Graduating

Today one of my classmates and I were talking about how we both just want to graduate already. 

“I just want to have my weekends and nights free again, not consumed by assignments,” he said. 

I half-heartedly agreed. I didn’t want to admit that I just want to graduate because school makes me stressed, sitting in a classroom makes me anxious and the only thing that stops it is picking the skin off my fingers, that sometimes I check my book bag for my calculator 20 times before I check the house and I just want to leave that worry behind. I didn’t want to talk about how scared I was the building would burn down one day and kill us all, and how I don’t even remember thinking that but now I can’t stop. I didn’t want to go into how hard going to school has turned for me and how I just want to be done with it. 

Instead, I went with, “Yeah. A free weekend sounds nice.”

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The People That Love Me Well

I’ve been truly blessed by the people I get to call my friends. My friends not only love me, they love me well. 

My friends can tell when I’m anxious, they recognize the ticks, they can see my mind spinning and spinning. They give me freedom to be anxious around them, and they don’t get hurt when my mind is so consumed by itself that I forget how to be me. 

My friends know when I’m struggling, and they’re always beside me, cheering me on and making me laugh through it. 

My friends invite me to things, celebrate with me, and allow me to celebrate with them and to just celebrate them. 

My friends know just what text to send when, and my friends forgive me when I keep forgetting to text them back. 

Being with my friends is not just being with people that I can laugh and commiserate with. Being with my friends is being loved and accepted. My friends show me and extend me grace every, and they are true gifts from God. 

Even in the brief moments we spend together, it is clear to me my friends love me. They show it in big ways and in subtle ways. They show me when they’re next to me and they show me when they’re hours away. 

I only hope I can learn to love my friends just as well. 

The Girl With Two Jobs

I have two jobs.

I’m also a full-time engineering student (I average 17 hours a semester).

I am this. I am that.

God really put it on my heart the other day in the cereal aisle that these don’t define me.

The cereal aisle is a weird place for a revelation, I know. But it took me 20 minutes to pick a cereal this week. That’s crazy, I know. Especially for the full-time student with two jobs who is on top of her life. Or supposedly. That’s what I hear when I say that I’m doing all of this, and doing well at it.

The reality is, my life is not all together. I’m still broken. I’m still struggling to get it all done. Every day I collapse into my bed, exhausted, and maybe even a little mad at myself for keeping myself so dang busy. Sometimes I go to the grocery store, and I just can’t figure out what kind of cereal I want this week. Or do I really want cereal? Who knows.

I’m not really on top of it, I’m just scoot-scooting by. And that is 100% perfectly okay.

Jesus tells me I don’t have to have it all together, or be on top of it. Jesus tells me, “I knew you couldn’t do everything perfectly, so I died for you. I did the hard part. Now bring your broken and let Me make it beautiful.”

That’s what I strive to do every day. Bring my broken to Jesus, and let Him paint a picture that is so much bigger and better than anything I could do.

I’m not the girl that has two jobs. I’m not the 17 credit hours.

This whole thing isn’t about me.

I’m a servant.

Doing everything I can for the God that picked me up and saved me.

Doing everything to point to the grace He so freely gives, the open arms He extends to all of us.

I hope I do Him well.

Doing My Best

We have a new youth pastor at church. Nobody really told me. Or introduced us. I volunteer with the student ministry, which means working closely with the youth pastor. So this is mildly problematic.

The other lady I volunteer with asked me to help make 12 cards pretty last minute (by this I mean this Tuesday) in the middle of finals week for some goody bags they planned to give out. That nobody told me we were giving out. But I agreed, because I love the girls and I love painting and it was very good stress relief.

Then the lady asked me to have them done by Thursday instead of Sunday morning. And I said no. I had two finals yesterday. I of course explained this. She asked if I could have them done by today. I said no. I have a 10 question homework assignment and a final tomorrow morning to study for. I’m not going to see Christmas lights with my family tonight because I have so much going on. And, a little unrelated, earlier this semester I finally realized it’s okay to say no to people. That I have to quit bending over every which way to make everyone else happy. I’m not that flexible, probably because I don’t work out.

Anyways. She texted me back a little miffed. And maybe I’m taking it too personally. Because I do that sometimes. But she said to just quit worrying about it, she’d just get the new youth pastor’s wife to help her. Don’t worry about it. She’ll take care of it. And maybe I’m imagining her tone a little off, but she seemed upset with me. As if I, as always, had let her down. As if she was picking up slack not just on my end, but for eighty people.

I had already painted the cards, I just had to letter around five more of them. And I wanted to scream, and I wanted to cry. Don’t you see me, trying my hardest? Don’t you see me, doing my best? I don’t get to go to work and read or watch videos all day. I don’t get to take breaks just to make cards sometimes because my grades, my finals, are important to me. I don’t get to change my schedule at command–between work and school, my schedule is full and dominated by other people. My classes and my job and my homework all require my full attention.

I didn’t say any of that. But her words, her tone, the way the sentences came together, it all still stings a little. It makes me sad. Because here I am, trying my hardest. And my hardest was not good enough for her. And I’m actively dedicating the free time I have to the student ministry. But the student ministry does not even bother to tell me of a pastor change. It all stings a little.

And I wish I could honestly say that I turned to God and prayed and realized that I’m not here to please all of these people. That I’m just here to do His work. I didn’t. I mean, I know all that. But I didn’t remember it in the moment. I just cried a little and kept doing my homework. Looked at the cards I had made. I still have them. (If anyone wants a fun Christmas card from a stranger let me know, I have stamps, envelopes, and a surplus of them.)

And ya know, I don’t know why any of this is happening. I don’t know why I constantly feel left out or let down or like a lost puppy that these people just have to deal with. I don’t. But I do know this. Every time something like this happens, I’m growing in my faith. I can feel God using it to push me higher. Because, okay, maybe I didn’t immediately pray this time. Maybe I just cried. And maybe it still stings a little. But I’m not letting this series of events, these things, define me. I’m not pushing myself to be better for these people. I’m just meditating. And knowing that it’s okay, because God knows I’m doing my best. And if He knows that, it doesn’t matter if anyone else does.

Ruining Christmas

First, I apologize. I’m very stressed because tests and papers and so much to do. This will not be a good post to read, there will be many grammar mistakes, but that’s my life. I feel dead inside.

I think, that at one point, everyone will feel like they’ve ruined Christmas. And this Christmas, for (probably only the first time) it was me that ruined Christmas.

Not like the whole thing. Go back to Cyber Monday-ing, shopping, and listening to Christmas music. And I promise, this isn’t a sad story.

My mom was planning on getting me an X-Box for Christmas. She’s a cool mom. The problem is, I don’t play video games. I did in Louisiana, but mostly because some of my friends did. They wanted to play video games. I don’t dislike playing them. That’s what we did, so that’s what I told my parents. My parents thought I loved it. They were gonna get me an X-Box.

But it’s not that I loved the games. I sucked at them. I’m terrible at all video games. So bad there were rules that nobody could kill me. I just enjoyed the time I spent with my friends. We laughed. We joked. We played scary video games at 3 in the morning. It was the camaraderie that pulled me in, and I think my parents mistook my excitement for friendship with excitement for games.

Obviously if I know I was getting one, my mom has changed her mind. But she sounded sad. Disappointed. It was clear she had put a lot of effort into this. And I felt like I had ruined Christmas. And sure, even if she says I didn’t, and I know I didn’t really, I know when I open my present on Christmas there will still be a twinge of sadness on her part, and guilt on mine.

I’m writing this because I’ve learned a lot this semester. About who I am and what being truly lonely is like. I’ve always had friends. But something about moving back home, to a small school, has made it hard for me to make friends. Maybe it’s because I don’t stay on campus, maybe because I’m not involved. Whatever it is, I’m alone, truly alone, for the first time in my life. And it’s weird, and I’m weird. I’m a mix of all of my friends and more. I’m a mix of their words, their habits, their interests, and then some extra that is all me. It’s fun. It’s cool. And being lonely sucks, but it’s been kind of good.

And that extra, that extra little bit that is just me, well. That bit isn’t ruining Christmas. That bit is just making an appearance for probably the first time in a long time. And that little extra is happy.

“When Does a Hill Become a Mountain?”

Ahh yes. Titling a blog post a Nick Miller quote.

But this question. I’ve been thinking about it. Mostly because one of my best friends sent me a big list of Nick Miller quotes this morning. Anyways.

We tell people not to make mountains out of molehills, but when does the hill actually become a mountain? When do we admit that it might be hard? I know the expression just means to not make a big deal out of something that is actually nothing. I’m not questioning that. Just, when do we let ourselves feel? When do we accept the gravity of the situation?

I transferred schools, from my dream school to one that I do like, love actually, but was never my dream. And I’m okay with what happened, ya know? I’ve had six months to become okay with it. But I never let myself feel sad. And now, sad is a lot of what I feel. Not regret. Not upset. Just sad. I miss it. A little bit every day, but especially on game days (I was raised on football, it’s one of the most important parts of my life).

So when do I admit that this “hill” was actually a mountain all along?

I think I finally have. And I think accepting what a big deal it was to me is finally what will let me heal. That, and time.

Let yourself feel. Let yourself feel all the feelings. Don’t think they’re extreme. Don’t think it’s excessive. Just feel. Grow and heal and feel.

Family is Family

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As I sit here drinking the last of my coffee, I am incredibly thankful. Today I was blessed to spend time with some of my closest loved ones, even if they drive me up the wall.

Shortly after waking up, I got to drive to the grocery store and Lowe’s with my dad. As a treat for being home, he even swung by Krispy Kreme and we each got a donut for a snack (something I can’t do when I’m on campus without my car).

When I got home, I was finally able to put up our Christmas tree, and the poor thing is terribly ugly. It’s covered in mismatched ornaments, and there are too many UGA ornaments for my taste, but I have an LSU one so I can’t complain.

Tonight, and what I consider the best part of the day, my family and my aunt and uncle all gathered at my grandparents’ house for pizza, hot chocolate, and Christmas movies. It’s a tradition that I’m glad I could come back for.

Sometimes they drive me crazy, but I don’t know what I would do without them.