Honesty. I was raised on the principle. It’s said to be the best policy. So today I’m going to be completely honest:
This summer was difficult.
So often on social media we paint a picture that is not the reality. This is my attempt at setting it right.
I went into college last year with a determination to have an internship as soon as possible. I put pressure on myself to have my applications done a couple of months before I could actually submit them, and I was incredibly blessed to receive multiple offers. I have no doubt that the Lord sent me to Chicago, opened everything up, and saw me through the 8 weeks I was there, and ultimately got me home safely. I decided to go to the 3rd largest city in America in part for the same reason I applied to Tisch…to see if I was good enough to do it…make it on my own, live by myself, eat by myself, manage money, “adult.” What I discovered was I wasn’t good enough, or “grown” enough, or ready enough. I couldn’t do it on my own. I was sucked back into living a life filled with anxiety and stress brought on by all of the change, a lifestyle I thought I had overcome my Junior year of high school. I couldn’t eat. I was panicky. I missed my family. I missed my friends. Even though I had a great internship, new friends, and an awesome community at church, I didn’t feel like me. The only thing I had to lean on was my faith. On my hardest days of feeling totally alone, I found Joshua 1:9 to be true, He was with me: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
My last Saturday night in Chicago I attended the Hillsong concert at the United Center. Toward the middle of the 4 ½ hour long concert, they stopped it and said they felt like someone in the audience was struggling with anxiety and fear. They said it was keeping that person from living the life God had planned for them, and that the Lord didn’t envision a life full of fear for them. My Grandaddy would have called this a word of knowledge, and as I sat listening I had no doubt that it was for me. I sat in that arena and just cried. I surrendered all of my dreams, all of my plans, my health, my future, my fear. The next day at church, they said almost verbatim the same thing that was shared at the concert. Again, I just sat and cried because I felt like it was verification from the Lord.
I learned a lot this summer, but perhaps the most important thing was that even in the midst of the most tumultuous storm, God is steadfast and His love is forever. Though I grew immensely emotionally and spiritually, I also learned that “finding myself” this summer was overrated, after all my identity is in who my Father is. My hope and faith can only be in Him. On my darkest night, I sat in my uncomfortable bed when I couldn’t make myself swallow food because of the anxiety, listening to the Crabb family and other gospel groups and just called on the name of Jesus:
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus / Sweetest name I know
And He was there. He will always be there no matter the depth of the water you find yourself in.
I’m learning that.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”- Philippians 4:6