t’s been a while since my last post, I know. But studying, job-searching, eating, making friends, and more studying have consumed my time.
Welcome to college?
I’ve got to be honest – college is hard. Yes, it can be a blast – making new friends, exploring my new home, tasting different foods here – all of that is what makes being away from what I know to be comfortable seem like more of a feasible task.
But there are and have been many times, especially recently, when I just haven’t felt okay. I’ve been here, in SLO, for four months now, and I’m still searching for a best friend like the ones I have back home. I’m still searching for something I can look forward to everyday. I’m searching for some comfort, because what was my comfort for a long time is now four hours away.
Needless to say, these past few months have been a challenge. Thankfully, there is a local church here where a lot of Cal Poly students attend Cru, and it’s awesome – probably one of the main highlights of my week (besides Thursday night farmer’s market). But it’s only once a week, and I often find myself feeling alone, watching everyone else sit with five or six of their friends, laughing and having a good time.
I’ve been praying everyday for God to surround me with friends like that – friends that are focused on Him, too. And it seems like He’s taking a while to get back to me, which is weird. Why would He wait so long to give me friends who worship Him, too? I had a lot of trouble understanding God’s reasoning with this one.
Here’s where it gets good.
Right now, I’m closer to God than I think I ever have been. Everyday I read one Psalm and write in two journals – one for praying and one for expressing gratitude. Seriously people. If you don’t journal already, start now. Journal everyday. Once, twice, three times – even if it’s something tiny or something crappy or something happy (or something that rhymes). Scribbling down your thoughts and feelings is such a powerful way to talk to God.
That’s what has changed my life so far. I realize now how much I really do talk to God. To me, a prayer used to be “Dear God, ... Amen.” But now, I understand that a prayer is simply communication. It can be anything from “God, why?” when you see you got a C on your first math quiz (sorry, Dad, I tried) or “This is absolutely amazing, God” when you’re standing staring at something gorgeous God created, like this view behind Cal Poly.
I’m not saying that just talking to God throughout your day will make things easier, or make all your wishes come true. There will still be challenges. There will still be times when you have no idea what God is doing. But I’m telling you that, even in those times when you feel like you have no friends, you will feel God. You can talk to Him, you can question Him, you can even cry to Him. He hears you, and He will answer you if you just wait and worship Him.
I know it’s something we don’t usually want to hear, and probably something many of our parents told us growing up, but when nothing seems to be going your way, or when nothing seems good, look around and find beauty in what you have. For me, I found the beauty in where I am – in SLO. I found beauty in the fact that I have the strangest, most spontaneous roommates that know how to turn a boring Saturday night into a hilarious pee-your-pants-inducing game night. And of course, I found beauty in the warm, soft, cinnamon-y snickerdoodles from my favorite café, Bliss.
Most of all, I found beauty in the fact that God always provides. And I thank Him for that. In fact, sometimes that’s the only thing I write in my gratitude journal. But I continue to acknowledge that He loves me, and won’t let me hurt without giving me something He knows is better in the end.
And as I look back on my journal entries from the past week or two, I realize how much I’ve asked God to challenge me, to test me. Cru has been encouraging us to go and disciple, like what Matthew tells us in The Great Commission, so I’ve been practically begging God to strengthen me so that I can spread the good news that saved my life in hopes of saving someone else’s.
Yet, I find myself asking why I am struggling. Silly me. God hears me, and He’s simply responding. Now, don’t think that if you ask for flowers and chocolate and all happy days God will give that to you. But He will give you what He knows is best for you. Remember, HE has the plan. HE knows what’s best. And HE wants control. So let Him have it.
Trust Him – He knows what He’s doing, people. He’s kinda’ huge.