Thursday, May 2, 2013

Reflections on a year gone by...

Bags packed, goodbyes to be made, and a big change up ahead. The end brings the same feeling of uncertainty that the beginning brought. Instead of questions of what is ahead, my mind and heart are flooded with questions of what just happened. How did my first year of college come by so quickly? What did I learn during all the new experiences, classes, and challenges? How did I change?

I feel very disoriented. Life has been like a train carrying me on a journey of growth and change and now that this year is over, that train has come to a screeching halt and I'm left wondering "where am I?" Not only do I not recognize where I am but I don't know where to go from here.

I've had some amazing moments here at Crown. God has blessed me with friends who teach me how to love better, laugh harder, and listen more. I've been inspired by passionate professors, servant leaders, and generous donors. Classes have taught me discipline, self-control, and self-motivation. The dorms have taught me patience, the importance of honesty and gentle confrontation, and that I'm not as much of a "people person" that I thought I was. hehe.

Though all of the ups and downs of this year, I have discovered a lot about myself. And I would like to attempt to tell you some of these new insights about myself that I've learned. Some are good and some are not as good. It is my aim to transparent with all of you so you get the good, the bad, and the messiness that is  me. :)

    1. In order to remain sane I need much more alone time than I ever realized. This is extremely hard on a small campus where you can't really escape people. Next year, my goal is to be intentional about this alone time even if that means waking up very early to spend some time with God.

    2. Confrontation is SO hard for me. I fear hurting people and losing relationships and therefore I've avoided confrontation and made a mess of a lot of my friendships this year. Luckily, my friends have stuck it out with me and taught me the importance of being open and honest with each other even when it's painful.

    3. As much as college has empowered me to grow up, I have found a new love of embracing the little kid inside of me whenever I get the chance. This includes everything from using my imagination and making up games, to watching some of my favorite kids movies, to taking naps, and eating PB&J. :)

    4. You really discover a lot about yourself by what the people who live with you teach you. From my roommates, I've learned that I have a tendency to act like a mom, I love it when one of my roommates comes and cuddles with me on my bed, and that I may be a little too open about certain things. They've taught me that you can't assume you know what someone else is thinking or feeling and most importantly that even though I can't control how others treat me, I can control how I respond to them. I've had 5 different roommates over the course of this year and I've learned so much from each and everyone of them.

    5. The need I had in high school to be perfect at everything is slowly crumbling and it's as if a huge weight is being lifted off my shoulders. I am not perfect and that is okay. I'm content with doing my best in a class and getting a B. I'm okay with not always having it together. It's perfectly fine to be imperfect.This is a big step for but it hasn't been an overnight accomplishment. It's been one little step at a time.

    6. There are a lot of aspects of a Christian community that I do not understand and I have found myself extremely frustrated and confused at times here at Crown. My perspective is unlike most students here at Crown and I've learned that I struggle with being open minded to others opinions. I've continually had to take a step back and pray for a wider viewpoint. Before coming to Crown, I never understood why there were so many divisions in the Church of I see the difficulty of Jesus' commandment "Love your brothers and sisters..."

    7. Being in a new place surrounded by people that don't have a history with me has taught me that I'm not bound by my past. This year I've been slowly separating myself from my family, my old life, and the person I always felt pressured to be. This hasn't been easy and it's been a painful process. I've finally become my own person but it's not as fun as I imagined it when I was younger. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to go back in time or be a kid again but sometimes the responsibility of being an adult is a lot to carry.

    8. Someone gave me a list of "Personal Rights" and I want to share a few of them with you. I've been thinking a lot about them and they've been really helpful for me to take better care of myself.
           You have the right to:
              *change your mind
              *be treated with respect
              *be listened to and taken seriously
              *set your own priorities
              *say "I need time to think that over"
Each of these have helped me to see that I don't have to feel guilty or be manipulated into anything. But it's always important to remember that everyone else has these same rights so I can't get angry when they do these things either.

    9. I've learned that it is extremely difficult for me to have the Bible as a textbook. It messes with my head about spending time with God. I'm in the Bible all the time because of homework yet I know that at times this year I have felt spiritually dry and in need of time with God. I did a horrible job of  being consistent with that this year and I now know the self-motivation I need to make that a pattern of my life. But I will not allow the guilt of my mistakes to stop me from getting better at disciplining myself so that I can connect with God through times with him.

The last thing I want to share with all of you is this: I have discovered that change isn't always a bad thing. It's difficult and can be painful at times but it is worth it. Life will always change and circumstances will change and yet God will always remain the same. As I say goodbyes to friends today and move on to the plans God has for me this summer, I know that next year will bring about new lessons and new memories that I will treasure for ever. :) I am so thankful and I am hopeful that things will only continue to get better.

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