Moving out, moving up, and moving on. In a world full of change.

They tell you that college is all about finding yourself. Moving on, and moving up! New beginnings and a time to really learn about you!

What they don’t often think to mention is how dreadfully difficult it is to go from the only world you have ever know.

We live the first eighteen years of our lives in a cycle. For as long as I can remember I have been a kid, a student, a daughter, with little choices to be made of my own will. Going to school was not an option, rebelling from my mothers guidance resulting in groundings or punishment of some kind. If I didn’t rules and restrictions where in place to protect me and guide me. Failure to do the chores asked resulted In the rathe of my mom. Not coming home on time meant I could find myself at home for the next several weekends. And my mother? Well lets just say I had my fair share of teenage drama with her!

I was living in the world, but I wasn’t living in the real world.

Ha, wow was I in for a treat when she pulled away from my college dorm.

All of the sudden there wasn’t anyone pulling my blanket off of me to get to class in the morning, dirt started to pile up and dirty dishes would remain dirty until I physically cleaned them myself (crazy that stuff doesn’t happen on its own)! Nobody is yelling at me to get home when I decide hanging out at a friends house until eleven o’clock, and again, nobody is there to wake me up the next morning when I am late for a nine a.m!

Let’s just say moving out in hard.

Going off to school also comes with its own interpersonal challenges. I personally, grew up in the church my whole life and I am all the better for it. I was surrounded by God loving influential leaders and I came home to a God loving family. But somehow in the midst of it all, I failed to form my own views on religion. I, as most kids do, adapted to the views of my mother and other parental roles in my life. I knew the crowd of people I didn’t want to be around, and the crowd I did, but I was rarely put to the test of being around the wrong crowd, as I had rules and restrictions I was too afraid to break. And to be with the wrong crowd would be breaking those rules.

Now, two semesters into college and my failure to find my identity in Christ is catching up to me. Sure, I know I am a child of God. And I know we are called to love others and serve God, following his Word and devoting our lives to Him. But what do feel called to. What gifts has God given me? And how can I best use them to serve Him? How do I go about taking the time to learn more about Him? What do you do when you feel like you are praying wrong, or reading the Bible wrong? How do I even go about making disciples for Christ? And, oh man! How do I handle when I am put to the test? To fight off the temptation to go to the parties and skip the classes.

Well friends, here is what I have learned.

You learn quickly that the dished won’t wash themselves and the floor doesn’t magically sweep itself. You set five or ten alarms to ensure you are up for the classes. And if you stay up to late studying for a test you procrastinated? You drink A LOT of coffee a power through.

You’ll probably go to a party or two, and you will (hopefully) learn quickly that the aftermath of them is not worth the temporary “joy”. You will skip a couple classes and then you will do poorly on a test or two And so you’ll go to more classes.

You will realize that its a normal thing for your desk to look like a visual representation of “I have class across campus in ten minutes (at least that normal for mine! I still haven’t gotten fully used to the whole wake up thing!)

 

My desk two weeks into college vs my desk today! The new college excitement has worn off!

As you start to realize you are growing up you will, in hand, start moving up.

And as for those tricky questions of faith?

You, hopefully, find a group of people that can answer your questions for you. People that can guide you to wise and biblical advice. You will seek back to the guidance of those whom truly know  your soul. And you will desire to grow with the ones you are learning to share your soul with. You pray a lot, and you make a lot of mistakes and you forgive yourself, and those around you. And may I share my very best peace of biblical advice

1 John 2:17 “The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”

And the best part about college? You get to realize that in only a few short years? You will be a full time working, tax paying, grocery buying, really truly adulting, member of society?

And my words of wisdom on that? Ha! Let me know if you have any!

 

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Let’s Discuss 13 Reasons Why. Actually, let’s Discuss Suicide.

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I know, edgy topic. Another one that people don’t really talk about much. Until this past few weeks when Netflix aired the series “13 Reasons Why”

If you haven’t watched it yet, I highly suggest that you start. It is intense. It is provocative in wording and scenery, but it is real. Okay, maybe the whole basis of somebody taking their life and leaving tapes explaining why is a bit far fetched but it sure does get you thinking.

I don’t want to talk about the show. I don’t want to spoil anything. But I want to talk about the topic of suicide. What leads a person to make that choice, because I can tell you for fact that you do not just wake up one morning and decide you are done living. It is a slow and painful process.

It is something that is so relative in today’s society and yet something that is so rarely discussed.

My question is why?

This past September a classmate of mine took his own life, and it threw everybody off track because nobody knew that he was suffering, most likely because nobody was talking about it.

You see the day after he passed away all the teachers were talking about how they are always there for us, we were being encouraged to go talk to counselors and trusted adults about how we were doing. This all took place after the tragedy had already occurred. It took somebody taking their own life for the community to address it. Why was this not brought up before? Why, on the first day of school, don’t we have an all school assembly informing us of the different places we can go to get help?

I want to make a change, more than I can begin to express. I want to change the way things are done. I want to be the person that doesn’t stick to the status quo and breaks the barriers. I want to take that leap of faith and speak up about the hard things, mental illness, suicide, rape.

Right now, I am praying. It might not seem like much to you, but to me praying is the most important step. I am praying that God shows me the right ways to speak out about this topic that I feel so extremely passionate about.

I want to take the road less traveled by.

What is the real reason we don’t talk about mental health in the church community?

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Why is it that mental health in the church is something that is kept so quiet?

Are people afraid to speak up about it? 

Afraid to trigger or offend somebody?

Or do people simply not know what to say on the topic due to lack of information?

A few days ago while having a conversation with my youth pastor he told me that mental illness isn’t something that they are taught about in “pastor school”. I was shocked, but it made sense. In my few seventeen years I have never heard a sermon on mental health, and I have been to my fair share of churches.

Nothing against pastors, at all. In fact, my pastor is the reason I have freedom in Christ today.

I don’t know why the conversation of mental illness is swept under the rug in the church community, but I do know that as somebody who battles anxiety and depression, it is something that people with mental illness want to be discuss.

Are pastors and leaders afraid to speak up on this topic? Or do they simply not know how to go about the sermon due to lack of information?

I am a wild advocated for mental health. I believe that people need to be informed about the realities of mental health, but beyond that I believe that people need to know the reality of being a person the battles mental illness all the while clinging onto God every minute of every day.

My mental illness isn’t a sin, I am not unholy because of it. My mental illness is a chemical imbalance, that therefore causes me to over think little things, obsess over things I have no control over, and worry about the unimaginable.

Here is the thing, mental illness isn’t something that is cured. It isn’t a paper cut that heals with a band-aid and some neosporin. It is incurable, but it can be managed. You see the day my depression stopped controlling me was one, about a month after I was prescribed the correct amount of medication for the severity of my illness. And two, the day that I stopped letting the devil use my mental illness as an excuse for him to torture me.

Mental illness is really scary, for somebody that doesn’t have a relationship with Christ. I know because I have been there. I have woken up morning after morning with a pounding headache from the tears I had cried the night before. I have had more than one anxiety attack in the middle of a big exam. I know that it is not “fun” or “cute” to have depression and anxiety, contrary to what a large majority of society thinks. I also now know that none of my battles were or are from my mental illness, but from satan himself. He saw my illness and he knew that he could use it as a way to grab a hold of me. Now, It took me two books and months and months of guidance to realize that. But eventually I realized it and I got all the right balances of everything I needed. Now I look forward to tests, because they are a day when I don’t have to sit and listen to a 30 minute lecture. I love going to bed because I am able to reflect on the day and relax my body, spend some time with God.

I understand why it is a touchy subject. Even just writing this post I have fear of offending people who struggle with mental illness and don’t know Christ because I know what it is like to be on the other side. I sat and listened to my religious role models tell me that my mental illness was satan controlling me, and I thought it was crap. In fact it angered me that somebody that didn’t know what it was like to live my life was telling me that cause of my struggles. But I also know what it is like to have freedom in Christ. Not to say I don’t still have depression and anxiety, I do, and it will always be a constant fight.

But I also will ALWAYS have an astonishing God that loves me more than I could ever even begin to imagine.

And guess what? So do you.