Putting Down Roots

Putting down roots in my hometown wasn’t the plan. Moving home and living with my parents wasn’t my idea. Not living within walking distance of my closest friends was unthinkable; now almost all three have occurred.

But do I regret where I am today?  No, there have been too many unexpected, wonderful surprises for that. I’ve connected with friends I once believed were lost to me and met new ones to adventure with. But do I wish I was somewhere else? Somewhere other than my hometown? Yes. It’s not a steady, conscious thought; just an echo in my mind as I fall asleep; what life altering adventure could I possibly have in a place I’ve always known?

Living at home is easy, I know it won’t last for forever. Reconnecting with old friends is a blessing. Putting down roots in my hometown, that’s dangerous. That means commitment. That means leaving my comfort zone and admitting my personal life plan was wrong.

Roots can be uprooted. I just want mine to last.

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I Am Clueless

I do not know what I want to do for the rest of my life.

There I said it. I may be the only on who is like this, but I don’t think I can be. Am I really the only person my age who doesn’t have any plans for the immediate or distant future? According to Facebook I am. It appears that I am the only person with out a steady job or internship, therefore I must be the only person who does not know what I want to do for the rest of my life.

That dosen’t make sense because I went to a four year university and earned a Bachlor of Arts in Media Communications where I specifically studied films. So I should want to go into the film industry, but I don’t know where! Or maybe I am already burnt out on my career of choice and want to do something else for a change. But what?!

I don’t know; I don’t know; I don’t know. I have no clue what my next step is or when I am supposed to take it. I don’t know what job I am going to have or where I am going to live for the rest of my life. I don’t know if I am going to have the same career as my major or if it will be something completely different. Sometimes I want to give up because I just don’t know.

But what I do know is that God creates good for those who love Him and lives according to His will for their entire lives. Sometimes that means not knowing what is coming up next, and I don’t like that, but if God is in control of my life then I guess it’s ok for me not to know everything. He has a plan, He loves me, and I trust Him. Somedays are going to be good ones, and others are going to knock me down; lately it’s been the latter. But I’m not giving up, even if I am the only one among my peers without a clue.

Asbury Musing part 2: Studying vs. Learning

I found this post waiting in the draft section; I forgot all about it, oops. Even though I wrote it way back in January, my thoughts on this subject haven’t changed and I wanted to share it with you now, with an added post-script at the end. 🙂

Yesterday [January 13th] was my last first day of school. In a little over 4 months I will be done with my college career and school in general. An unsettling feeling comes when I think about how I’ll be done with two decades of schooling. Going to classes and studying is the only life I’ve known, and it’s all about to change. Yes, I could go to grad school and continue my education, but honestly I don’t want to go. I’m thankful I have been blessed with an education, especially a college one, but I’m ready to be done. Maybe that’s the senioritis talking, but I’m ready to put what I’ve been learning into practice. I’m ready to put the books down and make my rookie mistakes so I can gain experience in my field. Books and homework can only teach me so much before studying becomes stale and the joy of learning has faded.

Once I saw a quote on Pinterest attributed to Natalie Portman that said, “I don’t love studying. I hate studying. Learning is beautiful.” That quote sums up where I am right now: I am ready to be done with studying but not learning. I want to continue learning about anything and everything throughout my lifetime. My soon-to-come diploma does not mean I will know everything I need to in order to survive and succeed in life. I understand I still have a lot to learn, and that doesn’t scare or bother me. I’m actually excited by it! Even though my time at Asbury will be complete, I don’t want to stop learning. I want to learn from the wisdom of others, what life has taught them and how they refused to be defeated by the roadblocks in life! Because I will no longer have classes that will keep me accountable in my studies, I will have to create time to learn things on my own.

Does this mean I’m not going to try to study this semester? Of course not! I do still want to be a good student, and will take advantage of this time to sharpen my skills and talents. I’m going to continue to give my best in my schoolwork because I only have a little time left here at Asbury, and I’m not going to miss it for the world.

Like I predicted above, now that I am done with college it’s harder to for me to find the time to continue learning. So when I went to the Natural History Museum with a friend and I decided to look for things there that could help make me a better filmmaker and storyteller. That simple new mindset completely changed my experience at the museum. I picked through all the information presented and learned things I personally found interesting, such as bioluminescent creatures and the simplified definition of a mammal (hair + milk + special ear bones = mammal) and a number of different types of butterflies (one even landed on my friend’s head in the butterfly pavilion!). It was so much fun! Never again will a museum trip be just another museum trip; it will always be a new learning adventure.

Asbury Musings part 1: Finding Strength in His Spirit

Two weeks ago I walked across a temporary stage in the gymnasium, received my diploma, and got my picture taken with Dr. Gray as a college graduate. I said goodbye to my friends, packed up my car, and left Kentucky. College has been a crazy ride, full of good times and not so great ones, but through it all I learned a lot about myself. Over the past two weeks I have been processing what exactly I learned over the years and how I have changed. So, I thought I’d share my “Asbury Musings” with you.

I first thought about the drastic difference between my underclassmen and upperclassmen years. My freshman and sophomore years were a lot of fun and not that challenging. I hung out with my friends and we made a lot of crazy memories together (Sophomore Musical anyone?). But everything changed when junior year came around. My classes got harder, I was easily overwhelmed, and had to stop hanging out with most of my friends just to get my work done. I knew over half the people on campus but I couldn’t focus on all those friendships and pass my classes (example: I had DFP and Screenwriting that semester). But the worst part was that I started having back problems that forced me to sit on the sidelines more often than I wanted to and watch my friends have fun.

It continued the same way in the following three semesters; less interaction with my friends outside of the classroom while my life gradually spun out of control. Then in the middle of my final semester at Asbury, I realized that I was so run down, physically and emotionally, out that I couldn’t continue, even if I had one month until graduation. I was in the midst of a horrible back spasm and was angrily questioning God why I was in so much pain. I thought He healed me but I hadn’t had any improvement in a long time. I never knew what could trigger a back spasm and so I was scared to do anything that might set it off. Everything I tried to do to heal myself wouldn’t last, a back spasm would always come again and the pain would leave me almost paralyzed for several days. Nothing worked and I began to think there wasn’t any cure for me.

While I was desperately begging God to make the pain stop, He gave me a choice: I could continue living the way I was (stubbornly on my own) and quickly end up with a bad case of depression and anxiety, or I could choose to live in the strength of God’s spirit and trust that He would renew my worn out body, and then give me strength to finish out the semester strong.

Then it hit me: I had been trying to get better by using my strength, not God’s. I did my best to find my own cure, and then push through my semester so it looked like I was fine. I wasn’t “fine,” but I thought I had to be. I realized that if I wanted to live I couldn’t continue in my own strength because I had nothing left and no way of healing my back. But if I chose to live in the strength of His spirit I had a chance to live life to the fullest again.

I chose to trust that He would provide the healing I needed to finish the semester strong; and He did exactly what He promised. He gave me the strength and rest I needed to finish all my projects and finals, and to walk across that stage and jump off the stairs in celebration as an Asbury University graduate with minimal to nonexistent pain. Praise the Lord!

Now that college is over, my back is not 100% (it has yet to happen) and I’m still recovering from college itself. However, I will continue to live in the strength of His spirit everyday because, even though college is over, a new chapter in my life has already begun and I’m not going to miss one bit of it!

The Impact of Friendships

You never know how long a friendship will last. What may seem as a “best friend for life” might turn out to be a “best friend for a year or two.” It’s never intentional, no one ever goes into a friendship with the thought “I want to be friends with this person for the next 5 years, and then I’ll move on,” yet it happens. It’s hard when friends move on before you, or awkward when you move on before them; I know it has been for me. You’re never quite sure how to act or what to say, even though you two were so close once upon a time.

However, I’ve come to the realization that people come into our lives when we need them and then leave when we’ve learned all we can from each other; and that’s okay. Interests change, lives head in unexpected directions, and people loose touch and the close friendship they once had. All of it is packaged into the messy bundle called ‘friendship.’ As long as we remember the impact they had on us, our lives will be changed forever.

I know I would not be who I am today if I did not have the childhood friends that I did. Do I talk to them all the time? No. Do I love them any less for it? No. We grow up, we move away, we find other people who can encourage us with the adventure we are currently facing, but we don’t forget the impact they had on us. I know I will never forget any of my childhood friends because their love and friendship helped make me into the woman I am today. You never know how long a friendship will last, but you never forget its impact when it’s over.

Self-Respect

At the start of the New Year, I was falling asleep when a strange thought pop into my head: I don’t respect myself. This surprised me because I love who I am, but I sensed there was some truth in it. Since I was tired, I wrote it down in my journal so I wouldn’t forget it. The next morning, I sat myself down and contemplated on the truth in that phrase. It still surprised me since I love who I am, where I’m from, what I look like and what I’m interested in. Then I realized there was a difference between loving myself and respecting myself.

I don’t respect myself because I don’t believe I’m smart. I’m also impulsive, incredibly naive about pop culture and life in general, and yet I think of myself more highly than I should. I also have a hard time respecting myself as a woman because I still see myself as a girl, a kid who has yet to understand the gravity of life. I’d rather play than work and because I live in a culture that values a hard work ethic, it’s easy to see why respect is hard for me in that area. But if I have a hard time respecting myself the people around me will sense that and can’t respect me. The irony of all this is I try so hard to show respect to my friends, classmates, professors and family. I want people to know that they are worth something, they are important and are worthy of respect. Yes, it is easier to respect others because I know my faults better than I know theirs. I live with my faults in my face everyday. How can I look past them and see that I am worthy of respect too?

After I realized this, I didn’t know what to do. All I knew what I needed to change my way of thinking. So I wrote down a list of reasons why I should respect myself. It wasn’t easy, and I still have a hard time believing all of them, but it’s a start. I am fearfully and wonderfully made; I am beautiful; I am God’s child; I am smart; I am funny; I am creative. That is my list. But I couldn’t stop there. I needed to find ways to change my way of thinking.

I am a very sarcastic person by nature, though not everyone realizes it at first because I am more on the quite side. The person I use my sarcasm against the most is myself. Whenever I forget something, don’t understand the situation or mess up big time I brush it off by making a sarcastic comment about myself, mostly along the lines of, “Nice one, Anna,” or “Way to go.” If I’m mad at myself, I don’t hesitate to call myself ‘stupid,’ ‘dumb’ or ‘idiot.’ The more I say them, the more I believe them. So, I decided to stop calling myself names no matter how upset I am with myself. I’ve been trying to do this for the past two months, and it’s not easy. Sometimes I forget that I promised myself to stop and then other times I remember right after I called myself a name, which of course makes me more frustrated with myself and often leads to more name calling. But it all comes down to a choice. Will I choose to stop beating myself up every day, or will I continue to do so? As hard as the path will be, I choose to respect who I am-faults and all-because I am worth it.

Claiming Christ’s Authority

It seems like every day I learn more and more that it is one thing to have the head knowledge of a Christian, but it is another thing entirely to live it out day to day. This happened to me again this past December.

I was under a heavy spiritual attack about a month ago. It was nothing like I had ever experienced, and it scared me. I didn’t know what to do, how to pray or protect myself. I would put on the Armor of God, but I did not know how to step into the authority of being a Child of God. I was truly terrified and I didn’t know how to overcome my fear. With help from my parents and my grandma, I gradually began to understand what type of power I have as God’s daughter. I read Psalms 90 almost every day, and as I read it I was able to take the promises God makes and believe and accept them for myself. I began to understand how ready God is to protect me, and I needed to trust that He would protect me despite how I may feel on any given day.

But most importantly, I learned how to step into the authority I have as a Child of God. I’ve learned not to give the Devil an inch when I rebuke him. I learned that Jesus gave me the same authority that He has (Mark 16:17-18), and when I use it I don’t ask, beg or plead; I command in Jesus’ name for freedom and deliverance. I now know that I don’t have to wait on God to give me authority or permission to act in authority. It has already been given to me; I just had to accept it. Now that I have, the way I face the enemy and the world is going to be very different.