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!