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!

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Houston, We Had a Problem…

I knew going into the semester that it would be a hard one. I needed both my hands to count how many projects I was committed to working on before I even arrived at school. Between homework and film projects I didn’t anticipate on having much of a social life. I figured that would happen on film sets and running into friends in between classes. At the beginning of the semester, people would ask me how often they would see me once they found out about my crazy semester. I would give them a knowing smile and say, “We’ll have to see.” I knew the likelihood of me actually spending time with friends outside of class like I have the past three years would be slim, but I had hope that it would work out. It was a small hope, I admit, but a hope.

Then October hit.

I knew it was going to be a rough month, but I had no idea. Even though projects were getting stressful and hectic, I thought I had everything under control. What a joke. The past two weekends I was supposed to be filming my Intro to Directing project. But two days before our first day of filming I found out we had to cancel because of logistical reasons. That rocked my week. There I was, mentally prepared to make a huge dent in my project, and the carpet was pulled from right under my feet.  Beautiful. A week later, I had a meltdown in my car on a Sunday night because I was dreading every piece of homework I had to do in the upcoming week. I realized if things continued the way they were, I wouldn’t be able to handle it like a sane person should.

I was getting upset with God because I couldn’t understand why He was letting so much stress and worry into my life. Couldn’t He see that I couldn’t handle it? Couldn’t He tell it was too much for me? Did He miss that part that where the stress was choking me? Then I realized that life has its ups and downs.

Some months are really great, just really fantastic months, and you can’t help but think things are going to stay that way for a long time. And then your October hits. I don’t know what it is for you, but mine is full of big projects in several classes, midterms, and scheduling (which I’m not great at). By the grace of God, I managed to reduce my workload and things are starting to look up, but I’m not in the clear yet. I still have a long way to go, but I’m okay with that. I’ve given up control over the outcome of my projects and have entrusted it to God. In a way I was forced the to loose control of everything, and that helped me realize I’m not supposed to be in control in the first place. Trying to control every single little detail of my life is exhausting, stressful, and chaotic. Everything goes wrong at the worst possible moment, and I stress and freak out over it as I try to piece everything together.

I know there will be other Octobers in my life, but maybe this one will prepare me for a different October in my life. And maybe I’ll be able to look back and be thankful for learning the lessons the October of 2013 taught me. I think I will, but right now I’m not in control; and that’s okay by me.