settling like the little house you are

Thank goodness it is Friday. The weeks fly by but sometimes the days are long. But I just got done cleaning the dorm and have my laundry going so it is a productive day and good end to the week. Here in college, it is easy to have a really bad day then a really good day. And I feel that is true with anyone during any walk of life. We all are on this crazy emotional roller coaster called life. So how do you respond when someone asks “How are you doing?” or “How is college going?”? Most of us say “good” but truthfully answer the question in our heads. Or if you are a grammar person, you say “well”. But what would you say if you answered honestly?

To be completely transparent, I have had a rough go of college. When people ask how it is going, I feel like I am lying if I say “good”. It is not easy in the education aspect. Or the social aspect. Some days I feel so loved, like I am starting to thrive. Then, I have days were loneliness and anxiety are very real and I call my mom like five times (sorry mom). I know this is normal and all people go through season of this. My new goal is to settle. When you see the word settle, I am sure you think of many different things. Settle as in to settle with whatever is given while it may not be the best option. Or maybe you think about settlers that travel and build in new places. But I think of a house. An old house that creaks and shifts where it is, getting used to the land it is on. That is what I am trying to do. Settle like a house. I was placed somewhere, on land, probably foreign to me. God planned out the blue prints and knew exactly where He wanted me and what the finished product would look like. So here I am in Athens, a new little house, shifting and getting used to the land I was built on. Some days are sunny warm days and other days it is stormy and I have to endure it. We are all little houses, placed somewhere, settling and waiting out storms.

It is so easy to dwell on the hard days or believe they will last forever. But then one morning, you wake up and everything is so much brighter. More people smile at you, you make new friends and get a good coffee. Having to weather those storms really makes you appreciate the small things that bring you little moments of joy. If you can find those joys, then you tend to spread that happiness around. Spread it around to everyone you see! Spread it through all the neighborhoods of people with their settling houses. We are all settling, with our creaky floorboards or doors that stick. No one is perfect and some houses are fighting storms and leaks. But it is not hard spread joy around and help with those leaks and creaks. So learn to be okay with settling. We all do it. It may look different, but it isn’t easy for everyone, no matter how pretty their house is (literally & metaphorically).

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out of breath but not because of the hills

I hesitate to write this because it could potentially come across as dramatic or emotional but at the same time, I need to get these words off of my chest and I think someone out there will agree with what I have to say.

I want to address the elephant in the room here; college is hard. Like, no one told me what it would be like. People say “ahhhh college!!! best!!! four!!! years!!! of!!! my!!! life!!!” so here I am, sitting here feeling very lonely and confused about everything wondering what the heck they were talking about. I am really not getting that warm fuzzy feeling about walking around in the humidity smiling at strangers hoping they will turn into my future bridesmaids. Today while I was eating lunch, I ran into a girl I met at orientation. We talked a little and she was asking how my classes were going and how I was doing. Then she asked “so have you made lots of new friends or do you still have the same ones you came into this with?”. I just sat there and said “……” with my mouth open. Is it just me or is it only the second month of school and I am still trying to meet people? SO naturally after that I started to freak out and wonder what the heck is wrong with me. Someone please tell me I am not alone.

When I came into this, I was worried about being homesick for a couple weeks but no one describes what freshman year is like. For me personally, it feels like I am holding my breath. I have moments when I can breathe, like when I go home. But other than that, I am running around campus chasing buses just holding my breath. That is a really hard thing to do! I am still looking for those people, places and moments that allow me to relax and breathe. I know eventually I will find all of that but it is not easy right now.

At this point in my blogs, I usually turn it around and have a way to tie up all of my anecdotes into a central message. And that is where this post is different. I have no resolution to these stories. I am struggling right along everyone else. Maybe I felt the need to say this because it is easy to look at social media and think someone has everything put together. I’ve had people tell me “wow you look like you are living your best life”. And obviously I am not at the moment. So this is a completely vulnerable look into my life. Don’t get me wrong, I have had many fun, happy moments, but sometimes it really hits you. I think the main reason I am posting this is for support. To gain and give support. Some of you are (hopefully) feeling the same way and after reading this, you should text me and we can all struggle together. If you aren’t in college yet, well I am glad I can be here to tell you it is not all rainbows and unicorns. I am sure this time next year, I will be in a very different place but currently, this is where I am. My devotional this morning was talking about where God has you presently. Most of us live for the future but God wants us to stay present. That may be a challenge right now but these suffering will only lead to joy. So while I focus on the present, I have to remember to do something we all do without thinking. Breathing. No more holding my breath. I have to live in the moment and breath through it. Let’s all take a big ole gulp of air together.

knock that fear straight out of you

“Hi I am Emma. I am from Gainesville Georgia and I am a Fashion Merchandising and Journalism double major”. These are words I have said about a thousand times in the past month. I have met so many people and it wasn’t until recently that I realized I loved meeting new people and was not afraid to talk to them. I used to be terrified to order a coffee and would stumble through “can I have a latte with almond milk please”. And if I had to make a phone call, oh Lord help me! Don’t ask me why it freaked me out so much because I have no clue. But college has changed me man.

I now get on the elevator and just say something random to people to fill silence. I can’t stand to be alone. Usually, I would tell you I am an introvert. I like having alone time to think and ponder everything in life and people can be too much for me sometimes. Then the other night, I was talking to my friends and I mentioned being an introvert and my roomies said “wait, Emma you are an introvert?”. So I kept thinking about and how if I get the chance to sit alone, I text a friend to come down to hang out or I go sit in a coffee shop with other humans. I haven’t had alone time in weeks and I wouldn’t have it any other way. So maybe I am an extrovert now? Who knows. Can you change that fast? I have made plans for most days I am home to see my friends and honestly don’t know what to do when I don’t have plans. The amount of times I have reached for my phone to text one of friends that is super far away to come see me is hilarious. I just really love talking and want to be around people all the time.

I told my mom that college has taken all fear out of me. Being thrown into the crazy mess of it all and being independent really makes you pull up your pants, push your glasses farther up your nose and keep going. And nothing makes that easier than being around people. Even if they are just there to make you laugh, the fear is gone. So maybe I am an extrovert that will say weird things to you in the elevator just so it isn’t quiet but I would take that any day over stumbling through a coffee order. Go do something crazy. Crazy may just knock the fear our of you and make you never shut up. Either way, I don’t mind it one bit.

something to chat about over chips and guac

As I sit here on my back porch watching the rain, I think about the past month of my life. This is the first time I have been home in about four weeks and the first time I have had a day with no obligations. It is a good feeling but it is definitely weird not having anything to do. I have a couple days here at home to rest before I head back to Athens. While I look back on the many things I have learned these past couple weeks, I have noticed I have no patience. I know that sounds harsh but I have come to terms with it.

Growing up, I had three younger brothers so you can imagine patience was a virtue I needed but didn’t necessarily use often. After I moved out, I found I still needed the patience I didn’t have but for different things. I want to know what to major in, what career would be best for me, why I am not in a relationship, all of these questions about my future that I want answers to ASAP. All of this was buried in the back of my mind and the Lord was trying to tell me through different things that I needed to work on patience. I heard a blogger talk about how the Lord showed her that she has thorns around the patient part of her heart and as I listened to her talk about it, I realized I was the same way. I keep hearing about patience and heard quotes like “everything happens for a reason” and “Your will be done”. Both of those quotes are things I have told myself growing up to keep my trust and faith in God.

Finally, a couple days ago, I was trying to pack to go home, finish a project for my biology class and order chipotle online (remember free guac day when they broke the internet?). I was trying to do too many things at once and wanted it all to go my way. I ended up sitting in my dorm crying over the broken chipotle app (yes, I was being far too dramatic). I happened to look at an instagram caption that talked about patience so after weeks of hearing “patience” whispered in my head, I read the caption and something clicked. The song “Take Courage” by Bethel was quoted so I went and listened to it. “Slow down, take time, breathe in, He said, He’d reveal what’s to come…He’s in the waiting“. It got me good y’all. Go listen to the lyrics if you need to work on patience too. It isn’t the patience you practice when a kid is doing the “I’m not touching you, I’m not touching you” thing; it is the “I have no idea what is going to happen in my life but I want to know right now” kind of patience. It takes some extra faith and a lot of fighting with yourself. I have definitely not perfected this and am not even close to having the patience I need. But I know I need to work on it and have accepted that I don’t have as much patience as I should. So if you find yourself wondering why you can’t just know how your life will unfold or you find yourself crying about chipotle, go give Bethel a listen, say an extra prayer for patience and trust, and let me know if you want to talk about ways we can be more patient in life. I would love some suggestions or just accountability. We can even talk about it over chips and guac.

building a home in my heart

I am currently sitting in a coffee shop and should totally be studying for a biology exam I have in a couple days but my heart feels like writing so I’d rather follow my heart than listen to my head. I am now three weeks in to college and I remember last time I wrote on here, I talked about fear, uncertainty, worry, etc. I wish I could go back just three weeks and tell myself to keep my chin up. It is not scary or terrible. You won’t be lonely forever. You probably won’t even want to go home (I haven’t yet but love ya fam). I just feel so at peace and content.

There were many prayers that built up those couple of weeks on behalf of the future then, or my current life right now. Many were mine, some from my momma and some from friends & maybe strangers, if I am lucky. Social media is great for cheering on others when they go through difficult times and I definitely felt the love. But today, I reflect back and almost laugh at myself. It was a big unknown, and still kinda is, but I had no idea that while it would be scary, it would also be the best thing to happen to me. I have met the closest friends already and I think I may have to follow them around the rest of my life because I can’t imagine living without them. The people I have met, the tiny home Katie & I have made (my freaking amazing roomie) and the new adult freedom we have can only be put into the word “content”. My soul is at peace and my heart is still. Worry, stress, anxiety don’t find me often and if they do, I have lots of hugs waiting on me if I just ask.

I have learned to carry my home. I was always the homesick child at sleepovers and just knew college would be the same way. But recently, I have texted my friends after class saying “I am home so come to my room.” Home could be a place and it definitely was to me for 18 years. But then I packed up “home” in my heart and here I am with a new home. Home includes the people in it. And I have been building a home in my heart. It is full of the people I have met and fallen in love with. My little heart home is so warm and cozy. I can open up the windows on cool days and let in the fresh air. I can deep clean it when I am upset and the people that make it a home help me. It will always be there and can’t ever be destroyed. It may be a home for some people for a long time, or just hitch hikers stopping by for a little warmth. Either way, I hope my heart home is a place of light people can come to whenever they need. I want it to be open, inviting, and aesthetically pleasing (sorry I had to). If I have learned anything from my new friends, it is that giving is better than receiving so I hope I can wear my heart on my sleeve and let people in, whether it is for years & years of friendship, or just a pit stop. The door to my heart home is always open, stop by if you need. I am here.

hanging you out to dry

So I have been doing lots of thinking lately and I often think of things in a metaphorical way. I was trying to figure out what to write about because honestly, I have so many words and phrases buzzing around in my head. I started looking through pictures on my phone from the past couple of months looking for a screenshot of a devotional I read. I got distracted and was caught up in old pictures from the end of the school year and videos from fun things I did. All of those memories were from the end of a chapter of my life and each picture was filled with emotions. I remember in the moment, everything felt like it was ending. I mean, basically it was. I was graduating, finishing 15 years of dance and 4 years of theatre. Once summer came, I was done with lots of big stuff.

So then I thought about how my life is changing yet again and this really got me thinking. Everything I had been doing had come to an end and now I am about to start a new life where everything is unclear. So when I started thinking metaphorically about it, I was thinking about clean sheets (also I was folding laundry when I was thinking so that may have also had something to do about it). I was thinking about how a lot of the time, our beds are unmade. They are messy. We make our beds on a good day but then we mess them up again. And every so often, we clean our sheets. We hang them out to dry. Then they are all clean and soft and smell fresh. Do you see where I am going with this? Most of the time, our lives are messy and unmade. Then, God washes us, cleans us, and hangs us out to dry, all fresh and ready to start over.

Two years ago, I was at a christian conference and I remember writing “Renew” really big at the top of my journal page. I liked the sound of the word and I have been wondering for two years why I wrote it. In that time, I found 2 Corinthians 4:16. “Therefore, we are not discouraged; rather, although our outer self is wasting away,  our inner self is being renewed day by day.” So I have thought about this every once in a while and wondered how exactly this would play into my life. I have heard many stories about people’s big moments where God reaches down and renews their lives so I guess I have been waiting. Then as I looked through old pictures and thought about this new adventure I am about to go on, I saw how God was renewing my life. He is hanging me out to dry. I will be clean and fresh, ready for a fresh new start.

Take a look at your own life. Maybe you don’t need a big, earth shattering moment to see how you are being renewed by God. Maybe it is by starting a new job or making new friends. Maybe He will end normal things in your life, give you a month to rest and then send you on a crazy adventure (my life). I am going into this next chapter completely blind and am just trusting Him. But while I am blind, I am being made new and get to meet tons of new people and find myself. Most importantly, I will have a chance to strengthen my faith by going through uncharted waters. I think that is a little trick God does. He renews us, gives us a new life but keeps all the details to Himself so we have to depend on Him to not be afraid. I am so excited to start fresh and while I have no idea what to expect, I know I have strong shoulders to rest on.

So I kinda just wrote a lot more than I intended to but I sure hope it all makes sense. And I hope it applies to all people in all walks of life. I am going through a big change so it is easy to write about but I think this can be applicable to anyone if you are just on the watch for it. And it took me two whole years to finally find it. Maybe God was getting me ready. Be on the lookout, God is on the move and He is a fast runner.

you’re never gonna let me down

Hi folks! I know it has been many months since I last poured out my heart on here but it has been a crazy time! I graduated high school yesterday so now that summer has officially begun, I have decided to focus some of my spare time on writing. So be ready for more blog posts to come in the future. Recently, as I decided to start my blog back up, I was having a hard time finding inspiration. Finally, yesterday, it hit me right in the heart.

We all know and can sing every single word to the worship song “King of My Heart”. It is a very simple song with very repetitive lyrics. Sometimes I over look the song because it has become so familiar to me. Well yesterday I had a lot on my heart. I had barely slept the night before and was filled with so much worry. My experience with worry changes with the situation. I worry far too much but most of the time I can talk myself out of the dark scary worry pit. But sometimes, worry takes my thoughts and runs with them. Yesterday I woke up to see worry far away with my thoughts just laughing at me. I was almost sick to my stomach and could not get away from the little rain cloud above my head. I dragged myself out of bed and was washing my face and “King of My Heart” was kinda being played in the background of my thoughts. One specific line that I had never noticed started playing on repeat. “You’re never gonna let, you’re never gonna let me down.”

I kept going through my morning in a funk and said little prayers for help along the way. Still, that line was being played in my head. I started listening to it and started thinking about my worry, listened, thought about my worry, listened, thought, listened, thought. So then I decided, God was not going to let me down. My worry was not bigger than Him and He was going to turn my worry into something amazing. He can transform insignificant moments in our lives into something bigger.

So the little rain cloud above me stopped raining and slowly through out my day turned to light. Finally, I had reached the moment I feared and guess what? He didn’t let me down. I had been worrying for no reason. God knew this all along and watched me worry all day. He gave me this song to remind me that He is taking care of me. I should have been more trusting and open to His plan instead of trying my hardest to make my will happen. That line continued to play even after I realized how great our God is. I turned my worry into worship.

I think this one example is good to remember on all the hard days. I know for a fact we all worry and probably try to take matters into our own hands. We also feed ourselves negativity, allow ourselves to walk into the dark scary worry pit and don’t even try to reach for the sunlight. So I guess my message here is to crawl out of the pit, find the sunlight in every day and turn your worry into worship. God will never let you down. Trust that He knows what is right and worry a little less. Sing the songs He plays for you. “Do not worry about anything. Instead, pray about everything.” Philippians 4:6