It was August 25, 2018 and I was relieved to be moving into CNU with some experience under my belt. I felt at home as I stepped back onto campus, and rather than nervousness for the year that was to come (that I experienced as a freshman) it was actually confidence. I knew this was my place.
My grandma and mom helped me move into my sophomore year dorm in Warwick and let me clarify by adding that these women are the “get-er-done” type. My grandma and mom could probably run laps around me when it comes to making things “cute” and achieving big tasks like moving into a bland dorm room and transforming it into a home. I loved the way it turned out:
I am thankful for the way that my family cheered me on as I continued my college education five hours from home. I could not of done it without them.
When people ask me about my sophomore year, I tell them that I wish I was told that it was going to be hard. The reality is that freshman year is full of excitement, exploration and newness that brings a kind of unattached freedom. The sophomore year slump is real – so if you’re reading this as you enter in your second year of college let me be the one to forewarn you.
This is not meant to scare you, but like I shared previously – I simply wish someone had told me. Friendships didn’t adapt to change and needed space, greyness was confronted and resulted in silence, scary diagnosis came up at a massive distance from me, miscommunication happened with feelings at stake. Needless to say, I spent a lot of time on the treadmill this school year.
To be honest, I am still processing a lot of these things. I am a deep thinker and college robs me of that sometimes. In the midst of a chaotic season where everything seemed to be happening at once, I was on the phone with my dad. I was overwhelmed and he said “Adelyn, you need to turn down the volume on this. You need to put this in your emotions box and tuck it underneath your bed.” This is not to be confused with stuffing things down. I am not advertising some sort of “denial” processing, but rather a way to “turn down the volume” so that you can continue listening to the rhythms of everyday life and living. Sometimes life (or college) hits you all at once, and you need to face tomorrow. Rather than letting your sucky circumstances keep you from living in boldness and having faith in the Lord’s plan and provision, we sometimes need to put a pin in them and address them later so that we can fully process. This was super helpful for me as I faced some hardships in which there was no one to blame, no root cause, but rather were much larger than me and required me to exercise trust in the midst of swirling emotion/fear.
T R U S T. That was a big one for me. How do I trust the Lord when it doesn’t make since that my mom has two types of cancer when I am five hours away? How do I trust the Lord when my relationships fail when I feel as though I “did everything right”? How do I trust when I don’t understand?
I shared at a Cru Large group this year and I want to recycle some words that I spoke regarding trust:
“Trust” in the Lord is not just a word, it is an action. You can tell yourself to run a marathon, just run 26 miles! Simple as that. But trying to run at that magnitude without training will not turn out so good. Our trust in the Lord works the same way. I knew what I to do, “Just trust Adelyn! Simple as that” but I was struggling because I had not been training. If we are not “training” in the sense of trusting the Lord with the little things – our days, our relationships, the conflict that we face, our summers, our careers, etc. – we will quickly run out of fumes when the day comes to run that race. If we think that trusting the Lord is something that we say, and not do – we will fall.
I was faced with the fact that I had been treating trust as if it was simply a word. I told myself “oh yeah, I trust God!” but was I? When I was faced with hardship this year that I could not wrap my head around, I realized that I had not been trusting God. The Lord revealed to me that my faith rested on my ability to understand; to know what to do; to know the right answers. As soon as I realized that trust is independent of my “handle” on my own struggling, I suddenly found freedom. I found peace in waiting for the Lord in the midst of my confusion because He showed me how to actually trust Him.
In the waiting y’all, I found that my abiding in Him during this time was not contingent on him revealing the answers to me. It was not dependent on my grip on the situation, my hardships disappearing – it was Him. For so long, I thought seasons of hardship were “commercials” in my walk with Christ. My lack of trust in the Lord caused me to pause every time I did not understand what He was doing. But what if it was during the seasons of hardship that the Lord wants us to act in faith and trust in Him? What if the seasons of hardship are the main feature, not the commercial? Rather than becoming paralyzed in fear when things don’t go the way we expected, let’s take action by trusting the Lord.
How Did This Change My Approach to Hardship?
Great question. Learning to trust the Lord with the little things, the medium sized things, the big things (tall, grande, venti some might say…haha) did not erase my confusion or heartache. The truth is that my mom is still in the process of being treated for cancer, some friendships were not mended, and my heart is still experiencing hurt. But suddenly I was able to face the day with hope, knowing that the plan that unfolded would be according to the Lord’s plan for my life. I suddenly found joy, as I no longer found myself carrying the weight that accompanies the “I should be doing something” mindset.
Because when we don’t trust the Lord with our lives, there is an enormous amount of pressure that we face. If we don’t trust the Lord, then that means that we believe that we are the only ones who can “fix” the things going poorly in our lives. And when we believe that we are the only ones who can fix it, then we believe that when things don’t work out the way we intended, that it’s all our fault.
Fault is a funny thing. I am a very black and white person (and am a math major might I add) and so often times for things to make sense to me, I have to know the why, or in this case, the who. Who was to blame? I was frustrated in the midst of my circumstances because I thought I had done everything right. I thought that I prayed enough, and handled the conflict and grief in the right way. Why do things go wrong even when I feel as though I did everything right? In learning to trust the Lord with my life, I had to accept the fact that I am not God. In thinking that if I did everything right then hardship would cease, I was pridefully considering myself the god of my own life. I carried around so much weight in thinking that it was my own actions/judgement that determined the outcome of a my circumstances. Praise God that I am not. The truth is that I cannot determine the outcomes of my circumstances, others actions, or even my own healing.
This meant that even if my mom was going through chemo hundreds of miles from me – I trust the Lord. Even if friendships failed despite my best efforts to keep them afloat – I trust the Lord. Even if the people that I trusted inflicted deep pain – I trust the Lord.
Repeating basic truths when your circumstances wrap you up in feelings of fear and doubt made the difference between living life with joy and hope in the Lord and letting my circumstances rob me of life. At the end of the day, it is your choice what to believe. As paralyzing as some circumstances can be, you have a choice of what you want to believe. You can continue to think that your happiness is in your own hands, or run into the arms of the Father and lay it down at His feet and trust Him with it all. You can go crazy trying to make sense of situations that are outside of your control, or you can find overwhelming peace in knowing that you are in His hands and that is enough.
This past school year was full of hardship, some that I am still facing, but through it all I know that it is well. It is well because I have learned the lesson of looking to my Father not for answers, but as the answer Himself. He holds me in His hands; He sustains me; He provides; He pursues me; He will take care of me; He is God. I am still building my muscles in trusting the Lord with my life, but am now able to walk a bit further. I am no longer worried about the means, the destination or the hills along the way, because He is worth it.
He is t r u s t w o r t h y