It might seem like many doors are closing around you. It might not make sense why you were attached to something that didn’t pan out the way you wanted it to. But I hope you give yourself grace for all the vulnerability you’ve been stepping into. I’m proud of you for stepping out into the unknown despite the uncertainty. I’m proud of you for willing to risk being hurt in the name of following the Lord with everything you have. Not many could do what you do. Not many are as passionate as you. There are things about you that are so unique to you. There are people you are going to reach that only you can reach. I want you to know that everything you are is a gift. You are not too much. You are not too little. You’re exactly who you’re supposed to be.
I know that it is hard to see what is on the other side of your uncertainties. I know it is hard to press into this season of waiting, watching things fall into your friends’ laps and wondering if there is anything left for you. I wish I could tell you what you will be doing this summer. I don’t know. I’m not God. But I can tell you that God knows you better than you know yourself. He knows what you need more than you know what you need. What you will be doing this summer, or this year, or next year, will be more than you could’ve ever dreamed possible. It may be different from what you thought. If it’s not what you hoped for at first, I know it will be easy to assume that God isn’t as faithful as you know He is. But please, please remember that when we get caught up in what we thought things should be, we miss the beauty of what really is. Don’t let these years slip by always wishing for the next thing to happen. You’ll never be content that way.
I know a lot of things have been thrown at you in the last few weeks. I know you are fighting to stay positive and stay rooted in your faith. I want to remind you that what you are feeling does not make you weak. What you are feeling is so valid. Just because you feel drained does not mean you did something wrong. You were doing the best you could with what you had at the time. You have permission to feel. You have permission process hectic swamp of life transitions and unknown pieces to your story. Remember that you can be completely surrendered to the Lord and feel uncomfortable simultaneously. Remember that the miracle of peace you have is not because the waves and winds have let down, but because you are rooted in a God who will not let you drown.
Do you remember where you were a year ago? You have been in this place before. You have grown. You are handling the waters differently. The things that used to consume you can’t anymore. You know how to fight this battle. You know how to respond to your thoughts. You are learning to feel what you feel rather than trying to numb out the world. And your joy is so evident in the midst of the journey. Do you remember all the things you weren’t sure would work out, but now are all steady truths in your life? In case you forgot, make a list. God was faithful then, He will be faithful now.
I know that there is a friendship in your life where you don’t feel fully known. You feel like you are given no room in that relationship to be the bubbly, loud, outgoing, sensitive, and deep person you are and that this friendship swallows you and makes you feel small. I want you to know that there are things about you that many people could never begin to understand, because there is just so much fruit to your life. You don’t have to make yourself small for anyone. A true friend will understand that. And as you muster up the courage to tell the truth, you have permission to set healthy boundaries for yourself and keep the distance you need. You have permission to take care of yourself and not be as vulnerable with this person as they want you to. But at the same time, I hope you are always asking the Lord what He says about this friend, and that you are not giving into lies that are going to tear apart one of the most meaningful friendships you may have in your life. That you are open to this friend stretching you despite your doubts.
You are loved and cherished by those around you regardless of what you achieve, regardless of the season you’re in, and regardless of whether you feel broken or whether you feel whole. You are a safe person for people to process their heartaches and traumas late at night. You help people see the beauty around them that they easily miss. You are a mentor and a friend, and you reach out to people in ways the world could not comprehend. You’ve been told by many that you have a gift for talking to people, and it is because you are sensitive, bold, and open. You can connect deeply with practically everyone. You are one of the few that don’t only surround yourself with people who look like you. Do you remember all the miracles and encounters you’ve had with people that had nothing to do with your abilities and everything to do with your heart? That’s a gift.
It’s a gift that is more meaningful than any external ability you have. You do everything from that place of love, and that’s what matters most. You are fighting with weapons unseen to show the world the love that is constantly transforming your life. You’re not doing this for marks or letters but to see healing and restoration in the lives of those who encounter you. You may not know exactly what you’re supposed to be doing, but I can assure you that your heart is in the right place.
Every day you wake up and choose to face the world, you are choosing strength. Every day you press into what you are feeling, you are learning to feel with the Lord. Every day you choose to have hope and keep trying, you are building resilience that’s going to bless you in the long run. And every day you feel you might not make it, you are covered with overwhelming grace. You are doing the best you can at your current level of awareness. You deserve the deep breath you’ve been needing to take. I know the list of things to do is always piling up, but you are free to take each day as slow as you need to.
And you know all of these things are true. But you are tired. So today, you are free to rest as much as you need to. Sleep as much as you have to. And rest assured that you are enough as you are. That God will strengthen you to fight the battles you’re in. All you can do each day is your best, and it’s okay if your strength looks a little different than the trail-blazing hero in this season. It’s okay if your joy might look a little different too. You haven’t lost it. Keep fighting. Keep going. And let the amount of hope that ignites your soul from within light a path of endless grace.
You are here because this world needed everything you are at this exact time and place. And you are worth fighting for.
I am so tired. It’s been an excruciatingly vulnerable two weeks. From a phone interview, to getting the job I wanted, to having to turn it down because it didn’t work out, to getting test scores back, and studying like ham for finals, I am a little burned out.
I allowed myself to feel it. I started sleeping a lot more than normal. I pulled back from the relationship that was causing me to fall back into old thought patterns. I spent more time with people who were safe, like my bio buddy Jasman, my roomie, and my super bubbly friend Priscilla. The last thing you want in a season of depression is someone who will try to give you a ton of advice about how to live your life or point it back on to themselves. What you want is someone to validate you and feel your pain.
I woke up for the phone interview where I explicitly expressed how much I wanted that job but how I didn’t think it was what God wanted anymore. The people were so nice and I knew how encouraged they were by hearing the heart of this random 18 year old gal who wanted to work in a ministry for teens that have been through trauma. I don’t know why that interview sucked the life out of me, but I went to lecture crying afterwards. I had been applying for jobs for the past 2 months, and the one I wanted was probably not going to work out. My friend Jasman was the first person to really validate everything I was feeling. We talked it out and then spent some time in the botanical conservatory decompressing, and she prayed for me before she left for her next class. I was so, so thankful for her.
The next day I was about ready to stop trying in school, and then I met Priscilla during lab.
“How did the chem test go?” I asked her.
“Not too well, but it’s okay!!” She said. “How about you?”
“It didn’t go as well as I thought, but I still ended up getting an A with the curve.”
“Let’s go!!” She high-fived me enthusiastically.
“I knew literally everything I got wrong so I was pretty upset,” I said.
“But, you still got an A.”
“Yeah,” I nodded slowly. “I did.”
“How was bio?” I asked her.
“It was better!” She said with a huge smile. “Did you do well?”
“I didn’t do as well as I thought. I’m barely holding a B in the class. I didn’t get one of the extra credit questions so it messed a lot up—” I started
“But, you got one of them!” She said.
“Yeah,” I nodded slowly. “I did get one of them.”
“See?” She said. She gave me a huge hug. That girl. What even.
I’m normally the positive one. But I was slipping a little this week. Being positive all the time is really, really hard and exhausting.
But here this girl was. She worked just as hard as I did. We studied together a lot. She didn’t do as well in chem as she deserved to for how much she studied, yet she was still in the game. She wasn’t giving up. She wasn’t getting depressed. She wasn’t allowing it to ruin anything. She was clearly scared for the final, but she hadn’t lost heart. She hadn’t lost hope.
I texted her later that day. “Hey! I was actually having kind of a hard time being positive today. But then I saw you still choosing to fight despite your circumstances. If you can do it, I can do it. So thank you.”
“Omg Lea! You always inspire me so much to trust in the Lord with my faith! I love you girl! We can do this!!”
We always pray before our tests. A few weeks ago, one of our friends who wasn’t a believer was super nervous. I asked her if she wanted to pray with us. She nodded profusely, and then said she didn’t know how to pray. I assured her it was fine. We held hands outside of the classroom and prayed before our exam.
Before our bio exam, Jasman and I prayed as well. And as my roommate was leaving for her chem midterm, I was like, “Wait! Can I pray for you before you go?”
And I think we’re missing the point a little if we’re praying before everything and then getting mad when when everything doesn’t go our way. If you want God to do His will, it’s probably not going to look like what you thought.
So are you fighting for what you think something should be like or for what God actually wants for you?
God, why did you drop that job from the sky if I was just going to invest so much time dreaming about it to have to say no? I asked Him.
So far, the answer I’ve been hearing is, “I just wanted to see if you’d be obedient.”
“And what’s the point in that?” I asked.
They sent me an email saying they still really wanted to hire me and to let them know if I changed my mind. I gave myself the weekend to make sure I was making the right decision, and then kindly emailed them Monday morning that I could not take the offer.
“Thank you for letting us know and please keep us in mind in the future. You are always welcome here,” she replied. Maybe this was a seed being planted for later. Nothing ever goes to waste.
But what do I do now? I asked God.
Just wait and see.
Shortly after turning down that job, the coordinator of a tutoring and college counseling center close to my high school replied a day after I reached out to her. She said she’d love to meet with me to talk more about tutoring with them and asked me when I was free. I was like, what? This job was in my hometown and I would get to set my own hours and meet with students one on one in their own homes, which meant it would work with my EMT class, and this organization emphasizes mentorship and whole person tutoring, which aligned with how I tutored anyways. I don’t know why the other job came up if it wasn’t meant to be, but I have an interview the Monday I get home for this one. Thank you God. I knew you were faithful.
This is my last week of college. I have finals and then I have to pack up my dorm. I don’t think I can do this to be honest. I hope I make it through alive.
But I can feel the Lord so near through every practice final and day I embark on. “Are you ready?” He’s saying.
“Yes,” I say.
Our yes always counts. Wherever you’re at, when you say yes to the Lord regardless of what you’re feeling, you can already declare the battle won.
And I can almost feel him taking my hand and saying, “Okay. Let’s do this.”