Starting the packing process was the inspiration for this post. Packing for an entire summer is easier than one would think, but also harder. Not wanting to be unprepared but also seeing the freedom in not needing much helps me make the decision about what I want to take, and what I want to leave behind. While it will be hard to be away from my family and friends this summer, I want to dive head first into the community that God is creating as a part of this internship experience.
Looking back on my college experience, deciding to be a music major was one of the best, and most challenging choices I made. Choosing a major that puts students of all different ages and abilities shoulder to shoulder can come with great experiences, but also great repercussions. I'll admit, there were times when I wanted to give up, but the community within the School of Music is what kept me going. There were times when I would be plagued by such a comparative spirit that I didn't find it easy to be able to write music, or find much joy in my major. I wanted so much to be that person that fit in with a certain group, and was frustrated when God closed doors of opportunity that I wanted desperately to open- but I powered through. I prayed, sought God, and eventually got to a place where I found joy, and began to find my voice. I reminded myself that being a leader doesn't always mean being in the spotlight or getting recognition, but it's in the everyday ways you do life, and go about your relationships. You have to love deeply, not be afraid of making mistakes and failure, and trust that you have something to offer. But that is easier said than done when you are struggling to find your place as a college student (and eventually, you do) and you want so desperately to use gifts you have, but get frustrated when (at that particular time) all it seems is that you are getting overlooked and don't have much to offer. As I have grown, I have realized that some of those moments are fully intended to be teaching moments that help us grow, and it's up to us to soak all of those in and ask God to bring our hearts to a place where those moments spur us on to maturity. Other times, those are simply moments where we must realize that even at a christian university, we are all broken people and we must live in community and love one another the best we can. There is something you have to offer the world, regardless of what it might seem like right now.
If you are living from a place where all you are thinking is that you'd rather be someone else, God wants you to live from a place where you find complete joy in HIM, and who he has made YOU to be. Compare yourself to Christ and and not to other christians, because this is the place where we learn about Him, and how we are to love the world and those who are in our lives. Whether you know it or not, those moments that seem hard are intended to help you grow. Don't miss opportunities to become more of the person God made you to be. And regardless of how you feel right now, those people who you put on a pedestal are just people, and with time and intentional effort, you find the people who you are meant to walk through different times of life with, and they will love you regardless of what kind of day you are having.
I want this summer to be about leaving behind fears and lies about myself and what I have to offer that until now I've been believing. There will be so much to be present for that I don't want anything to get in the way. I want to take with me those things (a ready and willing spirit, an open heart, a mind on Christ) that will help me love the students and my teammates to the best of my ability, make way for sweet memories from the beginning of this new season of life, and watch as God's plan unfolds for me through this summer and beyond.
This week I graduated college. This week I have also been particularly taken with a song by Zach Williams called, Fear Is a Liar. This song not only has a music video that will make you look down in an effort to hide misty eyes, but it's simple message is something that hits a tender spot in the human experience. While fear is something that we need in order to give us sound judgement about what it means to be safe, there are some moments when fear is one of the most confusing emotions humans have the ability to experience.
Being a young woman embarking on the post-grad journey comes with its fair share of fears... Do I have what it takes to be employable in a musical context or otherwise? What happens when I come back to the United States after my summer in Poland? Will I be able to find a job that I can both whole heartedly enjoy and sustain myself with? What about the relationships and routine of life that feels like it's taken four years to develop? What about my desire to continue to make music and perform, yet still needing to earn a living and contribute to society? All of these are valid questions, enough to raise doubts and cause fear as I (like most people) immediately jump to the worst case scenario. These next three months (and beyond) will take boldness, great faith, and trust that can only come from God as I take time to celebrate where I have been, but also continue to bring the future in prayer before Him and act accordingly.
In moments where life is hard, I want to let peace replace fear. I want to let moments of feeling inadequate be replaced by perfect love that casts all fear into the fire where it is no more. In moments where I am tempted to worry about the future, I want to remember that even the birds of the air are not unnoticed by God (Luke 12:22-32), so how much more will he take care of me in this next season of life called post-grad?
Copy and paste the URL link below into your web browser to watch the music video for Zach Williams' FEAR IS A LIAR:
Just under one month until I leave for Poland. Two weeks from now I will be a college graduate with a bachelor's degree in music. The past year has been filled with so many victories, moments of learning and achievement, and the unavoidable dark times that are only made better by the love of those who are closest to me. The opportunity to better myself through a college education is something that women my age in other countries do not have, and this work has not only helped me grow as a musician but as a person, and more importantly, as a follower of Jesus. I expect nothing from this summer except that God will move in ways that I find unexpected, that I will grow not only as a musician and person but as a young woman after God's heart, and that He has a plan for my life through this internship and beyond this summer. Even in the midst of so many changes and a time where it seems I'm letting go of a lot, I will choose to lean into the steadfastness and faithfulness of God, because He is the rock that never moves, and that is where I want to build my ministry this summer and beyond.