Be Still

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Life as a Christian can be a roller coaster. There are days when we feel on top of the world and so close to God and there are days when we feel so far and lost amidst the fog. There are even times when I start to convince myself that I would rather take charge of my own life than to let God have His perfect timing.

When those days come, I try to escape the pressure, trying to do things myself to make myself happy. So I start running. Soon, the running turns into walking and the walking turns into sitting and the sitting turns into thinking until, finally, I am face to face with the reality that I am never going to be able to find fulfillment in myself.

It’s hard being alone with your thoughts and the truth. We as humans want to do things ourselves, to be in control of our own lives. But the truth is, God is the one in control.

Once sitting alone with my thoughts becomes too much, I am forced to let go and surrender my desires. Now I am only left with one option: just be. Be alone. Be open. Be humble. Be His. It is only in these quiet, being moments that I am fully open to hear God’s voice. It’s in these moments that God opens my eyes His love.

So I’m surrendered. I’m finally ready to hear what He has to say. But His voice doesn’t come in a thunderclap. It doesn’t come in a loud declaration. It comes instead in a quiet, lightness of a feather. Like a feather floating down from heaven, God’s promise of His love comes down to me. I wouldn’t notice it if I weren’t sitting, waiting. And to be honest, there are times when I sit impatiently and leave before that feather of a Truth lands in front of me. But when I wait, when I allow myself the time to sit and be, I allow myself to see His Truth. The feather floats down, carrying the message from my father, and lands perfectly in my lap. It’s simple. It’s quiet. It’s right where and when it needs to be.

“I am.” I stare at the little feather in my lap. Only two words; “I am.” Slowly, like a sun rising inside of me, I see the Truth and accept it. He is God. I am not. He is perfect. I am not. He loves me even when I run. He accepts me even when I walk. And he hugs me when I sit.

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.” – Psalm 46:10

So here’s my challenge for you: sit. Be. Open yourself up to hearing and seeing those simple quiet Truths. Where are you in the process? Are you walking faithfully with God? Are you allowing yourself to run from Him? If you’re running, what will it take to quiet your soul and open yourself to hearing Him? He wants to show you His Truth. He wants to comfort you. Will you sit and allow yourself to see His love?

signi

101 in 1001: A Year Update

Start date: Friday, May 11, 2018
First Update: 6 Months
End date: Friday, February 05, 2021

Hello everyone! It’s been a little over a year since I started my 101 in 1001 challenge so it’s time for another update. The 101 in 1001 challenge is a list of 101 things I want to do in 1001 days (2.75 years). I’ve timed it so this challenge will end by my 21st birthday but I’ve got so much still to do! You can see the full list of goals and check my progress here.

Goals I’ve crossed off:

38. Take my sisters on “sister-dates” (March 2019)

Being away from home was pretty hard. But setting up sister-dates made for an extra something to look forward to. Spending that one-on-one time with my sisters gives us a chance to catch up and just enjoy each others’ company.

39. Volunteer with my family a Saturday morning (March 2019)

My church back home has a homeless ministry that serves breakfast downtown every Saturday morning. My roommate and her family have been going for a while and my family has gone as well. But with school and being away, I needed to plan for a chance to finally go and see what the ministry was all about. Spending the morning with like-minded people while catching a glimpse into the world of others was interesting and challenging. I am glad for the chance to go and broaden my worldview and I am looking forward to the next time I can serve again.

43. Go to a drive-in/outdoor movie (April 2019)

Every year my school hosts a Spring Festival which includes flower crowns and tie-dye shirts and an outdoor movie! This year we watched Mary Poppins Returns and it was so much fun. (I mean it’s Mary Poppins!!) It was my third time watching the movie but it was still so fun to be there with friends and enjoy the outside festivities.

52. Explore downtown Charlotte (July 2019)

This one was fun to do too because it included my cousins (who are pretty awesome people) and my family. We were going to go on a walking tour but instead explored the streets on our own as well as the major stops like King’s Kitchen, NASCAR’s Hall of Fame, and the Mint Museum. I highly recommend checking out downtown Charlotte if you are in town!

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59. Find a church by the university (Spring 2019)

Finding a church by my school was harder than I thought it would be. With so many churches in the small town, you’d think we’d have no problem! But when it comes to finding a church, my friends and I knew that we wanted to find somewhere that taught the Truth, not just a good-feeling message, and somewhere we could get involved. We visited big churches, small churches, contemporary, traditional and everything in between before finally deciding on a small Baptist Church. It took time but it was totally worth it.

74. Visit my high school teachers after I graduate (March 2018)

High school was such a good time for me. Junior and Senior years specifically shaped a lot of my views and challenged me in and out of the classroom in ways I couldn’t imagine. The teachers those two years played an important role in that. Going back to visit the school and personally thank those teachers for challenging me and preparing me for this college journey was an important thing. It was great to reflect and thank those who work year-round preparing students for the future. And I think they appreciated it too.

80. Celebrate Easter really big (April 2019)

Easter has always been one of my favorite holidays and potentially one of the most underrated ones. Christmas gets most of the celebration in both the religious and non-religious worlds but Easter is most important! Without Christ rising victoriously from the dead having had defeated our sins, we would still be searching for a way to prove ourselves worthy of God’s acceptance. So Easter definitely deserves more praise. This year my family went all out with a Bible-themed scavenger hunt, pastries made by my sister, and a big meal with the extended family. Hopefully, this tradition will continue.

88. Make a new vision board (January 2019)

The vision board concept it a cool one for me because I find that each time I make one I learn more about myself. It’s true that images speak louder than words and often hold concepts and ideas that can reveal themselves over time. As I made this vision board, I allowed myself to just pick images that I was drawn to. Those images ended up being more “outdoorsy” than I would have initially chosen but as time moved on, I found those things reflected interests and opportunities I didn’t know I had. It’s fun to see visually how those interests change over time and how they come out in my everyday life.

I’ve completed 25 of my 101 goals! How have you been coming along in your 101 in 1001 journey? What things have you learned about yourself through it? Follow my progress and see the complete list here.

signi

A Letter to Freshman Year

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Dear Freshman Year of College,

College. The best four years of my life. Or so I was told.
They were right in a way. If this past year has been a testament to what is to come then there are many many great things in store for my college adventure.

What I wasn’t told was how fast the years would go.
I’ve only finished one of the four years of college and yet those two semesters have flown by. If I didn’t pay attention, I would have missed it.

My first semester was crazy with settling in and figuring out a routine. But it was fun and welcoming as I learned to call this new school home. And home it really became with new friends and great mentors. Suddenly I didn’t need to focus on anyone else’s growth. Here I could be free, be me, and take the time I needed to grow and explore the world and new opportunities.

My second semester was a little bit harder. I missed my family like crazy but I learned to let go and trust God’s plans. This semester provided many opportunities to grow in faith and trust and it gave me many opportunities to step back and remember that I’m not in control.

It’s been a week now since I’ve closed my textbooks and turned in my final exam. Every day since then I’ve reflected over the many blessings that one school year gave me and I’ve missed those times. I’ve also realized how much I’ve grown in faith, in confidence, and in heath as I learned to navigate a new world where decisions became mine and mine alone. There were times when I didn’t want to change, to move, to leave the comforts of wherever I was in that moment, but I learned that change is good, change is natural, and when I surrender those moments to God, change can be such a blessing.

One year, one-fourth of my college career has come and gone. But the memories and the many lessons will forever be remembered. I am so grateful for this time and I so look forward to the next three years. May I always remember to trust God, to remember the little moments, and to not waste the precious time that I have.

signi

a short life lesson

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Life. It’s full of good days and it’s full of bad days. Some days we feel like we are keeping everything under control, while others, not so much. No matter how life is making you feel right now – calm or stressed – the life you are living now is preparing you for the future.

For my life right now, I am feeling pretty full. I have finished my first semester of college, I get to spend time with my family, and I am looking forward to hanging out with my friends come second semester. There is nothing pulling for my attention, no assignments to do. But it wasn’t always this calm.

I remember those days when I questioned everything: my life purpose, my family, my friends, even God. But there’s the thing, every minute I spent stressed, depressed, questioning life, was another minute closer to where I am now.

God uses all of those tough times to shape us into the people He designed us to be. While life isn’t a finish line that we can cross – there will always be more to learn – we can have hope in remembering that God uses everything for our good. Do not be discouraged and do not lose hope. Rather, trust in God who is in control. Trust that those tough times will help you to grow stronger as a person and in your faith.

That is my challenge for you this week. If your life is calm, thank God for using those though times to shape you. If your life is rough, remember that strength comes from perseverance and that you are not alone.

signi

4 Things I Learned in My First Weeks of College

Hey everyone! How are you? I’m doing pretty well! I just finished my second week of college and it’s was amazing. I loved every moment of it. I’ve met so many people and had so much fun getting to know my classmates and hall mates. Through all of it, I’ve learned quite a bit about life and relationships. Today, I wanted to share 4 of the major lessons I’ve learned these past two weeks on campus.

1. It’s Okay To Say No

There are so many activities set up for the freshmen during the first couple weeks of school. Sports games, parties, gatherings, and meals were some of the events set up at my school. It was a lot of fun, but it was also overwhelming. There were so many people to see and talk to and so many names to remember. At one point I had to say no to a group contest event, and instead took some time with a few friends to go to the lake for the day. It was so relaxing and a great break from being around so much noise and so many people. That’s okay. Yes, I want to make friends, but I also want to take care of myself.

2. The Syllabus and Textbooks Will Be Your Best Friends

One thing that is very different from high school is the use of syllabuses. In high school, a syllabus was something that the teacher gave you but never used. In college, however, the syllabus is your road map for the year. Lose it, and you’ll be lost. I’ve found that some professors won’t even mention homework at the end of the class because they assume that you are reading and following the syllabus. The same goes for textbooks. Just read everything and make sure you’re on top of it!

3. High School Friendships May Change

I had a great group of friends in high school, and at the end of Senior year, we all agreed to stay in touch and still be friends. Things change, though, and people change too. Not everyone wanted to stay in the group. And that’s okay. Give them space and continue growing the friendships that you have on and off campus.

4. It’s Okay To Push Yourself

For those of you who don’t know, I am an English Literature and Digital Media double major and Honors student working part time. I get asked a lot why I chose to do so many things, especially my first semester Freshman year. The short answer is this: because I know I can. I believe that college is time to grow your interests, to learn about the world and yourself, and to push yourself to be better than you were. For me, that means double majoring. For others, that might mean something else. I could have chosen to wait to decide to work or double major, but I have the time and the mindset now. Why wait? That doesn’t mean that it’s not hard – it is sometimes – but it also doesn’t mean that you can’t push yourself.

Those are the four major lessons I’ve learned so far in college! What are some things you want to know about college? What have you learned so far? Let me know in the comments! I would love to hear from you!