My Year

Life has just been insane. I remember last year, thinking about how everything was gonna go, and thinking it would all just be the same. I thought I’d continue to stay depressed, and nauseous, and lonely, and anxious. I thought the insanity would never end. I thought I’d never be my “normal” self again. And now, here I am, sitting on my couch, looking forward to all of the awesome things I get to do this summer. I’m actually excited about something for once. I’m not nervous, or anxious. Just, excited.

My next stage of life is nothing like I planned, but I’m really excited about it. I’ve made some knew-ish friendships, and I’m so glad I have the opportunity to stay here and cultivate them. I get to focus on my art, and music, and the people in my life.

Now that I have all my emotions back in check, I’m pretty much as normal as I used to be (not that I was ever normal in the first place). Something I realized, though, is that that “normal” part of me that I thought was gone, was my love for life. For the past six years people have mentioned to me here and there that I have a “love for life”, and I never really thought much of it until I lost it. It keeps me going, it helps me encourage people, and, it reminds me that life isn’t all bad.

There’s always this point, after going through a long, hard stretch of life, where I can look back at it all and be thankful for all the crap I had to go through (that usually doesn’t come for a good while, however). Right now, right this second, I’m there. And it feels amazing. I’m looking back at everything and realizing how much I’ve grown, and how much I’ve learned about my self. In the course of just a few months I learned how to really take care of myself, both mentally and physically. I’ve learned how to forgive people, and how to let people go, and that you don’t always have to let people go. I’ve learned how to keep friendships across miles. And, I’ve learned how to be a big girl.

Around the time I started feeling nauseous, and things started to feel wonky (about two years ago), I started getting to be really good friends with one of the girls who had just graduated from my youth group. She is now my best friend, and my sister. One of my biggest fears with growing up, and moving into the college class at church, and being a college student, was that I wouldn’t have any friends. That all my friends would leave me, and I’d be alone. But, having that friend who’s a bit older than me really helped me branch out. She helped me realize that college students aren’t terrifying. And, because she’d hang out with the college students, I got to know a lot of them, too.

Life’s looking up, and I’m happy about it. I no longer wake up depressed everyday. I no longer walk through life terrified that it’ll get bad again. And, I’ve got some amazing friends to help me keep walking along, and keep knowing that it won’t get bad again.

Everything we go through has a good reason. I’ve known that with my whole heart for the last six years. But, sometimes, when you’re in the midst of everything, it’s hard to remember. Look at Job, from the Bible. He spent years upon years in agony. He knew that God had a reason for everything that was going on, but he still cried out because everything in his life hurt so bad, for so long, and it never seemed like it’d get better. Well, it did. And it turned out even better than before.

I spent just over two years (two and a half?) with this nausea, and anxiety, and I prayed so hard that God would just take it away. Throughout everything, and after it being so long, I thought he never would. But he did. And now I’m sitting here, totally fine, ready to go see my friend give a presentation at school later tonight. God does look out for us, and he watches over us. Even if it seems like he never will. Even if it seems like it’s hopeless. He does.

Contentment

I’m the type of person who always looks ahead. I try to intentionally make choices that will benefit my future, and that usually means pushing myself. A lot. I think, “Oh, I could start a business. That would be cool. Then I’ll have more money for college and more experience.” But, I never stop myself and remember that I’m a kid. There’s a reason not many kids start their own businesses.

I’ve been learning lately about when to know when to do things. Like, when deciding whether I should do something or not, bringing in the factor of “stage of life”. Every day we have opportunities to do things that could affect us in the long run, but we need to pick and choose which ones we’re going to take up. We don’t always have to stay focused on our future. Sometimes we can just choose to be a kid (or a kid at heart) and have some fun, or just continue to enjoy what we have now. Improving is good, and it’s important, but not everything has to be constantly improved all the time.

Say, I went to college, got my teaching degree, and was a preschool teacher somewhere. I spent my days teaching my kiddos and having a fantastic time. That’s okay. Nothing needs to be harder, I don’t need to stretch my comfort zone, or make life harder for myself. Sometimes it’s okay to just be content.

I think the reason I have it stuck in my head that “being content” isn’t okay is because it’s easy to get stuck in being content. Sometimes it’s good to stretch ourselves, and get out of our comfort zone; and sometimes it’s good to enjoy being content with what God’s given us. Everything has a place, and I’ve been learning where those places are. It’s all about moderation, and having a good understanding of when it’s time to stretch, and when it’s not.

My Necklace

I’ve got this necklace that I’ve been wearing since ninth grade. It started as kind of a friendship thing with one friend, but I got a few more charms over the last couple years, and it’s turned into more of a blanket friendship thing. If I get a charm, or a ring, from a really good friend, it goes on the necklace.

I was thinking the other day about what I’d do if, when I grew up, I wasn’t friends with any of the people that have charms on my necklace. Then I started to think of how cool it would be to someday tell my kids, or my grandkids, about some of the coolest friendships I ever had.

Just because life is changing doesn’t mean I lose the people that I’m close to. Sure, things will be different. I might not see them very often, if at all. We might not talk much. But, I will always have memories of those friends, and I’ve learned some pretty amazing things from them that I’ll never forget.

You ever think about why God created us to be social creatures even though life is constantly changing, and we often get pulled away from the people we’re close to? Well, I do, and I think I know why. I think it’s because of all the things we learn from so many different people. Part of the reason I have so many friendship charms is because with every stage of life, things change. God knew I would need different people to teach me different things. I met my first bestie in seventh grade, and I needed her because my family just switched churches, and I needed someone who was good at loving people, and making friends, so I’d feel welcomed at church and would be able to have good friendships in the future.

Not everyone likes changes (I don’t usually), but that doesn’t mean they’re not important, and not good for us. One of the biggest changes in my life was switching churches five and a half years ago, and it has made a huge impact on me. I’ve learned so much about people, my relationship with God has grow a ton, and I’ve learned a lot about the body of Christ. I’d never really had a church family until we switched churches, and it means the world to me.