A Time to Wait

If you know me, you know that I am a planner. I plan out everything from daily tasks to what I want my future to look like.  I have to know what I am doing in advance, or I stress out. I am not known for being spontaneous or liking surprises. If I am doing something, you can bet that I probably wrote down that I was doing it on my calendar at least the day before (but probably a month ago if we are being honest). I am a bit of a control freak when it comes to my time and  my plans, no matter how big or small.

If you relate to that, then you probably hate to wait. You hate having no control over a situation and not knowing what the outcome will be. The future can be a little frightening, especially when our “plan” does not seem to be going the way we planned for it to.

One thing that I have had to learn, especially as a college student, is that there is a time to wait. I had to realize that I am not the one who gets to plan my life, that is up to the expert, God. He already has the perfect plan set up for my life, but that means I have to wait for that plan to play out.

When I say wait for God’s plan, I do not mean that I am going to just sit around waiting for a sign or for something to just fall in my lap. The great thing about God is that He will open and close all of the right doors for us in life. I still have to take action in my life, but I have to remember something. If one door slams in my face, it does not mean I am a failure. It means that it was not God’s will for me, and that there is something better out there for me.

Trust me, I know it is easier to say you will trust God with your “plan” than to actually trust Him. It is still a daily struggle for me to not stress about my future. I stress about my future career and my future family and everything in between. There are times when I feel like I will never get the things I want for my life. When I really think about it though, every single door that has closed has been a blessing in disguise because it usually leads to something better even though I feel like a failure in the moment. We have to look at the bigger picture, and remember that God is always in control and that He wants what is best for us.

Every single closed and open door is an experience that teaches us a valuable lesson. We might not see what that lesson is in the moment, but we will later down the road. Some times it is going to be extremely hard and challenging, but let those hard times strengthen your faith. Those experiences shape us into the person God wants us to be in the present and the future. He definitely knows what He is doing.

“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.” James 1:2-4 MSG

Remember that there is a time to wait. It might be hard, but I promise you that it will be worth it in the end when God takes you to where you belong.

Tis The Season of Stress

15056381_1445567062120889_5386928071452584417_nIt is finally fall in Oklahoma. The temperature is starting to drop, the leaves are changing colors and falling from the tress and Starbucks’ holiday cups are officially back. I am not the biggest fan of cold weather, but I absolutely love fall mainly because that means it is time to go home for Thanksgiving and Christmas is right around the corner.

Fall also means that it is crunch time for college students. Dead week and finals week is approaching faster than we expected, projects and papers are piling up and stress is at an all time high right now. It is our last chance to attempt to bring our grades up to where we would like them to be (even though the pessimist in me knows that it will not happen in my case). The stress will not subside until we are on our way back to our hometown after our last final, only to return when we come back in January.

Stress is incredibly hard to deal with. It makes a lot of people cranky, physically and mentally exhausted and it can even plant doubts in our head. For me personally, when I am stressed I start to question everything. I question my self-worth and my ability. I question my purpose. I question if I am on the right path. Then, all of the questioning makes me stress out even more. It is a vicious never-ending cycle.

Today I decided to sit outside of the Oklahoma Memorial Union at the University of Oklahoma to work on homework and study.  Then I just stopped. I stopped to look around me and just put life on pause. I looked around to see my beautiful campus and the signs of fall around me. It was an incredibly beautiful day: not too hot, and not too cold. The lovely colored leaves were falling onto the table where I sat.  I took it all in for a moment.

In this moment, I realized that stressing out over all the things I have on my plate right now was silly. I know that it will all get done and come together as long as I keep working hard. This is my second year of college, I know that if I put my mind to it, I can do anything. Even though my studies are super important to me, I realized that my grades and my degree do not define me. What defines me? My love for Jesus Christ and my dedication to glorify Him in everything from my words to my actions.

I also realized that there was no point to allow my stress to consume me and make me question myself. All of that doubt that was placed in my mind came straight from satan trying to discourage me, but you know what? Satan is defeated by God. The devil holds no power over me because God always wins. I know that my worth comes from God, so I am worthy. I am able to do anything with God on my side. I know that God has a purpose for my life. I know that no matter what path of life I am on, God already knows the outcome, yet He still walks right beside me as I go down any road.

I love the little reminders of how incredible God is whether it be simple or complex.

It is hard not to be completely in awe of God when I simply walk outside and see his masterpiece. It is hard not to realize your worth when you think about the fact that the same God who created this universe, created you and me. He could make anything He wanted, and He decided to create each of us unique and special in our own way.

It is easy to get wrapped up in what the world has to say about who you are and what you should be doing, but just remember where your worth comes from. It comes from your Heavenly Father who loves you more than you even know.

So if you need a reminder of your worth and value today, just walk outside and realize that God created everything around you and YOU. It is the perfect reminder of His perfect love and mighty power. If that does not make you feel special, then I do not know what will.

With all that being said, the next time you are overcome with stress, just pause for a minute and realize who you are and whose you are. You are a son or daughter of God. You are His child. You were made perfectly and uniquely in His image.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, and I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14-15