5 Lessons This Semester Has Taught Me Thus Far

5 Lessons This Semester Has Taught Me Thus Far

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." -Romans 8:28
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The past 3 months have been filled with countless lessons that have helped me learn more about how to better care for myself in the midst of trials and difficult circumstances. The five listed below are the ones that have been the most significant in helping me to grow both spiritually, mentally, and emotionally.

1. It's okay to say no

Sometimes it can feel like it's just easiest to say yes, but then you are stuck will all these commitments and plans that can overwhelm you. I'm learning that you do not need to always provide an explanation or reason for your answer, all you must say is no.

2. Alone time is important

There are many times where even just the thought of being alone scares me for various reasons, but something I am learning more and more is that taking time for yourself is actually really healthy. Spending time alone can allow you to breathe, decompress, and process things as you take time to care for yourself in this way.

3. Allow others to care for you

Just as you must take time to care for yourself, it is also important to allow others to help you in your time of need. This can sometimes be difficult to allow others to see the brokenness or trial you are facing, but there are so many people who desire to serve and love you and surround you in your time of need. For me, even just asking for prayer, or expressing a tiny bit of the pain I'm feeling to someone I trust can help provide comfort.

4. Life is full of seasons

I don't just mean the four seasons that exist within nature, but the different times in our life where we face different circumstances. Sometimes these periods can be filled with extreme hardships and difficulties. I've dealt with this several times over the past year, and the reality that the pain and emotions that accompany these situations won't last forever. They are just part of a season of your life, whether that lasts a month, six months, or a year; the hardship that your facing is not a permanent condition for your life.

5. God really is always good

In the midst of trials it can oftentimes be really hard to trust that this is true, but I have learned that it really is. Looking back over the seasons of life that I have been through, I can now see how God was working things together for my benefit even when I did not realize it. In the midst of affliction it can be hard to feel God or understand what good could possibly exist in the future, but sometimes these trials are just preparing us for something else. I am holding fast to this truth as I navigate the current tribulations and pain that exists in my life. I am anxiously awaiting the day where I can look back on this time and see how God used it for my advantage, but for now I will have hope and trust in His plans for my future.





Cover Image Credit: Abby Reichenbach

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

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You Ain’t Waiting For God To Bring You Your Dinner, You Get Up And Go Cook It

My words often get jumbled and don't make sense, so I figured writing it would help me come across clearly.

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Dear guy friends of mine,

I want you to know how grateful I am for your friendship. Having close guy friends has helped me better understand men and learn how the male species operates. I've been able to ask you so many questions and you've responded with thoughtfulness, kindness, grace, and honesty. I appreciate your willingness to talk to me.

I want to encourage you in something, and with some of you I have tried, but I think I came across as a little crazy. From what I've been told by married women, guys are very afraid of actual crazy. You want your girl to have some crazy (because all women have at least a little bit of crazy), but you don't want her to be, like, crazy. I get that and respect that.

I want to encourage you to ask girls out. It's scary. You're afraid of rejection. I know this because several of you have told me so. I recently spoke with a guy who's been married for a few years and has a baby daughter. He told me that you guys are scared, you don't want to put your heart on the line and have it crushed. That's a good reason not to pursue girls: you'll remain safe and free from hurt if you don't put your feelings out there.

But here's the other side of it: You'll never find that girl if you never search for her. Now, I know that all things happen in God's timing and as imperfect humans, we can't force things to happen outside of God's timeline. However, Pastor Matt Chandler of The Village Church in Dallas, Texas said this in a sermon several years ago:

"But something's happened in evangelical circles where if you're single you're supposed to not want to be married, but be content in a spot and that's somehow more glorifying than following God's wiring of you to want a mate. And so in the end what happens is that you walk around like a liar. I mean, poor young ladies! Almost all of them have been told, "As soon as you're content, God will send you a man." So you've got hundreds of thousands of women running around acting content! "I'm content, where is he?" You've got other guys going, "You know, I'm just gonna wait for God to bring me the right one." Well, you ain't waiting for God to bring you your dinner, alright? You get up and go cook it."

Pastor Chandler goes on to say that he's not telling the guys to go on the hunt and prowl. No! He's telling guys that they have a role to play in pursuing a woman to marry. Girls have a role to play, too. Girls can't just hang out with their girlfriends in hopes that they'll lock eyes with Prince Charming while in the grocery store or walking their dog in the park. No, girls need to build up the guys in their lives and respect them by letting the guys be guys and giving them opportunities to be gentlemen. That's what I appreciate about you guys, my guy friends. You are such gentlemen and I love that. Don't be afraid to ask out the girl that you think is sweet, cute, pretty, funny, kind, silly, honest, loyal, and the right amount of crazy. You've got this!

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