I find that summertime is always the time people use to rejuvenate. Whether that be through working out, adventuring, spending some quality alone time or going on a soul-search, maybe it's investing time into your family and friends; it seems we all try to get our lives more put-together in a matter of four months.
That's what I was going to use this summer for, personally. I was going to work on getting healthy: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
If you're anything like me, the motivation to "get life figured out" is that you have hit some sort of rough patch.
My freshman year at college was one the best years ever... but as much as it was amazing, it was also one of the hardest years I have ever experienced.
A series of things that had happened over the past months (an emotionally abusive relationship, depression, anxiety, questioning my faith, an identity crisis, and just bad decisions in general) had brought me to a place that I really, and I mean REALLY had to evaluate who I was becoming.
I was already at a point that I didn't have respect for myself, so I allowed others to talk down to me, to disrespect me.
I didn't love myself, so I accepted the kind of love I thought I deserved, from a guy that didn't treasure my heart.
I didn't feel that I had worth; so I started living a life that made me feel just that- worthless.
I didn't trust my own intuition so I began second-guessing every word I said and decision I made.
I didn't believe that I was "good" because of all the bad decisions I had made.
My life started to reflect my own self-perception as I began to put up walls between others and I, I started to have more of a negative outlook on life, and I started to shut off emotions.
I tried to deal with all of this shame and guilt on my own, and I carried it around like a back-pack with my name on it.
Growing up in a Christian family, being a Christian, and going to a Christian college, I often heard the words "pray about it," or "give it to God." But you see, when you're in the actual situation... it's not as easy as it seems.
I didn't feel I could possibly give it to God and let it go, because it. was. mine. My shame, my guilt, my sin.
I had lost my faith in God's forgiveness and mercy, and I had hesitated when believing that God is a loving God.
I was so afraid that I would hand over this "back-pack" and God would dig through every single thing that I had done, that I had been through, and with every look He would become more and more disgusted. I was so afraid God would see me how I saw myself:
broken beyond repair.
So I continued to carry this back-pack around, and desperately tried to ignore the weight it had become in my life.
Until one day the weight got to heavy and it broke me.
I cried for the first time in a long time- about things that had really hurt me. I yelled at God about things that I didn't understand. I allowed myself to reminisce on some of the decisions I had made and the consequences they had brought. I allowed myself to simply be a person with emotions and not have my life figured out.
And that's when my summer began, when I could finally breathe.
I didn't give all my insecurities and shame and guilt up in one day. But it was in one day that I decided I couldn't, nor did I want to, carry the back-pack any longer.
To begin the process of letting go and allowing myself to get healthy, I started my summer by fasting for two and a half days. I gave myself this time to spend some hard time praying- to simply search out God and I's relationship.
From this I began to view God so totally differently. When I was researching what fasting meant, it had said that when I feel hungry, it was simply because my body was telling me I needed food (duh). That our bodies need food if we want to live (duh). But it said that I should compare it to how badly I need God. That hunger was symbolizing my hunger for God. And if I wanted to live eternally, I needed God. WOW.
I desperately needed God. And if I wanted to live eternally, something was going to need to change in the way I lived my life, in the way I viewed myself, and how I allowed others to view me.
So I decided that all my temptations, all my wants and desires, could no longer come before my relationship with God. He was first.
Putting God first is not easy when satan is constantly tempting you. It's hard to resist something when it's right in front of you. And believe me, I haven't, nor will I ever be, perfect. But God doesn't expect me to be perfect- He expects me to try.
I have come to a point in my life that I realize that I am an imperfect human-being, being loved by a perfect God; and have started to view myself the way God views me: loved and worthy.
Because of Christ's redemptive love, I have found myself able to give up my shame, my guilt, my sin.
From this, I have started respecting myself, and not tolerated disrespect from others.
I have begun to love myself, because God loves me. I have learned how to love on others and show God's light.
I have realized I am worthy, and started living a life as so.
I began to trust myself in the words I would say, and the decisions I make, because I have my sights set on living eternally with Jesus.
I know that I am good, because I am a child of God, and He made me... He made YOU, in His image.
This summer has been one of the best summers I have had, because I truly feel like I have finally started to be who God intended me to be.