As I have started to think about going to back to my beautiful little world in Upland, my emotions have been mixed.
I can't wait to see those who made my freshman year wonderful. I can't wait for late night conversations with my wing. I can't wait for meals in the Dining Commons -- well, I can't wait to sit at the tables and talk in the Dining Commons. I can't wait for chapel and the invitation to worship three times a week with the whole student body. I can't wait for my classes, to fill my mind with new information.
But then, I think of the things that made my freshman year not so good.
I can wait on the fear of missing out, so lovingly referred to as FOMO, that creeps into my mind with every event that conflicts with another on my calendar. I can wait on the nights with little sleep due to homework or studying. I can wait on the possible drama that tends to ensue when you have so many girls living in such close quarters doing life together. I can wait on the stress of finding a Pick-A-Date. I can wait on the constant questioning about my future plans -- because, to be honest, I have no idea what I want to do yet in the future.
All of these things are distractions from what really matters. We worry our lives away. We don't allow Shalom to enter our lives.
This coming semester, I vow to change that. I am going to strive to allow the fullness of God into my life. Last year, I focused only on love and that got me nowhere, so I'm expanding my garden. I will actively seek and nurture all the Gifts of the Spirit -- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.
I am going to make some promises to God that I will not easily forget. These will be written and stuck on my closet door, made the background on my phone and computer, written in notebooks and my planner. I WILL lean into all that God has for me and stop trying to control my life. After all, He made me!
1. I vow to keep You the center of my studies.
2. I vow to join in community and learn from it.
Lord, in my classes, I will strive to do my best. I will go in with an open mind and allow for knowledge to be gained. I will not complain about what we are learning, roll my eye's in disagreement, or assume something is bad because It is not what I believe. I will focus on how the knowledge I am gaining is going to help me in spreading Your Name to the world. The classroom will be one of my many places where I worship You.
3. I vow to seek You and make You a priority.
Lord, You have blessed me with an incredible group of people at Taylor. Instead of being my typical, introverted self, I will take steps to engage in the community. I will have intentional conversations. I will go to events I don't particularly want to go to with a positive attitude just to be with friends. I will love the people You place in my life and allow them to love me back.
4. I vow to take care of myself -- mind, body, and spirit.
It is so easy to get caught up in everything else that is happening and not focus on You. I will not allow other things to get in the way of my time with You. Chapel will become a requirement, as spending time in worship in the middle of the day is never a bad idea. The church will be more than just a place for worship for Sunday mornings, but a place for community, service, and growth. My relationship with you will be the more important than anything else.
5. I vow to keep my quiet time with You a precious, daily time.
6. Lord, as my schedule gets busy and my time is split, I vow to not allow myself to become too drained.
I will take care of my physical self, exercising and watching what I eat, just as I will take care of my spiritual self, with time spent in prayer and in the Bible. I will take Winnie the Pooh's advice and sometimes just "start with a smallish nap or two." I will keep myself ready for what You have in store.
Bring it on, sophomore year. With the Lord on my side, I am ready for whatever you have to give.