School is hard. I'm not just talking about the classes and making yourself get out of bed in the morning, but the whole idea of college and everything that comes with it. I am not far from home, but I am far enough that everyday activities and the stress that my family is under does not really affect me. That is crazy to me. I am learning how to be my own person, to make the right choices, and to "adult." Unfortunately, I must be reminded time and again that I cannot do it on my own. I can't control other people, I can't live my life saying what-if, and I can't stress about the unknowns just because I am a control freak. That is really hard to wrap my mind around.
Here are five ways that I have found to grow in my faith, remain strong when I want to crawl in bed and cry, and to live a happier life:
1) Find your song:
Anytime I find myself in a situation where I am frustrated, angry, sad, stressed, or I don't know where to turn, music has always been my go-to. Throughout high school, I remember turning on "With Everything" and I would play it on repeat until I fell asleep, or I would play it every morning before school. The lyrics that really hit me said, "Let hope rise and darkness tremble in your holy light; that every eye will see Jesus our God, great and mighty to be praised." Then, at the end, they repeat the words "with everything" so many times that it begins to resonate with you. It is so, so powerful. When you do this with songs more and more, the passages in the scripture that relate to the verses in the songs allow things to be so much more clear than before.
2) Relate it to scripture and stand firm in that:
Lately, my song has changed. Not in a bad way, but in a seasonal type of way. As I have grown this year, I found myself time and time again relying on myself, and not who I should be focusing on. It lead me to the point that I thought nothing was going the right way, and doubt started to take over. Then, I heard the song Psalm 46. I don't know why the song made such a difference in my life, but when I heard those words and went to look up the scripture, the words jumped out of the page at me. They told me that everything really would be okay.
3) Find a church and stick with it:
I know that going to a church is really awkward for the first visit. Trust me, I know, I have been there. I can't decide if the worst part is deciding where to sit in fear that you will take someone's "unassigned assigned seat," or the unwanted time in the service when the pastor tells you to greet people, and you are sitting there.. alone. Luckily for me, after the first awkward service, I found a love for my new church. The people are kind, the worship is intense, the pastors are genuine, and the Spirit is present.
4) Find a group of people that keep you in line:
I have such a heart for people. I may not always like people, but helping them, serving them, and ministering with them is my favorite thing to do. Having the opportunity to do this has been such a blessing over the years, whether that be through a children's program or through my Remix group. But HOLY MOLY let me tell you about my girls. At Remix, we have started a small girls group where we encourage each other, love on each other, and have something exciting to look forward to when we meet every week. They make my heart swell when I get to see them, and knowing that we are all Christ-like ladies running after the same Creator is something so special.
I hate reading. I do not like books, I do not like textbooks, and the thought of reading for fun is disgusting to me. Unfortunately, I let this get the best of me, especially when I was in high school, and I saw the Bible as just another book. Boy, was I wrong. I started digging and looking for what it really is that I believe to be true. Yes, I could recite to you the fruits of the spirit and the armour of God that was drilled into my head since I was little, but actually having scriptural evidence behind what I was saying was important to me. So, I bought some really cute, in-depth devotionals, a new Bible with room to journal on the sides, and I fell in love. It is so much easier when you are excited about it, even if it is about "the Instagram" at first.