Friday, September 23, 2011

I'm slowly learning here.

Day 8: 3 Things You've Learned Recently

1.) I've learned the value of relationships.  I'm an introvert by nature.  Back at home, I was often happy to spend several days alone in my room (or in my house, if my parents went out of town) with only my writings and guitar to keep me company.  Here, I get alone-time all the time and after a while, it's not fun anymore.  It's just plain lonely.  Since the closest family I have is two hours away, I've had to rely on friend-relationships, which can be difficult when you haven't made any close friends yet!
I'm finally starting to make a few close relationships.  I've really connected with a friend from Impact named Stephanie.  She's sweet, positive, and has a huge heart for the Lord.  I'm growing closer to Rebecca, who has been my friend since middle school.  And I've made a few godly guy friends who have blessed me in so many ways.

I'll admit: it's still lonely being away from my family and most of my "usual" friends.  I don't like living hours apart from those I love.  However, without the relationships I'm making here, I don't know if I could make it through.  Close relationships are vital to happiness.  I can see now why Adam was so lonely in the Garden of Eden.

2.) I've learned that as a Christian, I'm a minority.  Never before have I heard so much cussing in casual conversations all around me.  Never before have I seen so many immodest outfits worn on a day-to-day basis.  Never before have I heard so many people mock God and the Bible and faith.  Honestly, it's broken my heart.

As I write this, I'm wearing a t-shirt that says, "If there is no God, nothing matters.  If there is a God... (flip to the back) Nothing else matters."

I've heard so many students say things like, "I hate church.  I don't believe in God.  The Bible is a joke."  With each angry word, they are spitting in His face.  And then I look all around me and see the pain and confusion in the faces of so many young people.  There's an emptiness in their lives that is so evident, but they just don't see it.

Where I came from, nearly everyone was a Christian.  I lived in the Bible Belt, attended a Christian school, had nearly all Christian friends, was surrounded by Christians.  And while some were Christians in name only and may have turned away from Him with their actions, they still believed in God.  They often still went to church and were part of a youth group of some sort.  Here, it's flat-out denial.  A big adjustment from where I've come from.  As a follower of Christ, I'm the minority here.  When I mention Him, I get weird (or even irritated) looks.  There is a lot of prejudice against my faith and stereotypes about who I must be.

But you know, I'm not sad that I'm here.  In fact, I'm glad.  I'm willing to be a city on a hill and do my best to shine for Him, even if I mess up sometimes (which I know I will).  Texas A&M is a huge mission field.  There are so many students who only need a seed to be planted.

3.) I've learned that I don't know nearly as much as I once thought I did.  A few years ago, everything was black and white to me.  I treasure knowledge and I like to know what I believe and why I believe it.  People would often come to me with questions about theology and controversial subjects and say, "What do you think about this?" because I nearly always had an opinion about it... and if I didn't, I was eager to research it and form an opinion.

After a year of confusion and emotional (and spiritual) struggles, I've finally come to realize how little I actually know.  I'm young, I'm naive, and while I might have knowledge about things, that doesn't mean I know.  I was just having a conversation with a friend the other night about how that during this difficult transition time of starting college and all that, the only thing that we can know with absolute certainty is God's unfailing love.  Life and death and earth and beauty and everything is His.  He loves us with an everlasting love... and right now, even if I'm exhausted or confused or in the midst of the struggle, I am content to let His love be enough.

I'll still research and learn things because I do like to know what and why I believe, but above all of that, I want to place His love as what matters most.  Sometimes I'm going to have to sit back and say, "I don't know why this has to happen" or "I don't know whether this is true," but ultimately, I can look to Him and He will love me through it all.
What are some things that you've learned recently?

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