My inspiration for this blog post is not original. I stole this idea after reading this blog post: http://diamonddiploma.com/70-things-i-learned-in-my-20s/ I am still in my twenties, but I figured if I posted about some of the things I learned in college it would be a good way to reflect on things I am thankful I experienced and maybe there will be some good advice for my friends still in college… Also, I know a lot of the comments on her blog think she is “stupid” and “unintelligent” and that some of you will think that of me, but I really don’t care at all.
1. Become friends with someone different than you. I promise you will not regret it.
2. Use this unique time in life to discover your own views of God… not your parent’s, youth group leader’s, pastor’s, teacher’s, you get the point. Your own view, your own relationship. This might mean putting yourself around people/organizations with different views than you grew up with.
3. Develop your own view of alcohol, and if you decided you hate it, learn to love people who use it. No matter where you go in life people will drink, and I promise you will need to know how to love them.
4. Learn to communicate! Throw shyness aside and take a chance.
5. Live off campus (a house is best) with good friends. It is a BLAST and you learn a lot of life skills the dorm doesn’t teach you.
6. Don’t be a hermit. Go out! Go to socials (even stupid ones!)
7. Stay up late, but get your butt out of bed in the mornings… don’t sleep in until noon. Laziness is not attractive or good for you.
8. Go to class!!!
9. Skip class, but only for something really great, like a road trip, not because you didn’t get your homework done.
10. Find a friend to be ridiculous with in class, in whatever way that looks like… I’m not sharing my stores, make your own!
11. Take pictures. I didn’t take enough.
12. Go get wine and have fun with the girls. REMEMBER MODERATION. (Boys go get a nasty case of cheap beer I guess.)
13. Karaoke night is your friend, who cares if you can’t sing.
14. Let professors challenge your thinking and beliefs but don’t let them tear you apart.
15. Share what you believe in class, even if you think the class and the teachers will hate you for it.
16. Take a ridiculous class like bowling or poetry. They can be a blast!
17. Work out. I obviously didn’t work out nearly enough.
18. Call you family. All of them.
19. Do your homework!!!
20. Visit other colleges, even when you’re in college!
21. DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT WITH YOUR SUMMER. Don’t just get a boring summer job, go on a missions trip, or just a trip. Do something.
22. Make midnight trips to fast food restaurants with friends. Something fun always happens and the rest of your life you’ll be too tired and your metabolism won’t handle it well. Ha.
23. Find a home work buddy! Thanks Trevor Reeves for writing endless amounts of papers, preparing presentations with me, and help me study.
24. Be friends with the athletes if you can. It makes games a lot more fun, and student tickets are much cheaper than regular tickets.
25. Pranks. Do them.
26. Thrift shops. Go to them and play “What are the odds?”
27. Concerts. Go to some with friends.
28. Make a bucket list of ridiculous “college things” and make sure you do them all.
29. Find a teacher you really admire and get their help. In and out of class. Email them, visit them in their office, and stay in contact with them after college.
30. Spend time with God. He is your rock and you need him.
31. In every class ask yourself how God plays a role in what you’re learning about. I promise it will make class more interesting and if will give you a reason to care.
32. Put yourself in risky relationships. I don’t mean in relationships where men will abuse you. I mean try to be friends with the snobs and bitches. A friendship might not ever really develop, but you’ll learn to love, to listen, and you will learn a lot about yourself.
33. Get involved in an organization or two.
34. Learn to pray. Really pray.
35. Don’t be scared of showing emotion, just don’t overreact.
36. The cafeteria will always suck, if you can, go out instead.
37. Be friends with the freshman. You were just as annoying as them, and they need your love and guidance. (Make sure they STOP wearing their lanyard around their neck.)
38. Have conversations about God, even when you know someone doesn’t believe what you do.
39. Don’t be a slut. You’re better than that & I promise it will lead to trouble and drama that you shouldn’t want.
40. Work a job, but not more than you are in school or with friends.
41. Visit home frequently but not every single weekend.
42. Don’t be the person who walks into class 20 mins late wearing pajamas and sunglasses.
43. Always pull your weight in group projects.
44. Listen to music as loud as you want.
45. Stupid ideas make the best memories and strongest friendships.
46. GET OFF CAMPUS. Take advantage of the area around you, campus isn’t everything.
47. Be a kid. Parks are your friend, and Disney movies are the best.
48. Don’t waste money cruising around… that was fun in high school but you can walk now and spend money on food, fun, movies, and friends now.
49. READ. Not necessarily your textbooks, I know they are BORING, but always be reading a novel, the news, blogs, or magazines.
50. Learn how to glorify God in EVERYTHING you do, no matter where you are, because college is the most random time of life you will be in a lot of different situations with a lot of choices to make.
"Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
whose trust is the Lord.
He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
Lately I’ve been learning an a lot, but I’m going to be honest, I can’t put words to what all I have been learning. Yet, here I attempting.
Consistency. A word I hate. Mostly because I am horrible at it. I’m not consistent in my friendships. I friend hop. I’m not consistent with working out or dieting. I am not consistent with blogging. I’m not consistent with a sleep schedule. I’m not consistent with spending time with God.
Sure, I’ll do great at all of those things, for a while…but then I run away from whatever it is. I run like I will die if I don’t. I think partly because it means I will die.
Sounds odd, huh?
Well, you see, I’m scared to drop things because it’s when I find out their real importance. It’s when I find out if what I’ve built my life upon is true. If I am real. If I am really living.
In my previous post I said “being a dreamer cursed me.” It has to do with that. See, I’ve built my life on dreams. When I start out to do something I have a goal in mind. I have a future planned. I have a hope. A great hope, that I think will mean I am worth something. I am real. I am really living.
The issue is, at some point all of those things will have a risk. I would honestly rather not see the risk, because I’m scared it will fail me. What if I work so hard for nothing? What if I waste my time and miss out on real life? What if I really open up, and they see the real me then leave me? The thought alone makes me soul break, there is no way I could deal with the truth. I cannot be let down. So, I run.
I am not justifying what I do, but I have been let down before. I’ve had people hurt me, forget me, and my plans have been all for nothing… and as a result it is easier to not risk anything.
This leads to many different things:
1. Greater heart break. It means that everything will break me because NOTHING will work out because I won’t let it.
2. Fear. It is easy for me to fear life itself because dealing with risks means I might find out that what I have believed all along isn’t true. Do you realize the depths of that?
3. It means I expect nothing of God. Having a small view of God means he won’t let me down. Let me tell you, this is so wrong. Someone should slap me for how stupid I am.
4. I don’t trust anyone. I can’t have meaningful relationships with people because I can’t trust people. Well, let me rephrase that, I have meaningful relationships with people and trust them, but I leave before I can find out if they really trust me because I can’t take heart break. Then as a result they can’t have a meaningful relationship with and I’m left feeling alone, like they don’t care. So, a lot of times it seems like I am daydreaming. Creating relationships that aren’t really there. I sort of am, but I am sort of not. I know that a relationship is real to me and means the world to me, but they don’t know… there is zero communication.
You see, I’ve been learning something very key in the verses above. Verse seven says, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord.” See, I put my trust in the Lord, meaning that he would work all my dreams out for me, but my trust wasn’t the Lord. My trust was people, things, me, circumstances, dreams and in the Lord fulling them. My trust wasn’t the Lord who creates all of those things. I tried to become the creator, with a conveniently all-powerful friend. In case you are wondering, that’s not how things work.
I took this picture back in August and it’s a few miles from home. As I was reflecting on the meaning of making the Lord my trust, not just trusting him to complete what I want, I was reminded of this picture. I love trees, so I love going down to the river.
I love trees because they are beautiful. They help draw out the beautiful things around them. They bring shelter. They bring adventure. They bring in animals. They point to the greater things around them.
I want to be like those trees. I want to stay around, even when things get hard. As God teaches me what it is to make him my trust I’m seeing that I must die in order to live (The death of the sinful me, and the life of the new me, like Colossians 3 talks about.) I want to die, so that my life can point people towards him.
You see, two summers ago there was a really really bad fire near my home in the canyon around the river. A lot of trees burned. When I say a lot I mean MILES of trees. Miles of grass, but you know what was interesting? The grass burnt into nothing. Animals burnt into nothing. Houses burnt into nothing. Fences burnt into nothing. But there was two things that didn’t completely burn up. First, the river. The river was always there. Second, the trees. Even ones that burnt up are still there. They might be without leaves now, and even damaged so badly they will never fully “live” again, but they were mighty to withstand a year of drought and fire. They withstood all of that because they had roots in water. You know what else is interesting? We could cut down all of those trees, even try to uproot them, but we probably would never get all of the roots out, and someday new trees would appear… New trees with the same roots. The river kept those trees up.The river keeps trees alive, even when we don’t know they are there.
What are you trusting in?
How are you trusting in the Lord?
Is the Lord your trust?
Do you recognize the difference between trusting in the Lord and making the Lord your trust? I know I’m learning to, and I know it’s a lot harder than I thought, but I also know that it’s brought me moment of indescribable joy. Moments when I cry because I have so much joy I can’t speak, sing, dance, or move. Moments of so much joy that I can just be in tears of joy over things that seem silly and little and over things that are greater than I can understand.
You know what else I’ve discovered through this journey of learning to make the Lord my trust? I’ve learned that thankfulness is joy. I can’t seem to have one without the other. When I am joyful I am thankful, and what I’m thankful for brings me more joy. What a crazy cycle!
If I could rewind time I would. I would rewind to my senior year of high school. It was a dang good year. I had the world in front of me, and everything going for me. Of course, there were moments when I couldn’t wait to get out of there. I wanted some freedom. I wanted to become all I could be.
You have to realize I was a dreamer. I still am, but not in the same way. People say to dream big, and that its a blessing to be able to dream such great things and have real desire, but I’m not convinced. Being a dreamer left me alone and cursed. Being a dreamer cursed me.
When I say that I would rewind time to my senior year I don’t mean that I would stop time there. I would just relive the year. There are a few things I would do different. First, I would sing more. I let people push me out of music and I let people make me feel odd for loving it. I would sing more. I’d sing the National Anthem at every home game with more confidence. I also would have sang in more competitions, I made it into a lot of honor choirs and All State but didn’t do it because I felt like no one cared or believed in me. It was stupid. The second thing I would do is let people know I really cared about them and had hard Gospel conversations with some of my friends at good ole KPHS. The third thing I would do is I would keep a journal.
My last regret I will share with you in more detail, but first I want to show you some of the wonderful moments of my senior year.
I had a good year playing volleyball! After a hard spring and summer of knee surgery and physical therapy I was able to play without a brace, and even perfected my jump serve!
I got to sing at a lot of different school events. This was a fall concert.
Basketball. There’s a whole story as to why my senior year of basketball meant to so so much to me, but this blog post is already long enough. I’ve never worked so hard in my life.
There was a huge blizzard (nothing new) but this one left us without electricity for days. One night my sisters and I laid in the living room with every blanket we could find and for some reason we had the giggles and it was one of the most fun nights of my life.
I spent a lot of time pouring into and praying for Fee. I love her to death. She will never know what she meant to me, and how beautiful her soul is. I still love her dearly. Everyone thought she was a “trouble camper” but I saw something different.
Barbara became one of my best friends. She will never know what she’s meant to me, but there are a lot of moments in my life after high school that she pulled me through by just listening.
I was voted homecoming queen. I know to a lot of people homecoming is a stupid popularity contest, but to me it wasn’t. It meant the world to me because I really cared about the people in my school and a lot of times I felt like they didn’t care about me… this showed me differently.
I got to spend a lot of time with one of my best friends, Candace Joy! I love her, her husband Marcus, and sweet baby boy, Lucas. (They tell him I’m “Crazy Aunt Abbi” and they are right! I spoil that precious baby and I will encourage him to be crazy!)
Kelli also became one of my life long best friends. I can’t even begin to write about how much shes has done for me without crying. I love her and can tell her ANYTHING.
We had puppies, and Wyatt Dean and I would hold them and play with them for hours together. I love my baby brother to pieces. He has a great sense of humor, and is one of the most talented people on the face of the earth.
Alli was my (still is) precious baby sister. She loved taking silly pictures with me and crawling in bed with me at night to cuddle. I love her, and if anyone hurts her I’ll beat their ass. And no, I don’t feel bad about that language. Not when it comes to my family.
Gunnar, my older younger brother, taught me how to drive his dirt bike. I didn’t make it too far, and it was hilarious. He is one of my best friends ever and I love his stubborn butt to death!
Kylee is my sister. We are only a year and fifteen days apart. My senior years we went to different schools, but were still really close. She supported me in some really difficult moments my senior year and cheered me on. I love her so much, just talking on the phone with her cheers me up. I love her.
My last picture to share is of this man. He was the love of my life and a better boyfriend than I deserved. That’s all I have to say about that. He brought my soul healing in places I didn’t know it was broken.
You know what’s crazy? I am being modest in the memories and pictures I could share from my senior year. I really loved my senior year.
That year I felt more joy in my life than any other year. But remember what I said about being a dreamer is a curse? Well the moment my whole life changed was when I decided not to return to Camp Witness for the summer. If I could take that one single choice away I promise you my life would be different (that makes me sound like I served time in prison or something… ha!) That choice put me in a place where my outlook on life changed. That summer I made what seemed like small choices that completely changed the course of my life. I’m not going to explain all of those choices. I can’t go down that road. I can’t.
My point is simply that being a dreamer cursed me. If I could take that one choice back I would. It lead me down a road of believing there was more for me, and that what I had was a fairy tail. It lead me to a place where I would believe dreams were impossible, but unavoidable. A place where my dreams seemed like a trap I couldn’t run from. That choice took me to a place with no joy and no contentment.
I know, when I say that my life sounds horrible and like I need some serious help. BUT I know that God will work all these things out. He will, he is faithful. I’m not depressed. I just don’t always love my life and where it seems to be going, and I believe I sold myself short and thought at the time I was creating opportunities. I was deceived and it lead to a future of hurt, hardship, loneliness, and curses. Nonetheless there have been great moments of blessings, laughter, new friends, learning joy again, and intimate moments with God that I am very thankful for. It’s just hard to know that I made that choice, and that I left my dreams and some things that were gifts from God. The worst part is I left those dreams and they are somewhere between life and death, and all they do is haunt me.
Being a dreamer cursed me.
But someday I’ll be free from that curse. That is my hope. Christ is my freedom, he is my hope.