The Reality of Being a Christian with Anxiety

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March 2, 2018

Every Monday and Wednesday morning at 8:17, the Park N Ride bus in Westlake pulls out and heads for downtown Cleveland. Every Monday and Wednesday, I am on that bus, earbuds in, more than likely blasting TWICE to drown out the jitters that creep in my stomach. It’s never easy to get on that bus, but I don’t complain, because I feel less anxiety getting on the bus than getting in my car to drive the 22 miles to Cleveland State.

I’m always afraid that I’m going to miss my stop. It’s the second to last stop on the route and there are other CSU students on the bus, so it’s incredibly unlikely that I will ever miss my stop. However, that’s anxiety for you. It’s hovering every minute, waiting for something to go wrong, no matter the day or time. If nothing goes wrong, then it creates something. If something does go wrong, then it’s choruses of “I told you so” dancing around my brain. You would think that by now I would have found a way to shut it down, but nothing works for long.

I turn to music. I turn to studying. I turn to YouTube. I turn to reading. I turn to daydreams. I turn to printing pages from Google Images and coloring them in my journal. Speaking of, I turn to journaling. Recently, I started watching Panda Cams at the Atlanta Zoo and the Smithsonian National Zoo in D.C. (I have a theory that pandas would give great hugs and make great service animals. You know, if they weren’t so big.)

Did you notice something that wasn’t on my list?


On my list, I didn’t put that I turn to God. Because, honestly, that’s not my first instinct. Trust me, I do that, but it truly isn’t my first instinct. My first instinct is to turn away, to hide (fight v. flight). I have quite the habit of hiding.

This flight feeling or desire to hide has become such a numb feeling that I hardly even think about it anymore. I do what I have to do, and when I’m finally able to leave the triggering place, everything feels okay again.

I have had people say to me before, “Can’t you just pray the anxiety away and feel better?” “Can’t you just read scripture and feel better?”

Yes, I can pray and I can read scripture and find comfort in it. But no, it does not make me “better” and it does not fix what I’m feeling. Only leaving the situation makes me feel normal again. I do mix in a bit of Jesus with a pinch of coloring and a whole lot of good music and feel hopeful again, but it’s hard when my brain wants to shut down. The whole thing is a strange obstacle course that even now I’m having trouble fully describing.

* * *

The reality of being a Christian with anxiety is that it’s not easy. Some might think that because I believe in and love Jesus that that alone makes anything I’m feeling irrelevant or can instantly make those feelings go away. It doesn’t. It just doesn’t work like that.

My faith in Jesus does, however, give me hope that I will able to continue to challenge myself and grow to live a great life where anxiety doesn’t hold me back. I keep that in mind with every decision I make and every hope I have for the future. I know I won’t be able to do anything apart from Him, especially overcome this anxiety.

Someone recently told me that it’s good that I am challenging myself with big goals to achieve that anxiety wants to hold me back from. That statement changed the way I look at every day. I now look at every day as a challenge. Every day that I complete, that I conquer, and even days that I am the loser, is a step forward. And Jesus is dragging walking me through all of them.

* * *

I’ve been in this strange mindset since I finished the fall semester at BGSU. I have felt so broken since coming home from BGSU. Some days I feel like I’m watching myself go through the motions of the day, like a parallel universe Emily is experiencing things and I’m not. Going there really turned and twisted me all up and I’m still working on the untwisting. I have a feeling I’ll be working on it for a while. For some reason though, I think that I had to go to BGSU and get all twisted up. I learned a lot going there, and I’m learning a lot in this recovery stage.

I have a cake metaphor here for what I’ve learned (because who doesn’t love cake?):

At the beginning of Fall 2017, I thought I had the correct ingredients to make a great cake. So, I put the cake in the oven and turned the heat to 350 degrees. I waited patiently, or so I thought I had. But when it came out, it was flat, it was cracked, it was dry. It wasn’t the fluffy cake with perfectly golden edges that I expected. Looking back, I hadn’t taken the time to check my ingredients. I had too much pride and not enough love for myself. I had a less than adequate amount of focus on what I wanted instead of what I needed. Now I know: you have to take the time to check each ingredient – ensure it’s the correct one, the correct brand, the correct amount – or else your cake will be less than desirable.

I’m starting over. I’m entering the kitchen, albeit hesitantly, gathering my ingredients, and I’m slowly adding each one. I have great opportunities ahead of me. I have great people around me. And I have a great God who loves me endlessly. I’m confident in this cake and I’m confident that it will be everything I want it to be, a little of what I don’t want it to be, and so much more than I thought it could be.

Romans 5:3-5: More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.


On Being Better

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December 29, 2017

It’s that time of year again. The time of year where everyone comes home from college and you receive those, “When do you go back? Let’s grab coffee!” texts. During those coffee dates you get to listen to the other person tell you about their semester: the grades, the new friendships, the wacky dining hall food, or the personal growth they experienced while imaginary knives were thrown at them from secret ninjas on all sides. And then you get to tell them (along other things, of course) how much you studied for this one particular class because it was the most difficult class EVER and you’re so glad the semester is over and to be in their company sipping a caramel macchiato.

I want to turn the tables a little bit.

Last year I posted a goodbye to 2016 where I told you all of the things I did and my top songs of the year along with some pictures. I remember thinking that I would do that for the next few years, more for me than for anyone else. But this year, I can’t do that.

When I think back on this year, I see one color: gray. It describes the entire year, from the first day until the last. There were some days when it was an eggshell white, but all whites lead to gray in my book. So I want to reflect with myself on this year. I want to be on both sides of the table at Starbucks with a hot caramel macchiato and an iced caramel macchiato (because they’re great both ways!). And I want to tell myself that everything that happened is okay, and that we are moving on from it.

Imagine: the beginning of the conversation. Greetings, some small talk, but let’s get right down to it. First, the highs…

I think if I could pick out one high point from this year, it would be one that was reoccurring throughout 2017. It was every time I got to be with my best friends. Every sleepover or shopping trip or binge-watching YouTube for hours on end. We changed a car battery! (Okay, Toni changed a car battery.) We watched some movie about cheese that I totally fell asleep during! We shopped until our feet hurt and went to a Korean restaurant for the first time! We did crafts with glitter and melted crayons! We wandered around Petitti Garden Center and JCPenney and the mall! These days are ones that tend to blur together, but what I will always remember is that I was with them and that I laughed until my stomach hurt.

And next, the lows…

The lowest point was realizing that I was pulling away from people and therefore relationships fell apart. I lost a great friendship because I was distant and fighting with myself so much that I shut down and was not willing to let that person in. I said a lot of mean things to people, a lot of ignorant statements when I felt like I was defending myself or something that I thought was important. I pushed some more people away, some family members this time. My mindset has been ‘Me vs. Everyone Else’.

I couldn’t talk about my feelings to anyone in a serious matter. It wasn’t until I was stuck with myself for hours on end in a tiny dorm room, too anxious to walk to a dining hall to eat that I realized I had probably hit a wall. It was a big brick wall that had no footholds and I had no ability, no tools to climb it. So I went home and this past month has been the worst and the best all combined into one.

In conclusion…

I’m starting over again at a new university and I couldn’t be more terrified. But I’m working on it. I’m taking steps to get my brain into a better place, and that’s what’s most important to me. I want to be better.

And that’s where I am.

And the one with the iced caramel macchiato says:

I think that’s a great place to be! Everything you experienced this year is worth remembering because it led to that mindset of being better. It’s good that you hit that wall. Why do you think God put that there? Look where you’re going… Everything’s okay the way it is.

And it is. Everything is okay.

The “new year, new me!” sayings are coming (brace yourselves). How many of us will say that but won’t actually stick to a “new me”? I’m not sure what a “new me” would look like for me anyhow…

Instead of “new year, new me” I’m saying “new year, new chance to be better“. The new year is a chance to get better, mentally, physically, emotionally. It’s a fresh set of days and months that I haven’t written on or scribbled on or wiped from my memory yet. It’s a time to not just say I’m new because the year is. I don’t want to be new, because 2017 was a whole big life lesson written on a huge sticky note and stuck to my forehead, with me no matter what I do. I want to carry it with pride (that I’m honestly going to be searching for) and a drive to not make the same mistakes that are written in red ink on the yellow note.

I don’t want to be new, I want to be me, but better. Not just in 2018, but beyond, in 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022 and so on. There’s always room for improvement. Even if you think you’re at your best and nothing can take you down (I learned that the hard way). Sometimes your own mind is your worst enemy. It’s okay to be at war with yourself. Just remember what you learned after the battle. Remember that you can always be better.

When It Feels Like You’re Standing at the Edge of the World


December 5, 2017

These past two months I thought every day about taking my blog off the internet. Since I pressed publish on that last post I kept thinking, “This is pointless. I have nothing to say.”

I didn’t tell anyone I was thinking about it. I didn’t tell anyone that I felt like I knew nothing about the world and had absolutely no merit for writing anything on here ever again. I thought maybe I should just start writing about how much I love k-pop or how cute elephants are. (I could write essays on those topics for DAYS.)

I keep feeling this desire for more; to write more, to explore more, to know more about everything. And then I just hit this wall. I don’t know where this wall comes from or what triggers it but I hit it and I feel like there is nothing more, like I’ve done everything  I am and ever will be capable of.

What do I do now? What do I do when suddenly my plan has faltered and my brain is in shambles?

From eighth grade until the beginning of my sophomore year of college, I have been utterly terrified of time. I used to think that as each day came, it would hold some sort of fresh hell waiting for me. I used to think that each minute was too long and when that minute was up, time would raise its big ugly hand and spiral me into a war zone of another hour. I’ve gotten better and realizing time is just a thing, and it’s okay that it keeps going. But…

Through all of high school, I was waiting and waiting and waiting for one day, one set of 24 hours, 1,440 minutes, 86,400 seconds. I was waiting for graduation day, thinking that as soon as it came, things would be better. I would be better.

As most of you know, I struggled with a heck of a lot of anxiety all throughout high school. I took college classes online in order to get out of the building and away from the people. In my mind, high school was chaotic (read: a war zone) and it certainly wasn’t anything like the movies make it look. They made it look good, a place where you are excited to go, a place where you make all of the friends in the world. Or maybe my expectations were just a tad too high.

“Things” aka my anxiety/crazy brain did not get better the day after graduation (and they certainly haven’t gotten better being away AT college). I think I expected an elf to show up at my door with a jar of gold, throw confetti, and say, “You’re free!! Nothing will ever make you anxious again!! You’re cured!!” Alas, this elf does not exist, and I am still as – if not more – anxious than I was in high school.

If I’m being honest, I think I’m still waiting for that day. Days keep passing, bringing me to BGSU and taking me away, and some days are okay, but most of them have been a vicious cycle of anxious mornings leading me to bed at 9pm. And through all of that, I’m still exactly the same. I still wake up wondering what I could possibly do that day to make my presence worthwhile. I still go to bed happy that the little voices in my brain will shut up for a few hours. I still wait for a day when I won’t only look forward to going to bed at 9pm, but instead go to sleep excited for a new day.

As for the new “everything will be better then” day my brain has chosen? College graduation. What a vicious cycle.

I’ve been pushing myself to get better, have been trying to find a life path that will make me feel like it’s worth getting up in the morning. Maybe I’ve found it, but then again, what if it doesn’t work? What if nothing works?

What if I’m writing this and you’re reading this and thinking I’m completely crazy? (You’re probably right.)

I feel like I’m standing at the edge of the world. Nothing has gone the way I thought it was going to. My view of myself and my choices has drastically changed since August. I thought I would graduate with a degree in English from BGSU. But now, I find myself looking Cleveland State University in the eye. I’m not mad or upset about this, but it’s frustrating when your plans don’t unfold. I feel as if I’ve been pushed to the edge, humbled, and asking what now?

I’ve decided to keep this blog going because while I certainly have nothing figured out, I keep thinking, “maybe somebody else feels this way, too”. And if that’s the case, then posting this is worth it, feeling like this and writing about it, is worth it. I’m standing at the edge of the world, and I’m hoping you’ll journey with me into 2018 ready for anything. Ready for our plans to be a little more than messed up and ready for whatever God has planned.

I can honestly say that I am as ready as I ever will be.

Pulling Back the Curtain

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October 7, 2017

When I walk across campus every single day, I am always struck with a thought that takes over my brain. It doesn’t matter if I’m heading to my 9:30am German language class or if I’m heading back to my room at 10:00pm from a Korean club meeting. I always have my earbuds in, have those good jams playing, and have this one thought:

Every single person you see has their own thing going on. They’ve got problems to deal with, papers to turn in, exams to take, best friends to tell about their day, family back home that they miss, dreams and goals to achieve, and their own thoughts running through their head. Sometimes I wonder who they’re texting or what song they’re listening to. But mostly I just get hit with the strange realization that we’re all human beings, and we’re all alive.

It’s silly, and if I think about it too much, I get frustrated. Of course we’re all alive, of course we all have thoughts, but it just seems so incredible to me when I walk across campus and this thought hits me. It makes me want to stop them and ask them about their day, their lives, their goals, why they chose BG of all places. I don’t, of course, because I can barely speak to people I’ve known for years, but there’s still that part that wishes I could.

I’ve been working on a novel idea that I’ve had for too many years now. It’s taken me a while to connect things up and get inside the heads of my characters, so recently I decided to just jump in and get to their cores. I wanted to see them raw and know everything I possibly could about them. It occurred to me then that we are all characters in this strange, strange world. Our personality shows in our taste in music. It shows in our strengths and weaknesses. It in our choice of major/minor. Maybe it’s just me, but it’s fascinating to think about these other people as we pass by each other. It makes me think about my own self and how being away at college has impacted me.

BG’s campus is a wonderful place. It’s full of wonderfully strange people who are just all over the board with their interests. I joined Korean club the second week I got to BG. In the first meeting, I was so thrilled to find out that these people were just as excited about Got7 as I was. Then I joined the Cross Cultural Conversation Connection and was so proud of myself for putting myself out there and making friends with people from other places. That club gives me LIFE, y’all. It’s amazing, and has only strengthened my desire to teach abroad, and given me the confidence that it’s worth doing. Little by little, I’ve been pulling back the curtain and letting myself be outwardly confident with my interests, instead of the very inward, closed-off shell I had adopted.

I do not love Bowling Green State University. I do not think the campus is the most beautiful and the weather certainly isn’t cloudless every day. I truly thought at one point that it mattered how many trees the campus had, and how new or architecturally beautiful the buildings were. But I’ve realized that it’s not about the beauty in the world, it’s the beauty in the people. That beauty is worth putting yourself out there for. Looking back, it was worth the anxiety I had before my first Cross Cultural Conversation Connection meeting. In that meeting, I met and spoke to people from China, Nigeria, Iran, Japan, and so many other places in the world. And y’all, that was incredible. It was so, so worth opening myself up to.

Going away to college is nothing like I expected it to be, and I’m so glad it’s not. I’ve been doing the best that I can at BG to get up every morning and not fear the people I’m going to pass on the sidewalk. I’ve been doing the best that I can to be nice to everyone that I meet. As an introvert who has never wanted much to do with people, I can say it’s exhausting for me. As an introvert who wants to do better, I can say it’s exhilarating for me. It’s opening up my world and changing the way I see the days before me. The day I moved in to my dorm BGSU my dad told me that my life would never be the same again. I didn’t realize the magnitude of the statement then, but I think about it almost every day.

True words have never been spoken.

Capital-R Reality

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September 2, 2017

Today’s weather just gives me that kind of gloomy feeling, you know? It’s raining, it’s chilly, it’s cloudy, and thus, I’ve been wearing pajamas all day long (I ain’t even mad). As per usual, I’ve spent the day thinking a lot: about my two weeks at BGSU (and what’s to come), about Christmas music, and about chicken paprikash. Only one of those three things is really important right now. I bet you’re thinking it’s the chicken paprikash, but alas, it’s not.

I got an email today saying I had been accepted into a club at BGSU that I’m really excited about! It was something I had found out about before classes started and had a great amount of interest in, so I was really hoping to join when I got to BG. However, as soon as I read that email, my stomach dropped and my good old demon-friend called anxiety snaked back into my veins.

For the past year I think I have been under the impression that I am cured, that I no longer carry that anxiety burden on my shoulders. I thought this because this past year didn’t challenge me or put me in any situation that caused anxiety. So when it started creeping back in towards the end of the summer, I was convinced I could beat it in this one-legged potato sack race. (Spoiler alert: I’m currently in last place.)

The thing about this anxiety is that it never goes away. It just presents itself differently depending on the situation I’m faced with. If I really wanted to, I could sit down and pinpoint every small appearance it made this past year when I was at LCCC. I think it’s more important that I pinpoint what’s causing it today, right this second, and what the biggest trigger is. Unfortunately, when I figured out my biggest trigger, I realized it is nothing that I can ever change.

My biggest trigger is people. Anything to do with people: meeting new people, talking to people, speaking in front of people, making eye contact with people, walking when people are within a few inches of me, walking when/where people can see me, standing in large crowds of people, sharing rooms with people, people entering a room that I’m in, etc. etc. To put it all together in one word for you: people.

It is a never ending list, my friends. *Social Anxiety takes a bow*

In my head, I thought it would be so exciting to join this club. (Disclaimer: I still think it will be, but it will take a while for me to get there.) I thought I could walk right into that room and own it. In my head, I thought things would be easy away at college, mostly because I hadn’t felt any strong anxiety this past year. Again, I thought I was “cured”. There’s a huge difference between what I thought joining clubs would be like in my head and what it actually is like.

I didn’t expect to be so anxious when I moved in to my dorm at BGSU. I thought I would be able to handle things and that nothing could touch me. Basically, I was blind and fearless. (Here’s the part where I can easily see God picking me up and dropping me back to capital-R Reality.) That’s not quite how it works.

I am anxious before every class, before every extra curricular activity that I attend, before every meal that I eat in the dining hall, while I walk down the hall of my dorm, while I’m walking across campus, and when I speak to my roommates/classmates/any other living human that isn’t my best friend. It’s a constant thing that I haven’t been able to kick. And it’s definitely not what I expected.

I feel pretty naive for thinking that things would go a different way. I experienced a very similar anxiety exactly three years ago during my junior year of high school. I guess I thought it was a high school thing and would go away as soon as I got out of that building. And it did, for a while – when I was sitting in a season of stagnation. I have quickly figured out that each new challenge (that brings more people) brings on a whole new wave of fear for me.

I’m definitely not sitting in a season of stagnation any longer.

Nobody told me going away to college would be easy. I’ve heard that it would be good for me, that it would expand my horizons, that it would change me. I think all of those things are true, and I can already see them happening. Anxiety is my hurdle. It’s the thing making me change in drastic ways and pushing me to always be better. I used to be angry at God and ask Him why He made me like this. While I do still ask Him that in my lowest moments, I feel as if I have a small sense of the answer, and for now, that’s enough for me to thank Him for this hurdle. It pushes me and challenges me and brings me face to face with God every single time. That is always enough.

I’m still figuring out the small details of this new anxiety, but I’ve decided to greet it as if it’s an old friend, not a big bully. I definitely won’t greet it with a smile most days, but I think I am doing the best that I can. I’m attending those extra curricular activities no matter how sweaty my hands are or how shaky my legs are. I’m attending them like I’ve done it a million times and it’s the easiest thing in the world. As of right now, prayer and a false sense of fearlessness are my solution. Fake it til you make it, right? 😉

Surviving Opening Weekend

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August 20, 2017

Y’all. I did a thing.

This thing is a normal thing that an elephant-ton of students who have just graduated high school do every single year. Many of them do it without any qualms, without any terrible anxiety that sometimes takes away their ability to make eye contact with other humans. What a way to live that would be, eh?

Five short months ago, my mom would ask me every single day how I wanted to achieve my Bachelor’s degree after receiving my Associate’s degree from LCCC. I put it off and put it off until I couldn’t any longer. At the time, I was faced with three options:

  1. Online schooling to get my Bachelor’s in English.
  2. A partnership program with LCCC that may or may not be there by fall 2017.
  3. Go away to university.

When I looked at my options, all I could see was the negatives that came with each. Online schooling – Lack of social interaction; But then again, did I really want that? Partnership program – At the time, it wasn’t confirmed that the program would come to LCCC’s list of Bachelor programs. It was uncertain, and I was afraid of that. Go away to university – Live in a dorm with community bathrooms and have to social a heck of a lot more than I was used to – and that I wasn’t sure I could handle.

So as I looked at these options, I had to force myself to look at the positives of each. Online schooling – Work full time, have less debt because of full time job, and, basically, stay directly in the middle of my comfort zone. Partnership program – Take the chance, stay at LCCC, and, again, stay directly in the middle of my comfort zone. Go away to university – Experience a life different than the one I had been living, meet new friends, prove to myself that there’s more to the meek girl who can’t start a conversation because she’s afraid of the ways it could go wrong.

Going away is the middle of the ocean – the waves are rough and I’m all alone. My comfort zone is the nice, dry beach that I can’t quite see from the middle of the ocean. Something in me pushed me to decide that I wanted to be one of those fearless kids who goes out and tackles the world, someone who has bigger goals than just getting the degree. Maybe it was the fact that a part of me was so incredibly sick of being afraid of everything or maybe God stirred a new dream inside of me that I didn’t know was there. I think it was a combination of the two, but whatever it was, it led me here to opening weekend at BGSU.

Thursday: Yay!! I’m on my own!

They tell you that moving in is the hard part, but I beg to disagree. Moving in is easy, saying goodbye to your family is the real hard part. I was surprisingly mellow, and I didn’t cry at all. But it did come as quite a shock to me later that day when the anxiety rushed in and nobody that I knew well or was comfortable with was within 95 miles of me. I had to call my mom for that one, and while we spoke, it became clear to me that this whole moving into college thing is good for my anxiety. It’s pushing me to be better, to fight harder, and to learn to control it when it sneak attacks. (I’ll be honest, the last one may take me a little bit longer to tackle, but we will get there.)

The Falcon Frenzy was as overwhelming as it sounds, but with roommates turned new friends, we survived it together, leaving with headaches and exhaustion from the long day. It was worth going to, but man, I really hope I never have to be packed into a room with that many people ever again.

Friday: Must I really go to this??

The thing about being a transfer student is that you are merged and meshed and boxed in with the freshman. Everything is “Welcome Class of 2021!” or “Freshman, you can expect this and that in your classes, etc. etc.” The list goes on and on. They could probably come up with something better for transfer students, getting rid of two-hour long meetings that are full of information I have already heard more times than I need, and silly games that make me feel so uncomfortable I wish I could melt into the ground. The amount of times I have felt like I was at a summer camp instead of college today is borderline ridiculous. However, I am thankful for a leader who is easy to talk to and excited about BGSU in general. But if I have to play one more ice-breaker game… *melts into ground*

I haven’t quite felt myself these past two days, but as I was jamming out to some good music in my room all by myself, I started to feel like me. I didn’t feel confused or out of place amongst a sea of people, just comfortable and me. And this is why we sometimes need to blow off dinner and opt for leftover chicken in the room. Because sometimes finding me in a zone that isn’t anywhere near comfort is the most important thing.

Saturday: The struggle is real.

I can definitely say that there were many people who didn’t think I would actually go away to college. Looking back at the summer, I see the many times that my brother asked me if I was really going and the look on my co-worker’s face when it was time for me to leave the library. Even my own parents didn’t think I would do it. A part of me thought that by the time it arrived, I would chicken out and play a card that said, “You can do other things than go away to college!!” But I didn’t, and here I am. It’s 2pm on a Saturday in Bowling Green, Ohio, and I’ve had more panic attacks today and yesterday than I have had in the past year. Each new rolling wave of anxiety brings me down to the lowest place, somewhere I haven’t truly been since my junior year of high school. (Maybe there’s something about me being a junior? …) I’m not gonna lie, this is the hardest thing I have ever done, and even as I’m writing this, I want to quit. I want to go home to my comfort zone, to my bookshelves and my dog and my room where everything is mine. And I could, I could do that. But thanks to the friends that are the stand in for the logical voice in my brain that’s missing, I’m deciding to stay. I’m deciding to pray, pray, pray that it gets better and that the anxiety will let me eat, let me sleep by the time classes start on Monday.

On the other hand, I’m very thankful for parents who are willing to drive out here to help me feel better. After a few panic attacks in the early morning, my parents drove out here to hook up my TV, take me out to eat – the first thing I had eaten all day – and let me know that I can do this. I truly couldn’t ask for better parents. ❤

Sunday: The Best Way to Cheer Up is…

Skyping with your family and helping your best friend move in to her dorm. I woke up early this morning with a stomach ache that I thought would set the whole day. However, it turns out that the morning doesn’t always set the tone for the afternoon and evening. This day hasn’t been the easiest, but the best part of life is that there are really awesome people who can change my mood in an instant. I’m nervous for classes to begin, but it’s not the kind of nervousness I felt Saturday. It’s more of a regular nervousness that everyone experiences on the first day of school each year.


The biggest thing I have learned from this weekend is this: Time will continue to pass and no amount of anxiety will make it stop. In those moments of fear, I did the best that I could. I smiled as big as my cheeks would allow, and I made friends, too. I wasn’t a social butterfly, but that’s okay, because that’s just not me. For me, I did the best that I could. And that seems to be the key to things lately. I’m doing the best that I can, and I can’t ask for anything more from myself. I survived opening weekend, and now there are bigger battles to face. This introverted, socially anxious college student is as ready as she will ever be. Let’s go, BGSU. 🙂

The Boyfriend You’re “Supposed” to Have

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July 16, 2017

How well do you remember junior high? Let me refresh your memory: It was a time when hormones were raging, boys didn’t know what showers were, and girls gossiped about each other in the bathroom stalls. It was a time when girls and guys realized that the opposite sex didn’t actually have cooties like they had been led to believe. And that moment, that small minuscule moment, is the realization that changed all of our lives.

In seventh grade I had a crush that lasted just about the whole school year. I remember seeing him for the first time and talking to him for the first time, and that feeling of oh-my-goodness-he’s-looking-at-me. I remember girls in middle and high school who were dating this guy then that guy and saying “oh-my-goodness-I’m-in-love-with-this-guy.” They made it their lives in middle school and high school. Everything was second to that guy and those feelings.

Truthfully? (I promise to only give you the truth here.) Truthfully, I haven’t felt the feelings of having a crush for quite some time. But I haven’t forgotten them. I think once you feel those things it’s hard to let them go. They are exhilarating and as every Taylor Swift song ever mentions, they are everything. Or, rather, they become everything. I mean, she made a career out of those feelings, didn’t she?

Here’s my thesis: What happens when those feelings aren’t everything? What do our lives look like when that isn’t the main focus?

It’s almost my junior year of college, I’ve never dated a guy, and truthfully, finding a guy has never been my main focus. In middle school I thought maybe I could be one of those girls who dated a guy or two, but I only thought that because my friends were meeting guys and it was all they talked about. Then high school came around and after a while, it was almost nothing to me. I had the best friends anyone could ask for and my introverted personality made it easy for me to prefer staying in on a Friday night rather than going out. However, a part of me always felt like I was expected to meet my future husband before graduation.

(This is the part where I want you to pause and imagine that I’m sitting next to you rolling my eyes and sighing so loud it might actually be my final breath leaving my body. Okay, take a deep breath, let’s refocus. This is the good part. I’m digging deep here, nothing but truth. You ready?)

The things you learn about yourself and about your true, not-influenced-by-anyone-else goals and desires after high school graduation is astounding. Suddenly there isn’t a whole class of people who you want to know your name. Suddenly there isn’t anybody but you, and you’ve got to figure out what you want for yourself. For me, that included staying home from college and taking apart and rebuilding myself everyday. I’m not kidding. Everyday there was something new about myself that tacked on or something old that withered away. I cried more than I’d like to admit, but every tear was worth it. And guess what? Not a single one of those days involved me looking for the love of my life. In my mind, there was no boyfriend that I was “supposed” to have.

Ladies, I don’t think there is ever going to be a time in your life where you are not expected to have or be looking for a boyfriend (except maybe birth – 12 years old). We are supposed to find this guy who “completes us” and maybe “supports us” (usually in a financial way). We are supposed to fall in love just as the rain begins to fall, giggling as we huddle under the same umbrella. Truthfully? I don’t think it happens like that.

The point of this post isn’t to tell you how it happens, because I don’t know. And when (if) I do, you’ll probably read about it right here on this blog. But for now, I want to tell you that the boyfriend you’re “supposed” to have is all in society’s head. If he isn’t standing at your front door repeatedly pressing the doorbell (probably already driving you insane), then that should be okay. It’s completely okay to function as a single bean. You should rebuild yourself and tear it apart and maybe even pray for that future husband if you feel inclined. You should love your friends and the family you have to the greatest capacity and try to be at peace with where you are right now. To all of our dismay, this future husband probably won’t come riding in on the back of a white horse to save you from a fire-breathing dragon. (But, hey, if there’s a fire-breathing dragon chasing after you, then it’s probably God who will do the saving.)

Society continues to tell us that we are supposed to spend every single moment of our lives looking for this long lost soulmate. We’re supposed to be on a crowded train one day when all of a sudden we look up and time stops because there he is – tall, blonde, handsome, and waiting for you with a bouquet of roses. Suddenly, everything is perfect and we are overcome with this rushing happiness that ends all sadness and gives us everything we’ve been missing.

(This is another part where I want you to picture me sitting next to you and sighing. Don’t forget the eye roll!)

I feel as if this is the thing we’ve been taught since middle school: To go after them, to make them want us, for us to want them. It’s become our main focus, pushing away what really should be our main focus. We all like to believe in fairytales and Prince Charming, but when it becomes our only goal or we’re under the impression that it’s the only thing that’s going to make us happy, we need to stop and reevaluate. Right now, at this moment, in this season of singleness, there is no boyfriend that you are supposed to have. Yep, you read that right. If you were supposed to have him right now, he would be there. When the time comes, God will send him in, maybe or maybe not riding on the back of a white horse towards your balcony. (Sometimes you have to save yourself first.)

Life doesn’t start when you fall in love with your future spouse. (Disclaimer: A part of it does, a section or chapter, if you will. Again, I wouldn’t actually know.) From what I’ve learned, the good part, the beefy part of life begins when you fall in love with God then, in turn, fall in love with yourself. Life begins when you fall in love with God and take the path that He has laid for you. The path isn’t always the easiest to find, I’ll tell you that, but each small step is worth it. God’s path always has the best thing waiting at the end – especially if it’s just Him standing there. Especially.

Truthfully? When I was in middle and high school, I thought I would never get married because guys weren’t falling over me. They didn’t notice me or think I was desirable. The only thing they wanted from me? Homework answers. Yeah. Ouch. I thought that because guys weren’t falling over me I was “defective” in some way.

But friends, the Lord has totally and completely changed my heart. I know now for a fact that I’m not defective. There’s not a single guy on this planet who could tell me I’m defective and then hear me say, “You’re right.” If a guy would’ve said that to me in high school, I would have agreed without a doubt in my mind. Today? No way, no thanks, good day, sir. I know a love far greater than what any human is capable of. And that love has proven to me that “defective” doesn’t even come close making the list of things that describe me.

In conclusion, I really don’t know anything except that God’s love is greater than this “supposed-to-be” boyfriend. It’s a weird topic, isn’t it? I wrote something similar to this just last year, but I still don’t feel like I’ve covered it in any way. I still feel like there’s so much to unpack here. I know this has been a long post, so if you take anything at all away from this post, please take this: You can’t control when or where or how you fall in love. But you can control how you live the days leading up to that love. Believe in yourself, your strength, your heart, your goals. Most importantly, believe in a God who will pull you through even when that “supposed-to-be-boyfriend” isn’t there. That’s what’s most important.