So another year has gone by, and I feel like there is still so much I want to do. Direct a play. Catch up on the newest season of Doctor Who. Riverdance.
It seems that at the end of every year, I have a list. A list of things that I had always meant to do that year, but didn’t. A few years ago, I discovered my addiction. I think it was around my junior year of high school when one of my friends found my planner, flipped it open, and found a chaotic mess.
Yes, stickynotes. My addiction to list-making has been a good source of laughs in recent years whenever someone has commented on the veritable deluge of neon slips of paper piled endlessly atop one another in my heroic five-by-seven journal. List-making, for me, has become an act of therapy, a process that allows to me to put all of my stresses down onto a single sheet of paper with corresponding boxes for checkmarks.
Identify targets. Plan attack. Divide and conquer.
Last week, however, my list honestly didn’t make me feel so good. Like many of my fellow classmates at school, I had what seemed to be a ridiculous amount of work to do. With multiple research papers, final projects, summer planning exercises, next-semester preparations, and multiple term exams all taking place in the span of six days, my one-ounce sheet of college-ruled notebook paper seemed like a virtually impossible weight to bear.
But my schedule last week is not the point of this post. By the Grace of God, I made it through the past month, and while I don’t think I’ve even fully processed it yet, I can’t believe the year is over. But I guess I shouldn’t be so surprised, right? I mean, I’ve learned a lot this year. I finally learned what I want to study. Someone finally showed me the whispering arch at Sever Hall. I finally figured out that “early to bed, early to rise” actually works.
In all seriousness, though, I’ve also forgotten a lot. So many times this year when I encountered obstacles, my first response was to panic. Whether that panic resulted in mini freak-out sessions in my room, emotional eating in the dining hall, or prolonged procrastination bouts on YouTube, my outlets for my stress were ultimately unfulfilling. Every time, though, God would bring me through it, and I would rejoice and share about how awesome He is, and make a mental note about how I should never have worried at all in the first place.
And then, I’d forget. The next time something difficult came up, it’d be the same deal. Freak-out. God’s rescue. Epiphany! Freak-out. God’s rescue. Epiphany! Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
The pattern gets pretty old after a while. While I’m so thankful for God’s Grace and His victories, it’s frustrating how often I seem to be in need of a reminder of His faithfulness. For all the wonderful things God has done in my life and for all the trials He’s brought me through, it seems that my Trusting-in-God muscle memory should be better than it is.
God really is so amazing, though. He’s rescued me from so much, and I thank Him that He’s working in my life not only through the tangible impossibilities He brings me through, but also the growing recognition of the peace that’s available in trusting Him with every facet of my life. Hopefully in the future, I can skip the freak-out mode and go straight to rejoicing. After all, to rejoice isn’t a suggestion. It’s a command:
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ.”
–1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
I know that there will be trials in this life, but God gives us power and strength by allowing us to draw on His. And I think that’s something worth rejoicing about.
So I know my post this time around has been more a collection of thoughts than anything else, but I just wanted to end with a verse that really spoke to my heart this week.
Psalm 118: 5 “I cried to the Lord in my anguish, and He answered by setting me free.”
It’s so great to know that true freedom is found in Christ, and that He gives it freely to His children. Reflecting on this year has only served to reinforce my confidence that no matter the burden—from academic woes to personal sorrows— God is able to deliver us. His love endures forever. Whether I’m learning it for the seventh time or relearning it for the seven-hundredth time, God’s Grace will be enough. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom!
And that’s something I don’t need a stickynote for.