Monday, October 7, 2013

Invest. Invest. Invest.

I keep forgetting I have a blog. I think it was one of those "everyone is doing it" things that I just had to join in on during high school. But high school is over now. Woah. Just saying that feels weird. I'm in college. Like adult-status here. Yeah, still doesn't sound right.

I've been in college for about 2 months now. What a learning experience it has been. I have already grown in so many ways. It is very, very hard being 8-9 hours away from home. I get jealous when my sister talks about the things she is doing back at NRCA or when she tells me the latest activity that is planned for the youth group. But I have to remember that God has me here for a reason. And to be honest, I wouldn't trade where I am at for the world. Cedarville is a wonderful place for me. It's not perfect, no college is. But God had in His plan to put me here.

Having said that, I have been thinking a lot about high school and the things that I did (and didn't do) throughout those years. Senior year was probably one of the best years of my life. The friendships that grew stronger, the hilarious memories, and what God taught me are things that will stay with me forever.

But it wasn't all fun and games at first. I wasted the first semester of my senior year. I had this mentality that because in just a little under a year I was moving far away, I did not have to pursue intentional relationships with anyone. I could stay in the ones I was in of course, but I could not grow deeper or make new ones. That was not an option in my head. So what did I do? I covered up what I was actually doing. I became busy. Teaching a Sunday school class here, volunteering there, you name it, I did it. I blamed others for not making me feel included when really I was the one being superficial.

Thankfully, someone loved me enough to slap me upside the head. She simply challenged me to think about my relationships with others as I went to ATL to visit family over Christmas break. When I was in ATL, it all clicked. Just because I was moving to Ohio in a few short months did not mean I had to cut everyone off or out.

So I challenged myself. I asked God to help me be truly intentional in my relationships; whether I had known the person for years, or had just met them. This decision made all the difference. Granted, I could not do it on my own strength. God was so active in it. Being able to talk to girls with a true desire to know them better is not something that is easy for me to do. I love to listen, I do not like to really invest. But by choosing to invest, I rekindled relationships with people who have truly blessed my life.

This attitude change reflected at school, in my youth group, and has made the transition to college so much easier. Making friends, and I mean good (life-long) friends is so much easier. The people I have met here at CU are amazing. And I would have never allowed them into my life if I had not let the Holy Spirit truly work in my heart in this particular area. It changed my world.

So, why did I write all this down? HIGH SCHOOLERS. That's why.

Especially seniors, DO NOT waste these last few months of high school. Challenge yourself. Let God grow you. Stop being clique-y. You might think you aren't, but do a double-take. Take the younger ones under your wings and show them they can make it through. Love on those who you have known for years. Let teachers make an impact on you. Fight that senioritis as hard as you can, but have fun in the process.

Those of you in youth groups, focus on unity. God called us to love one another and truly invest in each other. This is community. What the leaders do in your lives and how you respond, it matters. God is using amazing people who are just a few steps ahead of you to give you a "sneak peek" into the next phase of your life. Embrace that. Thank them. Respect them.

Invest. Invest. Invest. This quality will help you so much in the future. Being vulnerable is not a bad thing. Let people love you, hold you accountable, and help you grow in the Lord. Stop being ignorant like I was. It gets you absolutely no where.

GET IN THE WORD. Oh my goodness, I could not say this enough. Develop your prayer life. This is a time when God can truly speak to you. He has so much to say and longs to have an intimate relationship with you. LET HIM.

I have no clue who will read this, but I hope it encourages you. College is a whole new, and very exciting world. It's so much fun, emotionally draining, and academically rigorous. Do not waste high school and the things it prepares you for. Do not waste your time in youth group. As weird as it might sound, it prepares you more than anything for college. Trust me. Let other in, and let yourself to be vulnerable. Love others.

Most importantly, listen to God. He truly does know the best plan for you, whether it's what college you are going to next year, or who you will sit with at lunch tomorrow.

Hannah :)