Friday, February 19, 2016

Finding the Light in College

Oftentimes I like to keep my blog posts lighthearted and fun. Sometimes though, it's nice to dig a little deeper, and just be honest. When I was younger I always heard a lot about how college tested you. About how it would test your beliefs. I honestly didn't understand that until I got to that place. My first semester on campus was rough. I questioned a lot of my beliefs and had to take a hard look at my faith. Ultimately, I came out a different person. Stronger, very firm in my beliefs, honest, kind, and someone that absolutely doesn't except bs. When I would have bad school days, I would get in my car on the way home and blast the Newsboys song, "God's Not Dead". I felt like I had to hear that, because I was surrounded by a world that felt really dark. It was sad, but it reached a point when I played that song multiple times a day. Although that was a tough semester for me, I am thankful I went through it, because it taught me a lot. I really owned up to my faith and my beliefs. I branched out.. I pushed myself to be more social, I made new friends- people that are caring and kind and help hold me accountable. I joined a new church where my faith truly lit on fire, and is continuing to grow. I talk to God every day, and I have that closeness with him that I first felt in Costa Rica. The darkness doesn't scare me. It's that truth that keeps me strong. In a world that is filled with so much violence, brokenness, hurting, self-centeredness, and chaos, I still find peace, because I am strong in who I am and what I believe. The book that really helped change and define a lot for me was, "Own It" by Hayley and Michael DiMarco. That book made a big impact on me, and I think it's a must read for high school/college students.
This semester has been so much different for me. I go to school with a smile on my face (most days). I've made friends in all of my classes, some of which share my faith, and some of which don't. The friends in my life are all different, and that's why I love them. I've come to realize though, that it's really important to have a solid group of friends that understand you, support you, encourage you, and motivate you. I journal regularly and keep a prayer list. I've seen many answered prayers this semester, and I don't think it's any coincidence. My faith is strong because it's an active and everyday part of my life, not just something I look to on Sunday's. I keep an ever growing Spotify playlist of worship songs, and it's always there to get me through my tough days. This semester's "strong songs", as I like to call them, are "Trust in You" by Lauren Daigle and "Guilty" by the Newsboys. The biggest thing above all, has been perspective & attitude. Everyday I strive to be a positive person. To look for the best in every situation. To have grace and patience that surpasses all else. To hold my tongue and keep my sass levels in check. To smile even when the going gets tough. And when all else fails, surrender it all to God. That was what was holding me back in the past. I struggled for control, because there was a small part of me that questioned what would happen if I trusted completely in God. People say "let it go" or "give it all up to God". People don't always realize how hard that can be for some people. Surrendering was what terrified me the most. But it was also the very thing that set me free. My life is far from perfect, but I am happy, content, joyful, and I will smile all the while, no matter what Jesus throws my way.
I found the light in the darkness, and now I am part of that light. I pray everyday that I can bring a little of that light to each person. I believe in the theory, that just one caring person can make a difference. Even in the overwhelming noise of college.
I pray for each of you-wherever this finds you, whatever you're going through. You are loved beyond belief. You are capable and stronger than you think.
con amor, emalee

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