Hey! So here’s my big, explanatory post on why I’ve decided to postpone going away to college for a year. I realized once I got to Liberty (which, by the way, I still adore. It’s such a great school) that I never really thought about going away to college. I didn’t pray about it, I didn’t ask God “is this what you have planned for me?” I just did it, because everyone goes to college right after graduating high school, and you’re a failure if you don’t, right? (Wrong.)
After a lot of prayer, I came to the conclusion that it’s best for me to wait awhile before returning to LU. Realizing this wasn’t easy, but I kept reminding myself 1) that I don’t need to understand everything God is telling me. I just need to have faith that He rocks and will never lead me astray, and 2) the importance of doing what’s healthiest for me, and not worrying about the fact that it may be different from what is best for everyone else around me (because we are all so different!! Which is really cool!!) God kept showing me so evidently that I needed to change my path, and to be honest, I really wanted to ignore Him. Because I knew staying would be so much easier than leaving.
The first few days I cried so much, because I was homesick and it was a huge transition. I realized the past year I haven’t really been living. I was so focused on finishing high school on time that I didn’t worry about having a proper social life/actually leaving my room (haha) I struggle with anxiety and didn’t really address it at all in the last year, I tried to pretend it wasn’t there. But when I got to Liberty, it was unavoidable. For 2 or 3 days, I was having constant panic attacks and it was awful. I even threw up because of all the negative emotion (which was the first time something like that had ever happened to me and it was especially terrifying because it was the first time I threw up on my own :( not fun) But by Wednesday, 6 days after moving, I was doing really well. I got past the worst of it. I had such a great day, and was starting to feel comfortable and at home. I’d met a bunch of awesome friends and loved all the classes I attended, so it was really confusing to me that I still felt God saying, “Hey, Maddie. This isn’t my plan.” He gave me so many signs last week and I just couldn’t ignore Him. And I had to make this decision a bit quickly, because Friday was the last day I could withdraw and get a full refund on tuition. I was really afraid of what people would think. I was nervous about how I’d have to tell everyone. I had no idea how I was going to tell people. But God kept encouraging me to not let that affect my decision. So Friday, feeling very at peace about it, I withdrew.
I’d say that I wish I would’ve realized this before moving, because it really complicated things, having such an unexpected and sudden change of course, but I can’t say that, because God opened my eyes so much the week I was at Liberty. He reminded me that I need to get out of my comfort zone constantly, because life is not about comfort. He showed me that I need to address my anxiety issues, and that I don’t need to have anxiety about social situations, because He gave me a great heart and a great personality and I am capable of making friends and communicating with people I don’t know well. He inspired me to have a life (this sounds silly, but it’s true) to not just stay in my room all the time, but to allow myself to grow and be transformed by going out and living. He proved to me that He made me strong, and that I can do anything while living in Him. (2 Timothy 1:7, Philippians 4:13) He encouraged me to lean on Him more, to spend more quiet time with Him, and to have faith in His design. He confirmed that He created me to be different, and to do things my own way, and that His plan for me is weird and will probably never go with what the world sees as normal.
It’s a bit of a bummer, because it’s such an awesome environment with some really amazing people, but I have peace knowing God is in control. He’s got me right where I’m meant to be, and this is all apart of my story (which has never been very normal to begin with anyway, haha) Also, I’d like to praise my amazing parents for being SO supportive. They have shown me so much love through all of this and I could not ask for better parents. Seriously. They’re the best. I’m so proud to be their daughter.
This is not what I expected at all, but I’m excited to see what the upcoming year has in store for me. I know it will have its own unique set of obstacles and adversities, but God is with me, so of course I’ll kick butt. I’m very happy and very hopeful.
I just want to take a second to remind everyone: you don’t have to have a “normal” life. If you feel you’re not meant to go away to college, talk to God about it. Talk to your loved ones about it. Know that your worth isn’t found in having fun college-y photos to show off on Facebook or a college degree. If you think you need to take a gap year, consider it. Don’t just automatically decided you need to go to college right after high school because that is what the world is telling you. Slow down and really think about what is best for you. This world always, always is telling us to go-go-go and to not stop and think, just do, but it’s okay to take a moment and breathe and decide if the mainstream way of doing things is what’s right for you. It’s ridiculous for people think we all have to do things the same exact way, because we were all created with such diversity and for our own special journeys. Success isn’t found in doing what’s expected, it’s found in living in Christ. Remember that. Go read Romans 12:2.
Also, for those of you who are having a tough transition at college, keep going. If you feel that’s where you’re meant to be, don’t quit. Homesickness is totally normal. It’s a big transition. But you are amazing and it will get better. You’re going to do amazing things. And for those who fit right in at college as soon as you stepped onto campus, go you. That’s awesome. Don’t feel weird about it, embrace it.
“In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:6. Whether that path is attending a 4-year university right out of high school, or taking some time before leaving, or taking classes online or at a community college, or not going to college at all— put God at the center, and He will take care of you, no matter where you are.
Some words I’ve found really encouraging through all of this craziness:
"I want to gracefully let go of the things I thought I wanted for the future and hold fast to whatever God has for me now." [x]
“Relax. You will become an adult. You will figure out your career. You will find someone who loves you. You have a whole lifetime; time takes time. The only way to fail at life is to abstain.” [x]
"Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.”" John 13:7
I know I will encounter people who will think I’m a just a quitter, or a weirdo, but I have an audience of one (Jesus) and His opinion of me is the only one that truly matters. Forget the haterz. U do u boo.
Oh, and I’m not perfect. Thank God I don’t have to be. I don’t have everything figured out. At all. I have faith that God has it figured out for me. I have some goals in mind, but other than that, I’m giving it all up to Him. This is the beginning of a completely new adventure, and I don’t need to know everything. I will make mistakes, and I will have highs and lows, but I will not let go of Jesus, and He will not let go of me.
That’s all! Sorry it’s so long, way 2 go if you actually read all of this. I hope everyone’s having a great Sunday. :-) Love you lots.