Wrapping Up

This photo is an accurate description of how I feel about the semester being over so suddenly.

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It all came so fast. I’m scrambling to keep up with finals, holiday shopping, saying goodbye to friends, and packing. All of the things that symbolize the end of the year. Through all of this I have to remember to take time to stop and appreciate everything that happened this semester and the people in my life. Some end of the year reflection (my favorite thing).

I look back on this semester and am grateful for what a turnaround it was from the previous one. I went from struggling with anxiety and stress to being happy and healthy and loving life. I have so may great people to thank for that. My classes went well, my sorority things have been excellent, and I have grown a lot.

I appreciate the people I’ve grown closer to over this past semester. I can’t believe I didn’t have them in my life before. They’ve provided me with a support system like no other and have made this semester so enjoyable.

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I’m also grateful for the people who have been there for me since day one of this college adventure. We’ve been through so much and I can’t believe we are over halfway done.

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It’s the people in life who make it great. I am lucky to have some incredible ones in my life. They help me make it through school and everything else. I am sad to be leaving my college people behind for a month, but love my people at home and can’t wait to spend some quality time with them.

This semester has just taught me to be extra thankful for the people who make me and my goal is to let them all know that as I reflect on the roles they have played in my life.

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Handle With Care

One huge thing I have learned from camp  it is that people are oh so very broken. Everyone puts on a happy face to go through their day. We live in a social media world where people only put out their very best, and everyone feels miserable because they think everyone else has got it way better than them. Our society believes it’s not okay to not be okay.

But friends, every single one of us is very very broken.

I’ve seen a lot of really hard things at camp. I’ve watched my friends admit that they’re walking through terrible trials and temptations. I’ve had young girls tell me that they’ve never felt loved, even by their families. I’ve watched guys struggle with pornography and girls with terrible lust. I’ve seen families struggling when they look like the perfect picture of love on the outside.

My heart has been broken for what breaks The Lord’s.

Yet I continue to pray that He breaks it daily.

It is so very important to remember that we are intricate and fragile creations. We aren’t created to be perfect.

We as a society need to stop expecting people to hide their brokenness. It’s okay to battle mental illness, to come from a broken home, to feel lonely, to wrestle desire and pride. It’s okay to struggle. This life isn’t easy.

It’s okay to admit you’re broken.

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Want to know why? Because there are people who want to love you and help you heal. If we don’t admit we are broken and hurting and weak, then the people who matter in our lives can’t come alongside us and walk through that with us.

As  a camp counselor, I got to come alongside so many broken young women. Both campers and other counselors. And I also got to spend time with people who would come alongside me.

I wish everyday life viewed brokenness the way that camp does. Camp is a place where the downtrodden come to find rest. The point is to facilitate that rest and that healing and send stronger campers back home. But why can’t we do this for our friends and family every day?

We need to start asking people if they’re okay. And really meaning it and taking the time to listen. And if we get asked if we are okay, we need to be transparent and say how we really feel. We have to battle the hurt with unending love.

This year has been extremely trying. And I have been hurting bad. I tried to stuff it down for a long time, but it got too far. My mental and physical health was at stake. Admiting I was broken and lost and that I didn’t know what to do allowed some very wise people to speak truth into my life. This hard year has made me stronger.

Our world is a broken world, but we can’t begin healing it until we are transparent about that. And when that happens, we can only heal it with love.

Psalm 34:18

#Awkward

I think one of the greatest qualities camp experiences gave me was confidence. If you know me, you know I am a big introvert. Being dropped in a room full of strangers in a new environment is my worst nightmare. Icebreakers and name games never fail to make me cringe because I prefer to avoid being the center of attention at all costs.

That has all changed a little since being a camp kid for so long (mostly thanks to student council camp). I still cringe at the idea of name games, but I don’t loathe them so much anymore. I am more bold about meeting new people and starting fresh relationships. I learned that if you just embrace the awkward, it’s not so bad.

College has been an endless void of awkward experiences. Some that have happened recently (inspiration for this post). I’ve tried to work on changing my perspective though. Instead of being painfully embarrassed or uncomfortable, I figure I might as well take it in stride and learn from it.

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I once had an interview where they asked me to write a hashtag that describes me on a whiteboard in the room. When I stood up to walk over to the board and turn around to the line of people sitting across the conference table from me, I should have wanted to hide. Instead, I picked up the marker and wrote “#awkward.” The perfect description of myself. I went on to discuss how I always find myself in awkward situations, but that’s where I have done the most growing. I got called back for another round.

Being in camp-like situations, including news classes or project groups, where you have to build some bonds with total strangers is really an excellent opportunity for personal development. You get the opportunity to learn about yourself. It also shows you where you have room for improvement.

We often fail to realize where the uncomfortable experiences in life are making us better people. Sometimes it takes being forced out of your comfort zone to have an experience that causes you to grow.

A lifetime full of awkward moments is why I am the person I am today. Embarrassing accidents, uncomfortable dates, and failed conversations all add up. We just don’t always realize it. Human beings are awkward creations, but it’s each person’s awkward that makes them unique and builds their confidence.

So, embrace it.

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