What a whirlwind of a year 2015 has been. I graduated with my bachelor’s degree, quit my job, spent the summer in 3 new countries and 10 new states, went 5 months without work, and recently started in my first career position. Relationships have come and gone, friendships have faced new seasons, family members have left, and God has taught me things I never thought possible.
I’ve written in other posts about the immense peace that that Lord has given me through the season of not working and how I’d never felt more content with trusting in Him alone. I have learned more about myself than I ever thought possible, and with that, I can say I’ve grown more this year than I ever expected. I’ve seen new things, I’ve taken new risks, I’ve been crushed and I’ve been rebuilt, I’ve faced tough decisions and I’ve been blessed immeasurably, and I’ve become stronger.
While having a conversation with a friend recently, I realized the greatest lesson that God taught me this year, and that is fully embracing who I am in Him, and not in this world.
Ever since I can remember, I put my own worth in my accomplishments. Grades, awards, sports, promotions, recognitions, affirmations, and success were all I cared about. Without these things, without performing perfectly and other people acknowledging it, I wasn’t good enough. I placed an extreme amount of pressure on myself to make everyone around me proud of what I could do. I fed off of the praise. My worth was in what I did.
So, as you can imagine, when I graduated from school and was denied entry into a graduate program, I was broken. I had this perfect plan for myself and now the door was slammed in my face and I was worth nothing. How could I tell people I didn’t get into the one master’s program I applied for? How could anyone be proud of me now? How could I even be proud of myself?
In addition to that, I quit my job. To be honest, I had worked that tiresome retail job for too long and became fairly complacent in it. Lost motivation and increased frustration led to poor performance proven by the numbers that I was producing for the store. So feeling “not-good-enough” at my job, on top of the fact that the position offered me no satisfaction since I wasn’t using my degree, led to an even larger blow to my self-worth.
So, August rolled around and I wasn’t in school, had no immediate plans to be continuing to grad school, had no job, and felt like I had absolutely nothing going for myself.
But that’s where God stepped in and said, “Your worth is in Me. You are My daughter. You were given gifts to use for My Kingdom. I’ve had a plan for your life since before you were born. Don’t fear. Don’t be anxious. I love you and I won’t ever let you fail.”
Without school or work to prove to myself that I was good at something, I felt worthless, but the Lord reminded me that wasn’t true, and in fact, I am worth so much that Jesus died for me. Through scripture, songs, friend’s words, and church, I was repeatedly told that there are bigger and better plans than the ones I had for myself, that there was no need to be anxious about the future, and that earthly things meant nothing compared to who I am in the Kingdom of my Father.
I can honestly say that I see myself as a different person now. I am more confident in the who I am in Him, and not in the eyes of the world. I am learning more about my talents and gifts and I am seeking out more ways to grow in my faith. I am beginning to volunteer with my church’s student ministry, I’ve found a community of friends who will encourage me as we walk alongside each other, and I’m seeing God do incredible things in my life.
Philippians 4:7 says, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” In The Message translation, this verse reads, “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”
I have never related so much to a verse before, and seen it completely and fully applied to my life. Peace is the one and only word that I can use that really encompasses the second half of 2015. It truly does surpass all understanding. I love that the MSG version says “a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down.” There is no true wholeness without God, and when I accepted the fact that He would work all things together for my good, my worry vanished. My heart and my mind were calmed. I felt wholesome peace, and it was wonderful.
I am so excited to see what’s in the Plan for this upcoming year, because whatever it is, I know that it’s the very best, and that I’ll only continue to grow in my identity in Christ.
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