As I often must, I’ll start with an apology. It has been over two months since my last post. I knew November would be hectic and I knew I’d likely not post anything, but I had so many ideas for December…
Anyway, that’s in the past, I got busy, I’m sorry.
So what have I been up to? Well school mostly.
I had a tough semester, and I felt very busy throughout the entire 3 1/2 months.
But I finished surprisingly well.
I know it was God blessing me far beyond what I deserve because I know what I was like on those final assignments and my exam… I was there, but only as a shell. I did work hard, but I was so tired, conventional thinking would suggest that I shouldn’t have been able to perform.
I also know I wasn’t alone in that boat though. Many, if not all, students feel completely exhausted by the end of a semester. They’ve come to the end of their abilities. I’m so thankful I didn’t have to rely solely on my own abilities.
When I’m in a tough spot with school work, I always pray that God would give me peace. I ask that He would help me remember the things I already know. I ask for favor with whoever will be marking my work as well. But mostly I thank Him that no matter the outcome, I am loved, I am valued and that I’m not defined by academic success – it doesn’t change who I am.
But not all students turn to God in those times.
I would encourage everyone to do that, not just students but anyone going through any kind of trial.
Back in August I decided to pay more attention to my daily walk with God. I realized that at 21 I’m responsible for my own choices, my own actions and I would be held accountable for my own relationship with my Creator. I couldn’t ignore Him but expect to grow and learn and change…
As often happens with resolutions, I was strong for awhile, but eventually I stopped being so intentional.
For two months I read and wrote nearly every day but I don’t have many reflections in my notebook from October. I still read, but not as often and not carefully.
Then I decided to follow along with Calvary – the new church I started attending in September – reading one chapter of the Bible every day, starting in Genesis and going right through. I started in Joshua.
I have definitely noticed an incredible increase in the ways in which God blesses every area of my life.
I can only attribute this to intentionally pursuing a deeper relationship with Him.
Since then, I’ve also added another part to my daily devotions. “Coffee with God,” a daily devotional by Sarah Arthur, has been a great way to start my time with the Lord by giving me something to think about. She writes her thoughts on something and I can respond in my own journal.
I’ve really loved spending more intentional time with God.
In other news, Church on Wednesday, a new initiative that started in September at the University of Ottawa was hugely successful, and this semester they’ve started Church on Thursday as well, at Algonquin College. I’m very excited about both of these chances to meet with other believers and to worship the Lord in public ways on post-secondary campuses where perhaps God hasn’t been welcome.
Basically, my life looks like classes Mon-Wed, and going to church four evenings a week, Wed-Sat.
I love it!
One time, back in either first or second year, I was challenged to think about how I spend my time. There are only so many hours in a week (168, thanks Google!) and some things are unavoidable. People need to sleep (I’m told there’s a hoped-for six hour minimum) people need to eat… and people need to be people (ie, bathroom times and other hygienic things, time to just be, time to move (and other transportation/commuting), time to think, etc). For students there’s also a minimum of in-class hours and of course time for homework, studying, or in the case of journalism students, running around the city interviewing people! (The alternative would be people who work instead of go to school.) Then there are also other commitments or volunteering things people might be involved in and of course hobbies… etc.
With so many demands on our time, it can be hard to see how God fits in. That’s why many people are content with going to church once a week and they feel good about their block of time so that God makes an appearance for like three hours during their week.
The challenge to me was, if we say we love God so much, if we say we shouldn’t compartmentalized Him and put Him in a “church-only” box, but that He should be present in every part of our lives, if we say we owe Him everything… then why does He only get three of our 168 per week? Now some people do a little better and will hopefully find one hour each day to spend time alone with God (although that was sorely lacking in our little experimental survey of the students at the table).
I realized that I didn’t want that life.
Knowing that God desires to spend time with me, I really wanted to get to know Him more, to let Him into more of my life.
That’s why I’m trying to get involved. That’s why I’m trying to be intentional.
It’s not easy.
It’s not something I can do on my own.
And I’m not perfect, so it’s not something I can promise to achieve 100% all the time.
But thankfully there is grace in Him.
There is forgiveness in Him.
There is LOVE.
All I can say is that I’ve been so blessed. I’m discovering things in the Bible I thought I knew but hadn’t read in so long, or, in some cases, hadn’t read at all myself. I certainly feel like I’ve grown and leaned and changed for the better.
I often talk about part of my transformation occurring in throughout first and second year of university, but does God ever stop working on us? Has He ever completed His work on someone and left them to wander the earth as seemingly perfect creatures? I don’t think so! When He’s done working in us, He calls us home!
So while I’m still here, every day of my life is a living testimony of His goodness, of His love, of His healing, of His transformation, of His restoration… He is constantly at work.
But He can’t work if you won’t let Him in.
He can’t work if you reject Him and push Him away or enclose Him in a box.
You need to open yourself up to Him in all areas. You need to let Him have your time and your heart. He needs you to want Him, so that He can meet you and begin to better you.
I don’t know if that can help anyone… I mean, who am I to share this kind of stuff?
All I can do is share my story, my experience… All I can do is encourage each person to make good choices. God is always the right choice, the best choice.
That’s all for now friends. Hopefully it won’t be another two months before my next post.