I have been trying to write about this for awhile now. Every couple times I have sat down to write, the urge to tell this particular story escapes me and my sentences go unfinished. But I want to write about it. I think it needs to be said. I think I need to explain myself, more for my own benefit than for anyone else’s.
I have decided to transfer from SPU by the end of this school year to a school closer to home for a number of reasons. The biggest of those reasons being that I am not happy at SPU. I don’t feel at home here, at least not as much as I wanted to in the place I chose to spend four or more years of my life. I just don’t feel like this is where I should be anymore, that I am needed somewhere else, that my journey is taking another direction.
This decision was not made lightly. I’ve actually been thinking about it for a couple months now, since about late August 2015. I have a lot of old journal entries documenting in detail how hard this decision was to make, related mostly to the fact that it’s sometimes really freaking hard to know God’s plan for my life. But I have incredible prayer warriors in my life and parents that love and support me in everything I do, so it’s been a rewarding process nonetheless.
So I am currently in the process of applying to other colleges and weighing all of my options. I’m almost positive Karyssa thinks I’m trying to steal her thunder since she is also in the process of choosing a college and is currently a senior in high school. Other than that, my closest friends and family have been incredibly supportive and loving throughout everything.
Still, despite the crap load of support, I struggled. For those of you who know me well, you know that I am a very independent person and I prefer to do things alone. I don’t like to cry and I don’t like to ask for help. So that’s what I did. I called my closest friends and asked for prayer, but beyond that, I have been trying to go through this process alone.
By alone, I mean without God.
Sure, I prayed about this whole situation many times, but I felt like my prayers were falling flat and I just couldn’t quite get the words out. I’d come before God and be unbearably silent, strangely unsure of what I should say, what I should ask. My prayers got shorter and shorter and my anxiousness grew stronger and stronger. My heart would beat quickly without warning and my hands would shake without cause. The stress of making this decision regarding my future hindered my ability to be present in my daily life. And stress doesn’t just go away if I take a nap; I would wake up more stressed than before, having lost an hour or two of precious time trying to get rid of the stress caused by not having enough time. My life became a cycle of stress, coupled with my inability to express myself and get passed it. In short: it sucked.
I tried a couple methods to get passed this stressful time: I tried throwing myself into my school work so I wouldn’t have enough time to think about how stressed I was; I tried focusing on everyone else’s problems by praying for them and spending my time thinking of solutions for them; I tried napping whenever I started thinking about everything; I tried stress eating until I could eat no more; I tried calling home every day (sometimes a couple times a day) just so I didn’t have to be here for a little while; and I tried faking it until I made it.
Surprise: none of that worked and things got even worse.
This quarter, I am a leader for a Wesleyan Small Group on campus, providing a safe space for new students to answer the question “How goes it with your soul?” It’s a group that meets once a week to answer that question and explore what is going on within our souls in relation to God and the world around us. It’s been an incredible process, to say the least, and I have been so blessed to be apart of my group. I realized this quarter that I need that time. I need a space to ask myself how I am doing and be brutally honest.
I am also in a Christian Scriptures class with an amazing professor who really loves the Lord, something I value in instructors. He is very passionate and lively and I really enjoy his class. We are working through the Old Testament currently and a few class periods ago, we talked about the book of Joshua. We were discussing the wall of Jericho and the Israelites walking around the wall once a day for six days and seven times on the seventh day. At the end of the seventh march on the seventh day…
Joshua said to the people, “Shout! For the LORD has given you the city…”
So the people shouted, and the trumpets were blown. As soon as the people heard the sound of the trumpets, they raised a great shout, and the wall fell down flat…
-Joshua 6:16, 20
The professor asked us what was significant about the Israelites walking around the walls of Jericho, what were they doing? The class was silent, confused by the question.
“They were worshiping,” said the professor. That hit me like a ton of bricks and I almost laughed out loud in the classroom. All I could think was, “Duh! You are such an idiot, Kayley!” The professor went onto explain that God was trying to teach the Israelites that worship precedes victory. In order to get the victory, you need to worship God throughout the battle, rather than coming up with tactics and methods to win.
Worship sounded much better than anxiety and stress. And singing is actually a way I let go of stress, so I figured this could work out fine. I’d just start worshiping.
Within the context of my leadership for WSG, I was given the chance to finally express everything I have been worried about and anxious for. It was a huge load off of my shoulders, being able to sort of throw up all the things I had been harboring and refusing to talk and write about. And I realized as I was talking that I wanted a specific response. I finished talking, hoping I’d get that response.
Instead I was told that my feelings were validated and that God understood when I went through these times of not trusting Him. I was essentially told that where I was stuck was a perfectly fine place to be. That it was okay and I was heard and loved and I didn’t need to worry about changing immediately because I was human and God was forgiving.
Honestly, that pissed me off.
I didn’t want to be coddled and told it was okay. I didn’t want a pat on the back, saying that it was okay to not be able to pray, that it was okay to not be worshiping God during this time, that it was okay to go through this without Him because sometimes I needed time alone. I completely disagree with that. And I wanted someone to yell at me, shake me, smack me in the face and tell me to get over it.
I told my mom I wanted to be yelled at and she laughed at me.
She said that I didn’t need someone else to tell me what I should do because the Holy Spirit already told me. In expecting/wanting someone else to yell at me, I had inadvertently yelled at myself, shaken myself, smacked myself in the face, and told myself to get over it. She told me that I need to take my own advice and allow the Holy Spirit to speak through me, to me.
I read an old journal entry of mine from last year and it documented my realization that I frequently stand in my own way. My WSG group has helped and my Christian Scriptures class has been uplifting, but most of all, I am learning to worship before the victory.
So, life is a little rough right now, but it’s good. I’m worshiping and praying and napping and putting things in God’s hands, because there is no way I can do this on my own.
I still don’t understand why I keep trying to.
So there’s my life update. Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve written; I think I’m avoiding it because I don’t want to deal with my emotions and crap like that. I’m working on it.
The Lord passed before him, and proclaimed,
“The Lord, the Lord,
a God merciful and gracious,
slow to anger;
and abounding in steadfast love and
keeping steadfast love for the thousandth
forgiving iniquity and transgression and
yet by no means clearing the guilty,
but visiting the iniquity of the parents
upon the children
and the children’s children,
to the third and fourth generation.”
And Moses quickly bowed his head toward the earth,