In the past 3 years I have been stretched every which way. I am not the same girl I was walking into my freshman year of college as I am now, a senior staring graduation in the face. There has been no shortage of disappointments or let downs. Each year seems to come with a new struggle. Freshman year was filled with anxiety and panic attacks caused by the stress of moving away from home and onto a new campus. Sophomore year was consumed by some really hard relationship struggles that eventually led to a broken friendship. Junior year had more challenges. And here I am trying to navigate my senior year in the middle of a pandemic where loneliness has crept in and staked its claim. My time in college has been the most formative of my life; I’ve been taught many lessons, become deeply engaged in my faith, and learned a lot about myself. College has not been all sunshine and rainbows like it is often portrayed in the movies. It has been a series of really high highs and a lot of really low lows. Most of it has not been easy and it feels like I am always struggling with something. But I can confidently say I wouldn’t change it. I am so thankful for the mud I’ve trudged through because it has made me who I am today: a strong, confident woman who knows how loved she is by the LORD and who has developed perseverance.
From my own experience I know how much struggle sucks. It isn’t fun to feel like a mess when it seems like everyone else is having the time of their lives (trust me, they're dealing with their own crap). It is painful to feel like no matter what you do things will never change. It can be incredibly exhausting to keep getting up just to get knocked down again. I’ve had numerous breakdowns over these past 3 years, but what I’ve learned from these moments is that something good always comes out of them: growth. Personal and spiritual growth.
I have learned to embrace the struggles because I know God will use them to refine me. He doesn’t waste anything. I choose to look at the pain as an opportunity to better myself and to grow closer to God. I want my pain and my struggle to be used to glorify God. That doesn’t mean I haven’t asked God to give me a break or let life be easy for a while. I totally have! I have prayed desperate prayers asking for my circumstances to change. But I am so thankful to know that with my pain comes maturity and wisdom. I have grit and I will continue to get back up. Satan will not win this battle.
Growth is often uncomfortable. It is hard to grow when you are comfy and life is easy. We will go through trials in life and there will be moments of deep sadness and heartbreak, but it is actually for our good. God does not call us to be surface level people. He calls us to be vulnerable, honest, and raw humans who use their pain for His glory and their growth. I honestly believe the wisest people on this earth are the ones who have gone through the most heartbreak and devastation. They have learned how to rely on God and know how to keep getting up even when they feel like giving up. Struggle can actually be a really good thing if we choose to trust God is working through it.