When Oceans Rise

“College is like looking both ways before crossing the street, and then getting hit by an airplane.” -Unknown

As I sit here writing this blog at 3am with tears streaming down my face like a waterfall, I think to myself–could life get any worse? We all have them, those seasons in life where you feel like the oceans waves have just engulfed you completely. You can’t swim and you can’t breathe. Panic sets in and you start thrashing all around only making the situation worse. Thrashing, thats what this semester was like for me. I started off strong, but by the end of it all–I’m exhausted, and I’ve drown.

If you know me at all, then you know how hard I am on myself. I crave perfection like a cavity ridden child craves candy. I finished my first year of college with a 4.0, I made some great friends, and life seemed awesome. I just knew that if I kept the same positive mojo and maintained my study skills this semester would be a breeze. Boy was I wrong. The honest truth is, perfection is unattainable. I said it in an earlier blog, and I’ve experienced it firsthand this semester. Gosh, I sunk so fast this fall I don’t even think I swam at all. Drowning. Gasping for air. Water filling up your lungs. My anxiety was at it’s peak this semester, and I just seemed to constantly find myself crying alone in my room at night. I felt worthless and like I had nothing more to give. I felt like I was not only letting myself down, but my parents as well. I can’t even count on two hands how many mental breakdowns I’ve had these past 16 weeks. I would’ve never thought that a semester that was supposed to be sub-par when it came to difficulty would leave me at the bottom of the ocean floor.

I remember coming back to my room after being in my best friends dorm for a while and just absolutely losing it. I mean I was hyperventilating. My head was spinning. My shirt soaked from my tears. I was suffering from what seemed to be my 100th anxiety attack. It was the first time in my life I just wanted to be done, to just end it all. What can you do about it though? When the season you’re in feels like a Texas summer–it lasts forever. In the midst of my despair I remember a moment of peace amongst me. I had calmed down enough to close my eyes, crack open my bible, and just talk to God. In Ecclesiastes 3, God talks about the seasons of life. There is a season for everything: loss, happiness, anger, sadness the list goes on. But, what God says after is this: “What profit has the worker from that in which he labors? I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.”- (Ecclesiastes 3:1-11

These seasons, no matter which one you’re in, are happening for a reason. In troubling times where our schooling, relationships, or financial issues are not looking like we want them to, we may wonder what is happening. But, remember this–God makes us beautiful through all the trials and circumstances we face in our lives. It is through the most difficult times in our lives that you find you have grown the most. No matter how long you think a season may feel, it will not be forever. What I think is most important and resonated most with me is this: “Never let the season you are in define who you are as a person.” Just because you’re having a bad semester doesn’t mean life is over and done with. Because truth is, unless you’re some sort of genius a “bad” semester is bound to happen. Afterwards, you can only improve and see what you need to do differently next time. Don’t change what you believe according to what season you are in.

When trouble strikes and our hearts grow weary, we often forget the great enamoring love our Father in Heaven has for us and start to doubt Gods grace and goodness. When this happens, we begin to be consumed by the waves that are–our stress and our fears, and we blame God. When we follow God’s plans for our lives and recall His great love for us, reminding ourselves daily of His compassion toward us, our hearts then gain strength. God knows that we long to remember how kind and how gentle He is in the midst of such unkind and unwelcoming circumstances. He tells us to make this our focus.  Gods word and His compassion for us, as His sons and daughters, are like our life rafts that save us from the oceans terrible feat.

Knowing this brought me a sense of comfort. Just because you’re going through a rough semester doesn’t mean that you can’t go on, that you can’t move past this. We often realize too late that our life reserver has been here with us all along. We just never used Him. God is so good and He can get you through the times that seem impossible to you. This semester has tested me in ways I never could have imagined. It has been a challenge, and even though it wasn’t my best, I can only learn from this and move on. It will get better. When I was laying on the bottom of the ocean God picked me up and rescued me.

“Inhale, count to five, exhale.” -Taylor Adams: No Exit

It is okay to fall apart sometimes, but you should never lose sight of God’s plan for you. Next time you feel like you’re drowning I encourage you to stop “Inhale, count to five, exhale,” and talk to God. His plans are always so so good. He is the floatie that will save you from sinking. Hold onto him tight and don’t ever let go.

-V.T.

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