Stretched to the Savior

The day I’ve dreaded my whole life is getting closer and closer.

My excitement increases.

But mostly, my dread increases.

After spending 12 days at camp (which is the longest amount of time I’ve ever been away from home), I realized something.

I am not cut out for college.

It’s not simply because of the dorm rooms, the cafeteria food, or the challenging classes. My introverted self is simply not ready for the social challenges of college.

What will I do when I’m forced to be with people constantly? What will happen when I’m only able to see my family only once monthly for short visits? What will happen when I have to make tons of new friends—or else be called a loner?

One thing is certain. College is going to s t r e t c h me.

After one week at the two-week camp I attended, I was ready to go home. I wanted to see my family. I wanted to sleep in my own bed, make my own food, and use my own shower.

I was tired of seeing the same people over and over. I was tired of getting six hours of sleep and having to put on a smile even when I was exhausted. I was tired of constantly being around people (many of whom were loud and obnoxious).

Maybe I’m being melodramatic about the whole thing. Maybe my drama queen self is shining through, and everything will be just peachy.

Or maybe college will be exactly that—peachy.

Will all my dread, worrying, and nervousness amount to anything? Will I be pleasantly surprised—or sadly mistaken? Are my expectations too low—or not low enough?

I simply won’t know until I get there.

For now, I just have to wait.

In my bed of dread. In my pit of anxiety. In my sea of nervousness.

The slightly excited butterflies in my stomach are slowly being swallowed up by the anxious butterflies.

But here’s the deal…

Trust is not the absence of anxious thoughts but the pointing of those thoughts to Christ. Worries will come because they’re part of our sinful society. Their existence isn’t a sin.

Worry is only a sin when we choose to dwell and build on those anxious thoughts instead of rely on God and His Truth.

Now if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You of little faith! And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying. For all these things are what the nations of the world eagerly seek; and your Father knows that you need these things. But seek His kingdom, and these things will be [e]provided to you. (Luke 12:28-31 NASB)

We sin because we are people “of little faith” (12:28). We sin because we “keep worrying” (12:29). We sin because we do not “seek His kingdom” (12:31) and instead chase our fears.

We can dwell on our fears or dwell in our Savior.

Here’s an example: Your husband loses his job, and you have no idea what to do. You wonder if you’ll have to get a job (or even two) to meet your family’s financial needs.

Your fears are perfectly normal. Losing a job is worrisome, but there are two reactions you can have for this problem. You can say:

  1. “Well, God has provided for us in the past. He will provide for us in the future. Maybe He has a better job in mind for my husband. I don’t need to freak out. I need to pray about this and help my husband look for a job.”

Or, you can say:

  1. “I need to start calling daycares and see which one I should put our kids in so I can work. I also should call my friends to see if they’ve heard of any job openings that would work for me. I’ll just put off folding laundry, washing dishes, and cooking dinner for a while. I need to do whatever it takes to keep us afloat.”

Fears can easily become irrational, so we need to be rational and constantly remind ourselves of the One who holds us in every single moment.

I may be stretched at college, but I won’t be abandoned. You may be stretched by a new family situation, job situation, school situation, or living situation; but you won’t be abandoned.

Christ reigns forever in His Kingdom, and we need to seek that. Instead of imagining all that could go wrong, remember all that He has done.

When we are being stretched, let us stretch toward the Savior.

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