Time

Hello, dearest blog readers. Today I am writing for no reason at all. Ok, that isn’t true. I’m writing because I told you in my very first blog that the purpose of this was partly to document my college experience. So today’s big topic is that of time (everywhere else, it just drags on; here it seems to be lacking!).

I’ve been here at IWU for 17 days now. It’s kind of funny because I can’t really give you an exact description of what it has been like because nearly every day is different. As many of you know, I struggled with meeting people and fitting in at first. I’m not saying that it’s suddenly easy, but God really answered my prayers and has put marvelous people in my life (not to mention the community of believers back home with which I’m still in contact). But now a new challenge has begun to seep from the pages of my textbooks, and responsibilities are now oozing from my syllabi. The newest challenge I’m facing is how to manage my time. I’m taking 15 credit hours (that’s quite a load after suffering from a serious case of senioritis only a few months ago). So we take all of the work that needs to be done and then look in the mirror and realize, “Holy Moses! I need to work out!” I’m pretty hardcore in the gym, so I have to give myself about 5 hours to pump the iron really well. (that’s a lie). And then on top of that is the desire to eat and drink coffee! These things require time. And then you have to walk EVERYWHERE. Apparently my hips aren’t aligned, so that means factoring in extra time due to a slowed pace (a slight exaggeration). AND THEN THERE’S SLEEP (no exaggeration at all). I don’t think I need to elaborate on that one. Most importantly, I have to make time to be alone with God. There’s a cute little prayer chapel that I love going to, but this too requires a segment of time.

Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not complaining. I really love college life a lot. But itโ€™s so hard to find time for everything. Thatโ€™s all! Have a great day. ๐Ÿ™‚

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More of the Awesomeness you’ve been waiting for!

I told you I would tell you more. Here we go! Get ready because this is seriously all to God’s glory. Tuesday night at Summit (IWU’s week of spiritual focus), Dr. Jo Ann Lyon (she’s way high up with the Wesleyan church…like the Superintendent or something) talked to us about healing. A response time was offered at the end of the service. She told us that we could come forward to the alter for prayer for ANY kind of healing. She was giving examples, and when she said something about insecurity, I just knew I needed to go forward. God was pulling on my heart hardcore. But I want all of you to get why this prayer was so incredible. The people who were praying for us were people with some big titles and credentials. I prayed with Dr. Jim Lo, the Dean of the Chapel. Maybe you don’t understand how cool that is, but I’m telling you that people with those titles just don’t stoop to the level of someone like me. So there I was, shaking and holding back tears as I told Dr. Lo that i needed prayer for my insecurities and the anxiety and fear that comes along with it. He anointed my head with oil and prayed for my healing right there at the alter. That was truly one of the most incredible moments of my life. I walked back to my seat with tears in my eyes as I let myself truly feel the hurts inside of me and begin to trust that Jesus was in the process of healing me. The Holy Spirit moved in a way that I had never experienced, not just in my life, but in the lives of my fellow classmates. It was a beautiful glimpse into what heaven will be like someday.ย 

It was all I could do to fall asleep that night due to the crazy amount of joy that was in my heart. Dr. Lo had prayed that I wouldn’t have self-confidence, but rather Spirit-confidence. Those were powerful words that will come to pass in my life due to a powerful God. So, I really didn’t get a lot of sleep that night, and woke up bright and early yesterday morning to get coffee with my English professor, Dr. Karnehm (she wears cool scarves and currently doesn’t love squirrels…just so you know). I had written a brief paper about a situation I had been through with my dad, and she offered to meet with me after reading it. How could I say no to such a great offer? And let me tell you, that visit gave me enough joy to get through the entire yesterday. God answers prayers, guys. I never would have thought that I could connect so well to someone I had only known for a week, but it happened. At the conclusion of our visit, she told me we should keep getting together and that she was glad I was in her class. That is totally the hand of God because I have seriously done nothing worthy of praise in her class so far. hahaha. The only thing I’ve done is make lame squirrel comments. She smiles every time, so I guess I’m doing ok.

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There are a couple more brief stories I need to tell you before I wrap this up. These are just as cool as the rest because they are totally because of God. Monday night I received a message on facebook from a student here at IWU that I have never met in my life. She said that a guy, whom we both know from two different places, had informed her that I went here. She just wanted me to know that she was praying for me and that maybe we could get together sometime. It also turns out that we’re both in the Women’s Chorus. Boom. Community. Answer to prayer. Praise God.

The night of the healing service, I found myself sitting alone just watching everything that God was doing. I must have looked pretty lonely because a girl I knew from my Spanish class came and sat down next to me. She just wanted to be there to comfort me if I needed it and also to take in the awesomeness of the moment together. After we talked and worshiped together, she asked for my number and invited me to go over to her dorm any time I needed to or wanted to hang out. Boom. Community. Answer to prayer. Praise God.

Again, on that some wonderful night, a girl came in and sat down in the same row that my friends and I were sitting in. She sat down several seats down, so I told her to move on down closer to us. I was probably really awkward about it, but I asked her name and introduced myself. We got to talking. We got each others’ numbers and became facebook friends. Her status on facebook lastnight mentioned me and how she knew we met for a reason. Boom. Community. Answer to prayer. Praise God.

I am just feeling so blessed with all of this. Are things suddenly perfect now? Of course not. (If you knew how much homework I have to do, you would probably vomit…and so would I, which is why I’m pretending like I don’t have any). I still spend a lot of time alone. I’m still living and walking in the FAITH that God has begun healing me of my hurts and insecurities. I’m still a weak vessel in need of the Holy Spirit. I’m still awkward. I’m still me, but God has opened my eyes so much just in the last 2 or 3 weeks alone. I can’t imagine who I’ll be by the end of the semester, or when I stand in front of Him face to face.

I just want to thank all of you who have been praying for me lately. Each and every one of you is such a huge blessing in my life. Don’t ever forget that God is at work in your lives too. You don’t have to be at IWU to feel the presence of God. He sees you.

It’s time for me to officially wrap this up. I need to head to the wellness center to work out. I’m actually starting to get some muscles…seriously I am! ok…well, maybe it’s just wishful thinking. Maybe you could add that to your prayers when you are praying for me. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Awesomeness

Hey all! I hope you’re all doing swell (yes, that word is coming back). It’s almost 1 in the morning and I took a sleeping pill, so I’m a little on the sleepy side, but I’m so awake in my spirit tonight (I’m also jaming out to Adele, and that truly makes everything seem more soulful lol just a side note). I know that God is faithful allllllllll the time, but it can sometimes be difficult to see when we’re hurting or feeling alone. But as many of you know, I basically spent all of last week feeling broken and confused and frustrated. I began to pray for community, for a place, for some peace here at IWU. And I prayed some more, and some more. I went to the prayer chapel…and you can probably guess what I did…(if you haven’t caught on yet, I prayed!). It was right around the time that I wrote my last blog post that God started answering my prayer. It was Monday night after Summit (that’s IWU’s super big spiritually focused week) when something rather unfortunate happened.

It was in the middle of a response time for people who were wanting to forgive someone in their life. To be honest, I needed to do that with some crap that has happened/continues to happen with my dad, but I didn’t because I was beginning to freak out about my phone. Now, this is kind of getting off topic, but I warned you that I’m getting tired. But earlier that day, my phone had started beeping really loud in class and I couldn’t get it to shut off. In the middle of that response time, as my eyes were closed, I just started sweating. “God, please don’t let my phone go off again!” this was my prayer. About the time when I was about to wrap up my little prayer request, it started beeping!!! As any awkward person would do, I turned red and rushed out of the auditorium, the whole time remembering to look toward the ground with a serious look on my face to convince people that I had some business to take care of rather than the fact that I was too dumb to just take the battery out of my demon-possessed phone. Well maybe that wasn’t exactly how it was, but something equally awkward took place! Nevertheless, I eventually found myself outside, cursing my phone and again, looking awkward. It was about this time when a classmate from my Spanish class came out the door. At the height of my awkwardness, I tried to maintain a somewhat normal conversation until she started asking me the hard questions. There weren’t really any warm up questions like, “So, did you see any cool squirrels today?” before she jumped to something similar to, “So how are you doing with the forgiveness topic?” Now, she had no idea about what I’ve been through with my dad, so I knew it had to be a Holy Spirit kind of thing going on. I told her that I definitely had things to work through, and without hesitation, she prayed for me right there outside of the chapel. That was all it took for me to realize that it was safe to tell her how much I was struggling with feeling alone. I regret getting emotional (no matter what, I always stay true to the gift of awkward that has been bestowed upon me), but her response was perfect. “Well I guess you and I need to be hanging out then!” Boom. My prayer was answered. Praise God.

There is soooooo much more I need to share, but it’s going to have to be continued. I am incredibly tired, and you’re tired of reading my sentences with comma errors in them. It’s in moments like these that I realize how much I love Melatonin (sleep aid, for those of you who get your beauty sleep without any frustrations). Goodnight everyone. Keep reading; there’s so much more you will be thrilled to read about…tomorrow. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Hey everybody! …

Aside

Hey everybody! Well today was my first time going to church as a college student. I do have to brag a little bit. First of all, I got myself out of bed all on my own (my lovely roommate went home yesterday so I was alone allllllll night and ate some of her food while she was gone. She won’t mind). But, to continue with my bragging, I was also able to get ready in under an hour!!! That’s what some would consider..SKILL. ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyway, today I just wanted to catch all of you up on what’s going on in my college life. I find myself feeling very discouraged today as I sit in my room by myself. Thankfully I didn’t sit alone in church or at lunch, but I sat with strangers and basically felt like I was alone. I watched as crowds of IWU students walked to church together and sat together. People laughed and had fun as they enjoyed their Sunday lunch together. I find myself just asking a simple question today: “Why?” Why can’t I have friends like that? Why don’t people notice me? Why did God make me so undesirable to everyone? I smile at people, try to talk to people. Some people are really nice about it. They just smile and take pitty on me. But others don’t even go that far. It’s not IWU problem; it’s just a problem with me I guess. I don’t understand it. I’ve been begging and begging God for community and relationships and still I’m sitting alone. So why? I believe very strongly that God has a plan for my life. I know there’s a reason why I’m going through this. But I just don’t know why. I thought things would be different by now, but I guess not. I continue to find myself sitting on the outside looking in. Why? ย ย ย  I don’t even know why I’m blogging about this. I just had to get it off my heart I guess. It’s like this relentless sorrow that I carry with me everyday, this continuing heartache that I fear will always be a part of who I am. So could I ask anyone who reads this to just say a prayer for me? I would so appreciate that. As Christians, we make up the body of Christ. I don’t know whether I’m a finger or an eyebrow or what, but I do know that I’m struggling. I need some of the other parts of the body to just lift me up in prayer so that Satan doesn’t get me down. I’m well aware that he wants nothing more than to trick me into letting these feelling grow into bitterness and anger. So, thanks so much for anyone who is willing to pray.

But, how could I write this blog without praising the Lord? He was so faithful in allowing me to come here to IWU. He has given me a good roommate and good classes with good professors. There are good people here too; I just don’t know them very well. I’m healthy and for the most part pretty happy. This is a fresh start and all the glory goes to Him. He has been so faithful to me. He knows what I need and why I hurt, and He’s not ignoring me. Praise God.

I hope all of you are doing well and enjoying your weekend. I hate to break it to you, but it’s almost over. haha. That kind of hits me hard as well because I haven’t touched my homework yet! But anyway, I hope you all get to something fun and relaxing today with the ones you love. Don’t ever take the community and people in your life for granted. They are true gifts from God. Peace out, and pet a squirrel today.

Life

Hey guys! I hope everyone is doing well. ๐Ÿ™‚ I want to give everyone an update on how I’m doing in college. I have officially been here for a week now, and let me tell you….it has not been easy. Somewhere in my mind I had painted a rosy picture of just becoming this new person, automatically making a ton of new friends, and meeting the man of my dreams. But let me tell you something; none of that has happened. It has actually been quite the opposite! lol I feel more single than I ever have as I see guys flirting with all the pretty girls on campus while I’m gaining the freshman fifteen by eating at Chick-fil-a again. I’ve met some nice people, but I eat alone in the dining hall. I walk to my hall alone. I can even be in a crowd and feel alone. That brings me to the next point. I’m not a new person. I’m the same girl that I was when I moved in. I have the same fears, limitations, gifts, love for squirrels, and self-esteem issues. This reminds me of a conversation I had with my grandpa one time. He said that before he left home as a teenager, his mother had told him these wise words: “Wherever you go, there you will find yourself.” I have found this to be incredibly true as I sit here (alone lol) in my dorm room. No matter how hard I tried to fill all my boxes and bags with things other than Jessica Dugdale, I’m still here. I can’t run away from myself. The past week has been a major wake-up call as I’ve come to realize the truth of what my great-grandmother told my grandpa. I’m still Jessica Dugdale, and I’m here at college.

But before you think I’m like the most negative person on the planet, I’d like to tell you what this realization has taught me and what hope I’m starting to find. I will do my best to be clear in what I’m saying. Here goes.

There are parts of all of us that can never and should never be changed. I’m introverted, always have been and always will be. It would be wrong of me to try to become extroverted. It would just be terrible. So that is one part of me that can never change. Here’s another component of Jessica Dugdale. I have always been and will always be analytical. I can’t pretend not to notice things. That is just something that won’t go away. That’s part of the person God made me to be. It’s easy for me to think that these two characteristics are what is causing me to have so much trouble meeting people (and guys lol…). But that isn’t it.

There are some parts of me that CAN change. And here is the biggest thing: lack of confidence. I have spent so much of my life hating the way I am and squirming in my own skin. Sometimes I just feel so uncomfortable. In my mind, it feels like everyone is looking at me and thinking I’m ugly, fat, and stupid. But the analytical gift of mine has revealed that most people are so consumed with what they’re doing that they really fail to notice most other people. Only analytical people like me would actually sit and watch me and make these judgements. It just doesn’t happen. My point in saying this is that the lack of confidence is something that can be fixed by the Grace of God. I will always be prone to these feelings (just like I’m always going to be prone to eating Chick-fil-a more often than I should), but God is always faithful to be strong when I’m weak.

Another thing that can go is this belief that I’m not good enough to have friends. That is a lie that I built from failed friendships in my past. I was praying earlier and really just pouring my heart out to God about how badly I want community. I told Him that I knew I had things to offer. We all have things to offer, so it’s dumb for me to live my life alone because I think that I’m not friend material.

Last but not least, fear needs to go. Remember the verse that talks about how we weren’t given a spirit of timidity? (was that in one of the Timothys???) Well, I belong to Jesus Christ, and His Spirit is within me. Why would I be afraid? I spend SO much of my energy being terrified of what people think of me and I spend hours fearing that I’ll never have friends. What does that accomplish other than fueling the negativity and brokenness inside of me?

I hope I’ve been clear in expressing some of the things inside of me that I brought with me to college. Some things have to stay, but others must go. I would encourage each of you to maybe just spend some time in prayer and reflect on who you are. We have God given abilitites and traits, which are wonderful when we live them out in our lives. But we also live in a fallen world where Satan lies to us and we then begin to put other things into our hearts that were never meant to be there.

Thanks so much to all of you who actually read this. It’s nice to feel noticed. This brings me to my final point. I’m beginning to see that God really does answer our prayers. I was talking to Him earlier about how lonely I was. I just felt so invisible. Well, there was a super nice student working in McConn tonight who not only noticed me, but called me by name, asked me what I was doing with my evening, where I lived, and what I was studying (oh, and if I wanted whip cream in my frozen hot chocolate). She noticed me.:) GOD HEARS OUR PRAYERS AND KNOWS WHAT WE NEED. If you’re feeling discouraged in any way at all, let God know. And it won’t be long before He starts providing relief.

One last thing, and then I promise I’ll shut up. Remember how much you are loved by the Creator of the Universe. Maybe you feel unloved by people in your life who have let you down and broken your heart. But He loves you. Seriously. Peace out, and watch out for squirrels.