Growing Pains

I turned 26 this week.

Funny, wasn’t I just 16?

When I stop and realize I’m a real life adult, I wonder who let that happen.

This year my goal is to stop thinking “real” life is going to happen one day and embrace the fact that I am living my life now. Each and every day is full of potential and opportunity, joy and challenges, and each day is a blessing.

Being the nostalgic thinker I am, I couldn’t help but reminisce over what has changed this last year. A year ago I didn’t know that I would be quitting my job, leaving friends and family, moving over a thousand miles west, starting graduate school… A year ago I didn’t know I would be back on the other side of the classroom experience, or that I would make incredible & inspiring new friends, or that I would fall in love.

I wouldn’t be living this life now if I didn’t have enough trust in God and His voice to make a change.

Yet, I feel like God is now focusing on trust in my life.

At first when I think about it, I felt almost sheepish about the topic. I’ve been a Christian for most of my life, shouldn’t I trust God? But when I stop to look deeper, it’s not that I don’t trust Him. I just believe He is calling me to trust him more. And that will require some uncomfortable moments or stretching moments.

I like to listen to podcasts when I run; my current favorite one (and has been for months) is Christine Caine’s weekly post. One of her messages is called “Growing Pains.” She refers to the need for God to stretch us in order to enlarge our capacity for Him to do more. My favorite quote is “There is a direct correlation to your ability to bear pain and your ability to grow.” The image of growing pains and being able to sustain un-comfortableness or pain or inconvenience helps me put into perspective how God is moving currently in my life.

I have learned to trust Him in many things. I trusted Him to quit my job and move to Missouri. I trusted Him when my dad was diagnosed with cancer and when the cancer returned. I trusted Him when I was fundraising for an internship in South Africa and I was anonymously gifted $1,000. He provides. I know He does.

Yet, He’s continuing to teach me. When I was a senior in high school, I received a tuition scholarship to Valley Forge. I remember hitting my knees when I got the call from my mom, in my friends’ parent’s bathroom. The Lord spoke to me in that moment. He told me that I would never need to worry about money.

I remind myself of that. But it’s difficult at times to live it out. I even have moments when I can live it out faithfully in action. Yet it’s my attitude that continues to struggle, whether with anxiety, worry, or guilt.

I am still procrastinating on turning in my change of degree program form. I’ve had it filled out (except for my advisor’s signature) for months. Every time I think about turning it in, fear begins to choke my decisiveness and I start a process of doubt. This main concern is money—the program is more credit hours so it would be a greater financial investment.

I was sharing my fears and questions with Dave this week, trying to decide if it’s worthwhile. It seems like a big jump when I personally don’t have a road map to see where I will go in life to be able to justify the need for this degree. At church Sunday, God quietly but clearly impressed in me that I need to be in the M.Div program. And that I need to preach. Which is another idea to tackle later.

I guess a step to trusting God more is turning in the request form…sooner than later.

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My birthday wish is to grow this year. Because healthy things grow.

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