Edit: Originally posted on 4/21/2016 on jordynschirripa.weebly.com
It's that time of year again. The time when the air is getting warmer, the grass is getting greener, skipping class is sounding better, and school is coming to an end. Another semester under our belts and another year closer to the real world (ahhhh scary !!). Even as all of these things are happening, I've found time to ponder what I've learned this year and I have tried to put it into words seven or eight times so here it goes...
Looking back, this year has been such a learning experience for me. I'm sure everyone has had different types of years- some good, some bad, some marked by success or new relationships, and others sadly marked by tragedy. For me, it is hard to categorize this entire year because last semester and this semester have been polar opposites. I can't even put the two on the same spectrum because they have been so remarkably different.
I'm not talking about my circumstances or anything tragic that happened in my life though. When I think about why this semester has been a thousand times more joyful, more free, and more beautiful than last semester, it comes down to one difference: my perspective.
You see without even realizing it, last semester I slipped down a deep dark path of selfishness. Everything was about me no matter if it was something positive or negative. Every time something went wrong I either blamed myself because I wasn't good enough or I thought that others were intentionally trying to hurt or reject me. Both of these patterns of thinking are self-focused, and because I was so self-focused, I couldn't even see the blessings I was surrounded with and I wasn't free to accept God's grace or extend it to others.
This kind of living made last semester a miserable experience for me. I was hurting myself by believing lies of inadequacy that the devil was using to tempt me and I was ruining my friendships by being selfish and slow to forgive. Thankfully though, the Lord revealed to me just how broken I am and showed me how selfish and self-focused I was being.
ver Christmas break, I processed through what I was learning about myself. I knew I didn't want the spring semester to look the same. I prayed and asked God to give me a new mindset, a new heart, a new set of eyes so that this semester would be different. I asked God to help me love others and restore relationships I hindered in my selfishness. I asked God to protect my head from lies about my inadequacies and insecurities so that I could live freely and boldly in His Spirit. I prayed all of these prayers and so many more just asking the lord to transform me and let this semester be a 180 from what last semester was.
And you know what happened?
The Lord heard my prayers.
Not only did God hear my prayers, but He answered them in greater ways than I could've ever imagined. The Lord gave me a new mind and eyes, he gave me the power to live differently, He humbled me to ask for forgiveness and restore friendships. He took away struggles I have had for years and completely removed the power of the lies and insecurities I've faced since middle school!
He humbled me, He picked me back up, He strengthened me, and He freed me to live in His spirit.
The best thing happens when you live with the lord everyday: you get to live in the light of His comfort and peace and experience true and genuine joy. This overwhelming comfort and joy allowed me to face rejection this semester and not even be shaken because I was experiencing the Lord's all encompassing peace like I've never felt before.
The beauty of this semester, for me, has come from full surrender. Full surrender of myself to the will, the plans, and the ways of the Father. Full surrender to live in the Spirit each and every day. Full surrender to the truth of the word of God so that I am empowered to reject temptation and lies from the devil. Full surrender to embrace the favor of God as a daughter so that I might know His goodness. This full surrender has been life changing for me in the way I view myself, the way I love my friends, and the way I handle my responsibilities.
It's not easy to give up the control you think you have. It's not easy to reject the way the world says "its all about you." It's not easy to humble yourself and be quick to forgive, even if others are hurting you. But let me tell you, it is so worth it to choose to live in the presence of the sovereign Lord because you get to experience His love and faithfulness in new ways everyday when you recognize who you are and whose you are in Him.
Its not always about the circumstances you are facing. It's more about the perspective you choose to take during those circumstances. Are you going to try to be in control, or are you going to fully surrender your life to the Lord and live in the promises of His goodness and faithfulness? The choice is easy my friends. Choose freedom.