If I'm being honest

Edit: Originally posted on 1/17/2017 on jordynschirripa.weebly.com

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Have you ever been equally excited about something but equally scared of it at the same time? If I'm being honest, for me that thing was the year 2017. That may seem odd to you, but let me explain what I mean.

Whenever a new year dawns, most people are filled with enthusiasm. They make goals, plans, and promises to themselves about what they are or aren't going to do this year. For me, 2017 was something I looked forward to but also something I had been very scared of. This year is going to bring a lot of "firsts" for me as well as some very big life moments.

For starters, this summer I will be moving to New York City for ten weeks to be a social media intern for a media company. Excited? More like thrilled. Terrified? Absolutely. Along with moving away from home for the longest time I ever have as well as the farthest distance yet, I will be living in a huge (understatement) city, where I will be living, working and spending time with people I literally do not know at all and who are probably very different than me. It isn't so hard to believe that fear of the unknown has gotten to me at times and has attempted to take away some of the dreaminess of my summer plans.

Along with this, I also figured out last semester that I am absolutely 100% going to have to graduate early in December 2017 from Clemson. *cue the panic* With that being said, this year started off with the realization that I only have two semesters left of college and then it's the real world. No apologies, no tradsies, no takebacks.

Anxious thoughts of leaving my friends, what I am going to do during the spring semester next year, am I going to get a real job, am I going to stay in Clemson, am I going to move to a new city, etc., etc., instantly flooded my mind. I was not prepared to start thinking about any of that stuff this year. It was as if the second 2017 began my time bomb started ticking away as I entered a cloud of uncertainty.

I'm not trying to be dramatic or pessimistic about any of this, I'm just being honest that these are the feelings I was battling while at the same time trying to be joyful about my opportunities. However, the other day Matthew 6 was brought to my attention. Part of the passage reads:

25 That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? 28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? 31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need."

God provides for us, God cares for us, He is our Father that knows our needs, and He gives us everything we need. This passage has truly convicted me of all the fear that I have been accumulating about the coming months and has prompted me to turn to God with open arms instead of a closed off mind. Rather than being fearful that people will be so different from me in NYC, I'm praying that God would give me just one person that is a believer in my work place. Instead of being sad and scared to graduate early, I'm asking God to provide me with an opportunity that I can't even imagine right now. And instead of being anxious, I am waiting eagerly and excitedly to see how God is going to care for me in these moments to come.

Jesus could not have told us in a more straight forward way that this is the character of our Heavenly Father. It is who He is to provide for us and to give to us. And He doesn't do it because He has to, because we know we don't deserve His blessings. Rather, He gives to us what we need because He cares so wonderfully for us. 

When you think of God providing for the birds and taking care of the flowers, you can't help but feel completely ridiculous for thinking that He wouldn't take care of you, His beloved son or daughter, in the same way. 

So friends, I want to encourage you by saying this: It doesn't matter what your 2017 holds. Whether you're graduating, moving somewhere new, doing something you've never done before, facing difficult decisions, or trying to be courageous in something God might have for you.

Live joyfully in the knowledge that God cares deeply about you. And not only can he provide for you, but He is going to provide for you what you need. Things may not work out in the ways you plan for them to or how you might have imagined, but God has purpose for you, just like He has a purpose for the birds and the wildflowers.

Your life is being used for His glory, and trusting in His goodness, sovereignty, and faithfulness glorifies Him even more.

Sometimes all we have to do is "look at the lilies" and be reminded that we have no reason to fear what is to come and we have every reason to march triumphantly into the future with expectant hearts for how our Father is going to provide for us, His children.

Jordyn Schirripa