Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Parable of the Missing Badge

To start out, I named this post just for my roommate Lucie who has been an inspiration to me and truly the best friend/roommate I could ask for.

I have been SO weighed down over the past couple of week that I haven't taken the opportunity to stop and reflect on my life. I haven't stopped to realize my priorities are becoming overwhelmed by the stress of my science major, church, my training for my half, and volunteering. I have been running like crazy trying to keep up with the things I've been thrown when I finally realized I can't do it all. I have a problem, and admitting it myself is the first step to making the changes I need to make in order to live a healthier life in all aspects.

This time of year is always chaotic and always causes me great anxiety. So not surprisingly this year was no different. As September progresses I begin to feel like I'm drowning in a sea of my own stress, most of which I cause myself. This year though, I vowed to myself to do some deep reflection of my heart, my dreams, and my ambitions, only to find out with great remorse that where I'm headed is not what I believe God wants for me. I've been striving for my own personal success, placing my grades and future dreams of a career over God. I've struggled to take the time to listen to him, rather than just tell him what I'm doing and ask for his support. So as the stress began to hit, I felt my life crumble around me. I became an emotional train-wreck, my body physically couldn't handle the stress as the lack of sleep and training were exhausting me, and lastly I wasn't seeing success. My grades weren't improving. I wasn't improving in my training, and I just seemed to always want to cry and eat ice-cream, which I shamefully did thinking that it would make me happy.

One day I was sitting in the library trying to study for a test I had in an hour, and I finally did something that I've never done before. I admitted to a close friend that I was struggling. I finally spoke aloud that I wasn't good, and that I truly felt like my life was crumbling around me. I struggle with the pride of self-image. I want everyone to think that my life is put together and perfect, when truly I struggle every day just to prioritize and to thank God for blessing me. So that day in the library, I reached a milestone. I was real with someone and actually shared the 'true shape' of my life. I realized that this was the self-reflection I had been craving, and just being able to speak it out to someone with listening hears was relief enough. A weight had been lifted, but still stress was overwhelming me.

The same week, I made it to class and in a panic realized that I had forgotten my badge for the hospital. So I did what all roommates do, and quickly texted my roommate to look in my room for it. Lucie couldn't find it, and with a time crunch to make it to my next class, I rushed home and began to literally tear my room apart. I was nearly in tears, and had foolishly began unpacking every single box in my room in desperation. Thinking aloud, I told Lucie how I was the worst volunteer, so irresponsible, and so on, but all along she kept a calm disposition and helped me look. I had just about given up, sitting on my floor not knowing how I was going to explain that I had lost my new badge (long story short, I had already had to receive a new one) and then Lucie saw it.

"Katelyn? Is that it up on the wall?!"

There my missing badge was, right on the wall clipped where I could easily and quickly find it. But in that 30 minutes I was dramatically overreacting and couldn't stop to think or to see what was clearly right in front of my face. This might be a long stretch, but after finding my badge I couldn't help but think to myself that I do the same thing with God every day. He is right in front of me offering me peace, relief from my stress, but I am so overwhelmed that I cannot see him standing right in front of me. I am so caught up in myself that I cannot see the important things, the one thing that at the end of the day that matters, God.

I realize now that my life has truly been all over the place. I have been bottling stress and letting it overwhelm me, but I am so thankful that my God is a forgiving God. He always welcomes me back into his arms when I realize I have failed him, and that I have forgotten him in light of my stressful days at college. I have finally realized that it is ok to admit that things aren't going well. It doesn't mean I'm a failure, it means I'm real. I struggle with my classes every day. I'm  a horrible test taker, and I'm still trying to learn how to study. Sometimes I'm not a good friend or roommate and I take out my stress on those around me. But I am SO thankful that I can now admit these struggles and ask for forgiveness. Our God is great, and I now know a peace that I have never known before.