Hello Hello Beautiful People! I hope you are all doing well! I am so sorry that my posts have been so sporadic recently, but this upcoming week is finals week, and after that I will be free for the summer, and we will be back on schedule! As much as I am so looking forward to this summer, I am not going to lie, I am really not ready to leave Monticello. Now if you had told me that my first day here, I probably would have laughed my butt off. Literally. You see, this town is tiny and I was beyond nervous of starting anew. When I was being recruited here, I had no idea that this place even existed, and whenever we got a Dairy Queen earlier this year, it literally made the first page of the newspaper! No joke, its crazy. When I got here to Monticello, I didn’t know a soul. I was literally starting from scratch here, and I’ll be honest I was terrified, but now that I’m looking back over the course of these past nine months, I wouldn’t of had it any other way.
Because of that, I would love to give some advice to those who read my post today. Today, I will be continuing off of the post from last week to a certain extent, but the primary focus is to offer advice to all of those who need it. With that being said, let’s dive on in!
So last week, I really wrote about love and what all I have learned about it during this study I have been doing, but this week I really want to broaden the scope and discuss with you some stuff I have learned over the course of this school year, as well as, offer y’all some encouragement! As I have been looking back over the course of the year, it really has been powerful to see how God has been working in and through this campus. When I got here to Monticello, I had no idea necessarily what I was doing. People from back home had given me advice on what to do once I got here (like plug into a church, get involved at the BCM, go to the Library at least once a week, look nice in class so you can get you a boy, etc.) but even though I had all of this head knowledge about things I needed to do, placing all of it into practice was a completely different story. I knew how to dress nice, I found the library (eventually), and I found a church after undergoing a “church shopping” session, but the biggest piece of advice that I struggled with was being intentional about talking to people, in general, as well as about Jesus. Now for those of you who don’t know me on a personal level, I am very quiet until you get to know me. My jokes are mediocre at best except for about once a week when I have a good one, and I really don’t like opening up to people about my struggles or discussing my successes; therefore, having conversations with new people that are deeper than small talk was a struggle for me. Though I can encourage those around me and sing their praises until the cows come home, I really don’t like doing it for myself and allowing people that close to me to do so. I am not proud of this at all, nor do I suggest following in my footsteps, but I say all of this with a purpose: God over the course of time, and through some great, God-fearing people taught me that this was not a way to live. You see, God created us as relational beings. He wants us to have relationships not only with Him, but with other people as well. And because of the fear of being vulnerable and judged and weak or, honestly, being afraid of maybe being viewed as bragging when something good or exciting was happening in my life, I kept myself closed off. And man let me tell you, this was not an easy lesson to learn, but it is so crucial for us all to learn, and I want to encourage you to learn from me and not be afraid to open up to people. And because I know it was so difficult for me to do, I want to offer y’all some advice on how to do so:
- Plug In: The biggest thing I want to encourage you to do is get plugged in. Find a local Bible study or something that you can find some like-minded people to grow in faith and connect with. The Bible study I go to on Monday nights (shout out to Mrs. Kristi) is the perfect example of this, for many of my teammates went and I was able to meet a fantastic group of God-fearing, lovely ladies.
- Be Social: Another thing is to get out of the dorm room and go to school events. One thing I want to tell y’all is that college is such a big adjustment that it will seem like there will be times where juggling a social life, and academics, and other things gets overwhelming. Don’t let that hinder you from putting yourself out there and getting to know people.
- Be Intentional: This is one I really struggled with, tbh. What I mean by this is make a conscious, active effort to go out and to connect with people. If you strike up a conversation with someone and they enjoy coffee, ask if they would like to go get a cup of Joe with you. Trust me, and know that when you do so, you never know what could happen. For example, there is one girl on my team that I asked to get coffee with and she has made such a positive impact on my life, it is quite amazing.
- Be Persistent: While you are in college, there are so many different characters and people that you are going to meet, and you aren’t naturally going to click with everyone you come across. With that being said, don’t let one bad encounter deter you from going out and putting yourself out there.
- Pray Now and Pray Loud: The last and most crucial bit of advice I can give you is to begin praying now. Whether you are an incoming freshman or still in college, I encourage you to begin to pray over the next semester and the connections you will make now, and watch how God will work in the situations. This is something that I did at the end of my first semester because I was at a place in my life where I had many acquaintances, but nobody I could really call my friend. There were many times I would cry out to God and I would just beg for a friend and for Him to bless me with someone that I could lean on and open up to. And man this past semester, He has blessed me in that category with more than I could imagine.
Let me tell y’all a story: So this past season for softball we have not done very well. It has been a struggle and very hard at times to remain positive in this situation, and you want to hear something crazy? Though this easily could’ve been a situation that could’ve broken the team apart, anyone can see that God actually used this situation to bring us as well those who love Him closer together. There are so many lovely and strong young women on this team, and I am so honored to call them my friends. And by the way, Finny, Kali, Hayley, Stamp, Mallory, Abigail, Chelsea, and everyone else, I am so grateful for the opportunity to get to know y’all better this year!
One last thing I would like to discuss with y’all before we go is something that ties in with what I discussed with y’all this past week. Please don’t be afraid to love on people. You see, we are all broken creatures who long for love, acceptance, and intimacy. We all are broken and struggle with different and difficult things. We all want to have close friends we can lean on; therefore, don’t be afraid to give the love you want to receive. Because here’s the thing, if there is anything I have learned it is that if you give love, not only do you feel better about being intentional with people, but also you will eventually get love back in return. The cool thing is is that it honestly can be so simple to do. For example, smiles, hugs, pats on the back, holding open the door, or even the mere action of buying someone a coffee and having a conversation can speak volumes. Don’t let the busyness of this life deter you from creating relationships, for we are all created to have relationships with people and support and cherish those around us.
As I wrap up, I want to all strongly encourage y’all to try this this summer and this upcoming school year. I did it and will continue to do so this upcoming school year and it has blessed my life in so many ways. Know that I love y’all, and more importantly the God who chases after the lost, who took the cross for you, and rose after the third day loves you with a passionate love. You will never be alone, and He will never leave you broken, for He will bring about goodness in and through the brokenness. And that my friends is amazing.
With all that being said, I hope you all have a great week. I love y’all and I am praying for y’all, and we will talk again soon!