Lonely But Not Alone

     Long time no blog post!  College is busy and fun and so much to handle all at once, let me tell you.  This week I’ve found myself with very little classwork and studying to do so I figured it was time for a new blog post.  Today I’m sharing a little about my life and something I’ve been learning lately.

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     Like I said, this week has been relatively easy, but last week was not.  At the start of last week, I felt like being vulnerable and opened up to my roommate about how I felt like I had a lot of friends here at Baylor, yet none of them really knew me and completely loved me for who I am.  Within forty-eight hours of saying this, I faced four separate circumstances with friends that all unintentionally corroborated the way I was feeling — that I was surrounded by people, people who were definitely my friends, but I was not fully known or fully loved by any of them.

     At home, I spent most of high school with many friends, but only a few that really knew me.  I was completely content with that because I knew I could count on these few; they could always tell when I wasn’t quite myself, they knew what made me feel loved, and they understood me.  It’s obviously completely unrealistic to come to college expecting to immediately find friendships that felt like the ones you spent years building in high school, but that doesn’t make it any easier to feel lonely.

     I was bombarded with assignments and tests and I felt like I wasn’t really valued by the people I made time for and did kind things for.  I was so frustrated because before that week, I felt like I was doing pretty well; I just began leading Young Life at a local high school a few weeks ago, I had plenty of friends in my dorm, generally speaking I had a grip on my schoolwork, I found a church home, and I was spending time in the Word every day.  What I didn’t understand was that God was teaching me something.

     Last week I began praying in ways I haven’t in a long time.  I recalled all the times I had heard that being in a relationship with God meant you would be upset with Him sometimes and that it was okay to tell Him that.  I begged God to comfort and provide and make His presence known the way He promises to in the Bible and in the devotionals I was reading.  I prayed for a community that would make me feel like I was valued, loved, and understood.  I told Him I knew what He was capable of and I waited expectantly for Him to show up.  Then He did.

     Thursday afternoon, I got together with my mentor group from Young Life leader training to catch up — this was probably the first time all week that I didn’t feel empty and unnoticed.  Later that evening I hung out with some of the people on my Young Life team and one of the kids at the high school we lead at.  Friday night we went to the high school’s football game and then I got to hang out with one of my co-leaders who I’m starting to get really close to.  This week has been filled with Wizards of Waverly Place and Victorious watching sessions and other spontaneous and simple and fun things like meeting the president of Baylor at a volleyball game, getting way too much coffee and spending way too many hours at Common Grounds with so many great people, finally trying Bittersweet’s iconic cookies, and getting dinner with a friend I made through blogging (four years ago!) when she came to tour.

     As I’m getting to know other Young Life leaders in Waco, I’m finally starting to get that community I’ve been waiting ever so impatiently for.  I now have people that I feel like I can be open with and feel valued by.  I had been feeling so lonely, but I now realize I was not alone in two ways — I am not the only college student who has felt surrounded yet forgotten and even when I was crying alone in my dorm room, God was with me.  I think sometimes God presses pause on our comfort to get our attention so He can teach us something that will allow us to appreciate Him all the more when the good gets better.

     Don’t get me wrong, college is still absolutely not perfect and it’s really not all fun and games.  I spent fourteen hours studying for a test last weekend and I’m pretty sure I still didn’t do well.  I have a departmental exam for one of my journalism classes from 6:00 – 11:00 p.m. next Tuesday.  However, I’m so thankful for reminders of the Lord’s faithfulness like this week.  He will provide in His own timing, and in the waiting it’s really important to rely fully on Him — He has always been, is always, and will always be sufficient for us.

Thanks for reading!

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