I was not scheduled to write at all in January. I didn’t know why. This is why.
January was filled with firsts.
The first time I’d been around 50,000+ people.
The first time I’d fully gotten into learning more about God.
The first time I’d realized how much I’m being pushed to God by others.
The first time I’d cried buckets multiple nights in a row about college.
The first time I’d made a decision about college.
The first time I’d decided to fully and completely entrust God with my future.
Let me elaborate. I hope this helps with your journey to what God has planned for you.
Little bit of backstory: I was (and am still… lol) signed up to go to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga *said with gusto*. I wasn’t exactly confident in that decision, but it was a decision that I made for myself that I was set on, because I was not about to go back on my word (actual decisions for myself RARELY occur).
It happened all really quickly. I made a visit, liked it a lot, signed up. That’s it. I mean, I prayed a lot about it, but God was silent. I assumed that meant that it was a perfect plan, and I had it (mostly) figured out. Everything was flawless, and nothing could go wrong.
Spoiler alert: I was incorrect.
Okay, fast forward. The beginning of January, I went to Passion. If you’re unfamiliar, it’s a big conference with so many people (college age) all together to learn about God. I have to say, it was an absolutely overwhelming experience to be with that many people worshiping the Lord. I will never forget how obviously present He was those few days right there in the Georgia Dome. I always go back to that feeling.
For 3 days I swallowed up every single detail I could get about Jesus, how to live as a Christian, how to persevere, and how to just love and trust in Jesus.
It inspired me. I know after most conferences like this, you might get a “spiritual high” that lasts a few days. This was so different. I have never loved God as much as I do now, and I hope so much that it only grows.
However, in the few weeks to come, I started to fear the future. I’m talking blood running cold, heart-stopping, hand-trembling, tear-flowing fear. I’m not kidding when I tell you that when I thought about going to Chattanooga, I wanted to be sick. I figured it was just nerves or hormones.
After brushing off very important emotions, I turned 18. Yay! That’s very exciting, except for that now I’m an adult. Which did not add to the stress of the future AT ALL. It’s fine.
So, a few days ago, at the end of January, my mom and I had a talk. I don’t even remember what started the conversation or why we had it, but I definitely remember it.
“Neely, do you feel like you HAVE to go to UTC?”
“Well, no. I want to.”
“Are you sure? Because you know your dad and I don’t care if you want to stay up here and go to Northeast or Walters State. Nothing’s tying you to UTC.”
I brushed it off. “I know. I don’t want to go to Northeast or Walters State.” I actually didn’t know what I wanted deep down. I just said that to back up my decision.
“Are you scared?”
I could feel the enormous lump in my throat form and stinging tears well up in my eyes. I was terrified. I had expressed this to her before, but I guess not really actually told her out loud how scared I was.
And I’m not sure it was about me leaving the town I grew up in; It was more of a fear that, now, I have to actually grow up. Really quickly. Moving to Chattanooga meant the end of depending on my parents financially and emotionally. I had to be an adult. I was not ready for that.
I cried a lot while she comforted me and told me that I could do whatever I wanted, and I hadn’t thought of that. I could do whatever I wanted. That seemed comforting and exciting until I realized I didn’t know what I wanted.
I prayed, wrote in my journal, and talked to my friends and family. I didn’t know what to do. Whenever I did so, I realized how much these people loved me and how much they pushed me towards God. They all wanted me to turn to Him.
Just pray about it. God has a plan. -my wonderful mom
No matter what you decide, I’ll support you, and God will be there. Pray about it. -my loving dad
I wish you would believe that God has it all under control. Turn to Him. Learn to trust Him and rest in His arms. Don’t be afraid. -my supportive boyfriend
I believe in you; God has dreams for you. (followed by many wise scripture verses that applied exactly to me.) -my long time best friend
*shouts of love and support* -my awesome friends
I am honestly so blessed to have them. After listening to them, myself, and, most importantly, God, I’ve come to a decision: to absolutely entrust God with my entire future. I must say, it is really hard, and this story IS NOT OVER. I’m still learning and struggling.
But aren’t we all?
p.s. in case you were wondering, I decided to go to North East for a semester and figure out what God wants me to do with my career to glorify Him, then go to Florida for a semester, then hopefully get to go to UTC. But nothing is definite, and that’s becoming less terrifying. The joy is in the mystery, isn’t it?
p.p.s. Do not think this story has ended yet. I’m still struggling a lot with fear and uncertainty. We’ll see what happens in the months to come. My life is a story, and I am just in the middle. I have more ups and downs to endure, all with God by my side.