Archived: July 17, 2015
I almost didn't get out of bed this morning..and I don't mean I was too tired to do so. I almost stayed in bed because I was too consumed with sadness. I stared at the ceilings and considered using my last absence in one of my summer classes, skipping work, and instead of going home to spend time with family and friends, staying in my bed in my apartment all weekend. I have to confess that this school year has been the most spiritually challenging time of my life. I've written briefly on some of my emotional and moral struggles (check out Five Life Lessons From Freshman Year!) but they extend so much deeper than that. In saying that I would also like to acknowledge that the struggles I've faced this year were temporarily "fixed" by distractions. Although my friends were one of my biggest support systems during all of these struggles, I intentionally used their presence in my life as a distraction from my feelings. So when we all went to our respective places for the summer, I anticipated having to face the reality of my struggles. I just never imagined it would hit me this hard.
For those of you who don't know I have been living by myself all summer. I moved into my first apartment with three amazing girls who are spending their summer elsewhere, while I spend my summer in Raleigh working and going to school. I had made the decision to stay in Raleigh earlier in the year. Because I did not want to seem childish or irresponsible to my parents I refused to ask them to move me back home last minute, even though I knew I was becoming more and more apprehensive about the decision as the summer approached. I made more than a few mistakes this year that I never thought I would make and my faith was really tested. It was as if my struggles were combined with my mistakes to make this intensely flawed and raw Stephanie. I had never seen myself as anything less than a good person with a good heart who excelled in most areas. And for the first time in my life, I felt like a horrible person who couldn't seem to excel in anything, These feelings lead to a whirlwind of a summer. I am not exaggerating when I say that I have cried at least once almost every day this summer. I have spent the few hours of the day when I'm not at work or in class crying alone in my empty apartment. I would say I'm embarrassed to admit this, but I'm not because..God.
As I laid in bed this morning I recognized that I needed encouragement. After some time spent staring at the ceilings I texted my friend and said "say something nice." I was expecting something along the lines of "you look nice in your snapchat" or something silly to make me laugh. Instead I received "You have a great heart. It's a blessing the drive you have to help people especially through your jobs that many people cannot manage." I do not know why this gave me the pick me up that I needed, but it did. The message prompted me to message another friend about her opinion on forgiveness, specifically of yourself. She shared something so beautiful with me that I wish I could put into words, but her thoughts definitely will shine in my reflection. I proceeded to turn on my Kirk Franklin radio to continue my morning encouragement. The first song that played was my favorite gospel song entitled "Back II Eden." The first verse of the song is as follows:
"When God made man, He made a spirit
It was His plan that we live blessed
The tempter came we were distracted
The tempter came and we fell
We were deemed to live a life that's beautiful; a life that's full; a life that's rich and plentiful
It is my goal to remind you of this principle
You're redeemed; a newborn soul
Let's get back to Eden; live on top of the world"
Immediately I was brought to tears (I know I know you're probably saying "enough crying already"). I realized that I had spent the entire summer wallowing in a borderline depression(and no I do not use this word lightly, I take mental health issues very seriously). While putting off a successful young- adult persona between work, school, and nannying, I was internally battling the guilt of mistakes and the stress of my struggles.I did all of this without realizing that this is exactly what Satan wants from you. You have probably heard the saying that the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy (slightly out of context sorry Mr. Smith!), but it applies to what Satan's goal is. Satan wants you to feel an insurmountable amount of guilt and stress. Satan wants you to feel that you are the sum of your mistakes, but that is not what God intended. "We were deemed to live a life that's beautiful; a life that's full; a life that's rich and plentiful" and that is something that was brought to us through Christ. Christ Jesus was sent to relieve us of these sins/ mistakes so that we could live as God fully intended. I'm not sure about any of you guys but I definitely feel like that life sounds much more fulfilling and joyful.So from here on out making it my personal quest to get back to the Eden that God intended for me. I hope you'll all find joy in something greater than yourselves and use that as your light in what may feel like the darkest of times.
As always stay sassy,