Post first year ramble
— what could have been my UR testimony, but then it got kinda long/required too much background and I also forgot oops
If you’d like to know why I’m sharing this ramble, read this!
Before coming to college, I lacked a personal relationship with God. I knew I believed, but there was something missing. This eventually manifested in a lot of self-doubt and questioning if I was good enough.
In retrospect, the problem is so clear: I was allowing my faith to be contingent on my own abilities. But at the time, it wasn’t so clear. It was muddy and hazy. I felt really frustrated and discouraged. Instead of untangling my roots that had become so disorganized and messy, I let them stay that way.
I didn’t want to come into college this way. I wanted to start off with this idealistic solid footing. And God really answered this prayer and allowed me to see my relationship with him more clearly. You can read about that here.
So I came into college with a renewed sense of what it meant to be a child of God. I joined Livingwater, and I became comfortable there pretty quickly. I really appreciated how caring the people were, and I was very inspired by how I could see people genuinely seeking God.
First semester was so hectic. I had no idea what I was doing. I was taking classes that I didn’t know anything about. I joined a couple clubs. I was pretty involved with Livingwater. I went to home group, large group, Sunday service, etc. I barely slept and was in Unit 1 more than I was ever in my own dorm. It was total chaos.
I went into winter break without much enthusiasm. I thought I’d feel a lot of FOMO seeing people in California playing together in the sunshine while I froze my toes off in Missouri.
Much to my surprise, I loved winter break. It didn’t feel long at all. I got a lot of much needed rest, caught up with high school friends, served on the worship team at my youth group’s retreat, and attended the One In Love conference. OIL really helped me to make sure my heart was oriented in the right direction for second semester. Everything felt slow- the college frenzy of life feeling like a webcast going at 2x speed was nonexistent at home. I had my own groove, and I was happy with the pace.
I felt really refreshed! I was ready to go back to Berkeley and see my college friends again.
AND THEN I GOT BACK AND I FELT E X H A U S T E D ALL THE TIME. The adrenaline of first semester had worn off, and after thinking about it for a bit, I realized that I had -7 alone time. I was literally always with someone else, especially since I never hiked back up to Stern until past midnight.
This desire to be alone is actually why I started going to Upper Room. I had gone a few times first semester, but I never went regularly. I started to go every Wednesday. I did QT’s there, prayed about whatever was on my heart, and sometimes I would just sit there in the quiet.
I started to look forward to being at Upper Room. I really liked the ambiance, the peace, the quiet, the time I could take to myself to be in prayer and the Word. Over the course of the semester, I grew to love the space itself.
Second semester itself was pretty chaotic too. Maybe like 3% down from first semester. I think the only difference was that I was less lost going to classes. I’m so directionally challenged, it’s actually a little sad.
Through everything that happened second semester, I found myself coming back to Upper Room regularly to reflect on whatever was weighing on me. I was able to lay down my struggles and I was able to rejoice over all of the good things. I was able to find rest in God’s presence.
Upper Room is where I learned how to have a personal relationship with God. Intimacy with the Lord wasn’t something I had a grasp of until then. I just found immense comfort and so much satisfaction in being in His presence. Being able to bring both my burdens and my joys to God helped me so much second semester.
With Sophomore Slump ahead, next semester feels a little daunting. So many people have told me to anticipate a lot of hardship. But regardless of whatever tribulations are ahead, I know that our God is not an apathetic god. He cares for his children deeply. And all we need to do is come to Him.
“Come to me, all you are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28–30