When I Look Back

So… I am officially graduated! Yup. It happened on Saturday. I was surrounded by a small crowd of some of the people who have been most important to me (though some were sadly missing). And I spent a lot of that day thinking about all that has happened in these last several years of my life, and how God has worked in them. My “theme verse” so to speak, is Romans 8:28.

“For we know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, those who are called according to His purpose.”

And despite some rough times, heartache, and general rough spots, I can honestly say that the verse is true. God has worked for good in some of the toughest situations. And I think it is important to reflect on the lessons I’ve learned through it all.

People are going to hurt you, but you can’t blame yourself when things fall apart. I have definitely known my fair share of hurt, especially in the last several months. I have lost friends, been called horrible names, even had to walk away from people I cared about because of it. I spent so much time blaming myself that I began to think that I deserved what they said and did. I have often felt alone and ostracized, even by the people whom one would think would be the most caring. I know now that I can’t always blame myself for every bad thing that happens. People will hurt you, people won’t always be kind, and sometimes things happen to people you care about. But blaming yourself, blaming anyone for that matter, only makes things worse.

New things aren’t something to be scared of, they can make you into a better person. I have been through plenty of change, and I have lots of experience with having to try new things. Especially in the last few years. Changing friendships, new places, and new jobs and roles to play. I used to hate change. I wanted everything to stay the same. But the changes that have happened lately have ultimately been for the better. Changing friendships? I have been strengthened and encouraged by the amazing friends I have now through some of the toughest times in my life. New places? Heading to a new church a couple of years ago was something I dreaded, but I ended up growing spiritually in ways I never imagined before. Leading a small group on Wednesdays? I have become so much better at communication… And crowd control. Singing in the praise team, I have become so much more confident in using my voice to glorify God. Becoming a cashier at the local grocery store? I have gained so many awesome experiences and new friends. The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 3:

“There is an occasion for everything,
and a time for every activity under heaven.”

Don’t be afraid to let your voice be heard, even when your opinion is unpopular. I have always been super opinionated, which probably why I want to be a journalist. But I have learned over the years that not everyone is going to like my thoughts on things. But I have learned that you can’t let that stop you from letting your voice be heard. This blog is one way of doing that for me (though I haven’t been very opinionated on here lately). My worldview often runs completely opposite to what everyone else thinks, and sometimes that means losing friends. But I have also found that when I speak my mind in a respectful and educated manner, I also gain people’s respect and trust. A good example: I have very strong views about homosexuality. I cannot bring myself to agree with it, because the Bible says it is wrong. However, I have had friends who are homosexual, and despite our differences, I have found that speaking my mind in the way I do has actually gained the trust and respect of a few of them. One of my friends opened up to me at church one day, and I was touched by her trust despite our differences. I guess the point is this: It’s ok to have a different opinion from others. When you are honest but also kind and thoughtful in your responses, you can actually gain respect from others, even those who don’t agree.

You don’t need the approval of others to be happy. Be who God made you to be and be proud of it. So many of my early teen years were spent trying to make everyone happy. Don’t talk too much. Talk more often. Keep my opinion to myself. Dress less “frumpily”. And so on. I was always picked on for my way of thinking, way of dressing, and my media choices. I spent a lot of time trying to please the people who said these things. I was miserable. But at some point, God reminded me of something important. He made me beautiful. He made me to be unique. Yes, I talk too much. I’m totally a nerd. I definitely have a strange fashion sense. I might seem to be “uptight”. But that’s ok. It’s who I am. And the true friends are the ones who will love me for it.

I could name plenty more, but I’m running out of time to crank this out. This has been a crazy time in my life, especially the last year. School, college prep, summer camps and missions trips, new friends, church, 4-H, and my new job. I am thankful that unlike many of my friends, I don’t have the added stress of keeping up a relationship at this point in my life. These last few months in particular have been incredible. I was accepted into college and started a job back in November. The job in particular has been amazing. Yes, I get stressed and sometimes panic when I feel the equivalent of an asthma attack coming on. And yes, I see the worst in humanity sometimes. But I have been very blessed as well. My coworkers in particular are pretty awesome (though they do call me names and drive me insane) (you know who you are…).

But in all of the craziness, God has been faithful. He has taught me patience and kindness, and the value of waiting on His timing. The future is so often uncertain, but I can have peace knowing that He is guiding my every step.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Beth P.
    May 29, 2015 @ 00:10:58

    Awesome Hannah. So, so awesome. ^_^

    Like

    Reply

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