I just want to give everyone a little window of the ever-present irony in my life. First of all, let me share the entry below that I was writing on Friday before heading down south for a lovely weekend at my wonderful study abroad partner-in-crime Jessica‘s beautiful home in Charleston, SC.
I often put a lot of judgement on myself and others for no reason. I contribute this a lot to my perfectionist nature, and wanting things to be perfectly “right” all the time. Over the past few days I’ve been giving a lot of thought to my time in college, since I’ll be attempting to go out with style at the end of this year. Since college has started, I’ve been regretting decisions I’ve made, people I’ve hung out with, and classes I’ve taken. It’s really easy to just focus on all the bad stuff. And now when I look back on my college career, I realize I had such a negative attitude to things because they weren’t exactly what I wanted them to be. Would I go back and tell myself to stop being so spontaneously foolish and rushing into bad decisions? Of course I would. But I also don’t really give myself, or my school, much credit.
I read a “Spider Diary” from a senior the other day (which are entries written by current students to give incoming students a picture of what life is like at our school). It was really reflective and talked about how great his time was at the university. I was so filled with jealousy, because I haven’t allowed myself to see my time in college as a positive experience. When I look back, I find all the bad things and pretend that’s all there was. I completely dismiss all the great times I had with great people, because they were, many times, few and far between. Instead of living in the past, this year I want to live in the present and take opportunities to do things that interest me (regardless of what others think) and bring me happiness.
It’s going to be a lifelong struggle for me to conquer my need to make things perfect all the time. But I need to continuously teach myself to just get over it and continue to forge ahead in the great, disappointing world and find all the silver linings I can, especially when it comes to my decisions at school. Instead of wishing it was over and regretting my four years here, like I did with middle school, I have to see college in a new light and find the positive parts to it.
After all I did meet some awesome people here, like my amazing boyfriend and a few solid friends. And I did get the chance to study abroad for a semester in the country of my dreams and make lifelong friends there. And I did learn so much cool stuff about the world around me. And I even learned a lot about myself, what I’m made of, and how much I need and love Jesus every day.
Ok, so that was great and reflective right? All about how I need to stop trying to control every aspect of my own life and stop beating myself up about decisions I have made. I don’t mean to discredit this pseudo-post at all, because it is very true.
However God didn’t think it was enough for me to just write a blog post about this, because apparently it’s a bigger deal than that. He had to show me very clearly in real life, how important it is to relinquish all control to Him, and to remember that He is behind every situation and every lesson in my life.
And what a lesson I learned this past weekend.
As you may have read, I wrote a post a while back about how I just wanted to get on the road so badly and explore as much as I can. Along with this feeling of wanderlust, me and Jess had been planning to have another roomie reunion at her home in Charleston, “the best city in the world.” After hearing all the fuss about how great the city was, I became determined to see it for myself. (And I just really cherish my time with Jess.)
It was all planned out ahead of time: I would drive down on Friday, spend time with her and the famous Compton clan on Saturday, and leave Sunday. I checked out some audiobooks from the library, loaded up with CDs (and chocolate provided by Tom), and headed out right after my shift at work. The drive was absolutely wonderful. I jammed out to my Across the Universe soundtrack, had plenty of gas, and was really getting into my audiobook.
However, this trip was not to be. Although I had seen many splendid rest areas with welcoming flowers and park benches, I told myself I was fine and the less stops, the better. Finally, after four hours, I took an exit so I could stretch my legs and parked at a gas station in a podunk town called Dunn, NC.
How I hate Dunn, NC now. When I pulled out of the parking spot to get back on the road, my car insisted on continuing to drift backwards. I was in drive, but my old Mazda 626 continued to reverse. Finally after many attempts, I turned the car off and did what any self-respecting 21 year old girl could be expected to do in this situation. I called my daddy.
Thankfully, I was in a town that was only an hour drive from where my brother had a clerkship for the summer. My dad called him and they worked out that my brother would come pick me up and call AAA as soon as he was done work. Until then, I was stuck in a hot car, halfway-pulled out of a parking spot, with sketchy youths loitering around with low-hanging pants and “bad news”written all over their foreheads.
This is when I realized. God is teaching me such a lesson here. I can just imagine him saying “This is what I’m talking about, Abby. I told you that I am in control of everything. Even now, I have you in my hands.” The fact that my boyfriend dropped everything to keep me calm on the phone as I whined about my situation for over an hour, that my brother was so close and readily came to help me, and that my dad drove the three hours to come and take me home without question, not only reveals that I have three living, breathing knights-in-shining-armor in my life, but also that God is so good. He showed me how great I have it. How awesome He is to provide me with such amazing men to show me His love for me in such a miserable situation.
The irony is just astounding.
But as disappointing as that almost-vacation was, I learned a lot from it, and the whole thing humbled me to my core. It was as if God Himself had slapped me upside the face and said, “It’s not all about you, it’s about Me.” And I hope I can remember that.