Traveling to Texas is a trip that I always look forward to. For those of you who don’t know, my sweet boyfriend is studying at Texas A&M University, so I visit him once a month while attending The University of Georgia. Last month, I was able to make a quick two-day trip to Aggieland to not only see Zach, but to also seek reassurance in a big decision that I recently made.
I am currently debating whether I should graduate a semester early or not. Although this does not seem like a big deal to some, it is a choice that is going to alter the rest of my life. Allow me to explain. As I mentioned before, my boyfriend attends university in Texas, so we are currently in a long-distance relationship and have been for the past two years. Meanwhile, I was fortunate enough to meet my best friend my first semester of college. She not only helped me endure the struggle of being a freshman in college, but she also helped me navigate the road of being away from Zach for the first time in our relationship. She entered my life, learned who I was and became a good friend, saw me at my lowest points, and chose to stay by my side anyway. These friendships are hard to come by, and I simply had the pleasure of entering one at the very beginning of college. Truthfully, I do not know where I would be without my dear friend today. I hold these two people so closely to my heart that I cannot put into words how deeply I love them. So, when the option of graduating early came up in a recent advising appointment, anxiety immediately swelled in my chest.
Graduating early signals my big move to Texas and being reunited with Zach full time, but it also means that I will be cutting my time short with my best friend. I suddenly felt like I was having to choose between two of the most important people in my life. So, I was filled with fear. If I made the wrong decision, I feared I would lose one or the other. I feared I would not find a job if I graduated in December, that I would not make new friends and that I would miss out on the senior year activities that take place in the spring. I made list after list to figure out what decision would ultimately lead to the most happiness. I found that I could not ease the anxiety in my chest which made it difficult to decide between my two choices. So, I finally decided to lay all my fears, doubts, and reasonings at the feet of Jesus. I needed to invite God into the decision-making process if I was ever going to find peace.
I prayed hard and often about my decision. I continue to pray even though I have made-up my mind. I had constant internal dialogue questioning whether I was going in the right direction or if I was wandering away from the path. I had trouble sleeping at night, focusing in class, and easing the anxiety in my chest. I even saw it take a toll on my physical appearance – my shoulders rested as a slouch, my eyes looked tired, and I was eating less from the stress. I let my fears consume me, and things didn’t start to improving until I laid them all down at the feet of Jesus.
I have had to make big decisions before, but none that have impacted my future in the long-run. I have learned over time though how God communicates what will lead me to the divine plan He has for me. This is not to say that if we make the wrong choice we are not living in accordance with God’s will. This is to say that if you invite God into your decision-making process, He will walk with you despite, whatever choice you make. Personally, I feel God through my emotions because I am so in-tune with them. So, when I made the decision to graduate early, I felt a wave of peace come over me. Thinking of staying an extra semester and graduating on-time set-off such harmful anxiety in my body that I knew it wasn’t the right decision.
There were also other occurrences that led me to my final decision. I have learned that if you invite God into your daily life, He may not always directly speak to you. He will lead you to the choices that are in accordance with His will. Throughout the past few weeks as I was wrestling with my decision and praying hard, I encountered so many friends, podcasts, and Bible readings that God used as instruments to speak with me. I had friends question what choice would help me to grow in my faith more. I had randomly clicked podcast episodes from Blessed Is She that addressed my fears and how to overcome them. I even heard scripture directly address issues I internally struggled with during Sunday mass. All of this pushed me towards the option of graduating next December, but it did not solidify until my trip to Texas last month.
I did not intend for my trip to Texas that weekend to make my decision easier. Yet, the second I drove into College Station, I felt home. My fears of making friends evaporated as I reconnected with girlfriends. My fears of not being able to find housing disappeared when I learned another friend was graduating next December too and was looking for a Spring roommate. More than all though the Catholic community in Texas completely blew me away and I have never been so overcome with emotion.
As I have said before, the past few weeks have been filled with so much anxiety that I have been unable to think about anything else. My fears and internal debates completely consumed every ounce of my time – except for when I was laying it all down at the feet of Jesus. But when I stepped into St. Mary’s that Sunday, it was like Jesus had answered all my prayers and brought me home all at once. There were little moments leading up to this, but it was like Jesus was literally presenting the answer to me on a silver platter.
I look forward to going to mass every Sunday, but since it is so routine, it is common for me to not look for answers in the ordinary. Little did I know that God had other ideas in mind. For one, St. Mary's is beautiful, and the people are so welcoming. My heart was overflowing because Zach and I had to stand the entire time as there were so many people at mass! It almost hit me like a wall that this was going to be my future home, but it especially hit hard when the choir sang “Great Are You Lord.” It’s one of those songs where the chorus slowly builds and then completely empowers you with the Holy Spirit when it finally drops. The lyrics hug you and give you a sense of community as the whole congregation sings their proclamation to God loudly. It was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life. We not only held hands during the Our Father, but we sang it as one instead of reciting it. Tears came to my eyes as I received the Eucharist, and at that moment I couldn’t help but turn to the Lord and praise him alongside my new brothers and sisters. This was the first time I had encountered peace all month and it was because I had learned to rely on God and lay my problems at His feet. He knew how hard this decision was for me, and yet He did not disappoint in delivering me to the answer. I suppose good things come to those who wait.
It’s not always easy to give up control in life. Personally, I want everything to be perfectly outlined to a T so that I know exactly what’s going on and when. College has completely flipped my organizational mindset upside down, though. I think God knew that I needed to trust him more, so He has slowly been drawing me in with different obstacles I keep facing. God was not grandiose about His guidance, nor did he blatantly point out the right answer to me. Instead, He created ordinary encounters that allowed me to make a decision in accordance with His will during my monthly trip to Texas. Although my choice to graduate early and move out-of-state instills fear, it’s cancelled out by a strong sense of peace because I know that God will be guiding me the entire way.