God never stopped creating

I’ve been thinking a lot about fear recently.

Maybe it’s because I’m graduating in three months and have no idea what I’m doing with my life or maybe it’s because I’ve been writing a paper for the past year (yes, year) about fear that was due this past weekend.

Well, it’s probably a heavy combination of both of those things because they’ve taken up so many of my thoughts in the past month.

Intensely studying fear through Gothic literature for the past year, and especially the past month, has created a huge space for me to analyze what terrifies me the most right now and how I’m trying to cope with that.

Which is what I’ve really trying to focus on recently. I’m finding that the more I recognize the core reasons of why I’m afraid of the future, the more I am able to stop being a stressed-out mess right now and confidently move forward.

It’s hard to admit this because it seems like something that should be obvious to me at this point, but right now I am absolutely terrified that God is going to stop being creative in my life.

Let me explain: during my capstone class I took in January, as we circled up our desks and discussed the reading, one of my classmates made an interesting observation in response to creativity. She said that oftentimes we live and think as if God stopped creating after the creation of the world.

This stuck with me. It’s been rattling around in my brain ever since. During chapel a few days after that class where we were provided a space to sit and pray in silence, I realized that all of my worries at that moment came out of this fear that God is going to stop being creative in my life after I leave this place in May.

Even though this past year has brought so much growth and joy and love, I know the deadline is quickly approaching and I can’t help but elevate the inevitable changes to come in my mind. I’m going to be graduating single, hopefully relocating to a new city, and having to take on life much more independently than in the past. All good things, but also different than what I’ve experienced.

And in the midst of such good things happening, this is where the fears start flooding in my overactive, overthinking mind. I’m not going to find a job. I’m never going to find close friends like this again. I’ll never get married. I’ll have to live alone. I won’t feel this safe again.

Somehow I got in my head that since I can’t even begin to imagine what my life could possibly look like post-graduation, God is just going to be done creating exciting things in my future. That since I’ve had a good run here, I’ve already used up my turn developing close relationships in a safe community, discovering my passions, and experiencing joy with people I love.

But what a lie this is. Because God never stopped being a creator and to dabble in the idea that He has goes completely against His character.

Just as God has proved to be faithful and creative thus far, He is going to continue to bring surprises and joys and community into my life.

So if you’re where I’m at today, with this irrational fear that today is your peak and that it’s all going downhill, stop. Because God is going to do things you can’t imagine and even though it will probably include some loneliness and confusion, it will also include extraneous moments of love, joy, and peace.

Our stories don’t stop the minute we graduate. Our narratives will continue in ways we can’t even begin to imagine, bringing people and opportunities and work that will make our lives just as rich or richer than they are right now. And even though I have a hard time believing that, I’m starting to trust that it’s true because God is creative and faithful and able to see past what we can’t.

Finding Good in the Cornfields

I absolutely love everything about fall. It’s always been my favorite; I love the low, overcast clouds and cool air and changing leaves. I love the refreshment fall brings after a long, hot summer filled with activity and movement and sun. It’s a time to settle down and be cozy, preparing to move from outside to inside for a season.

Because of the way my student teaching schedule worked, I had the past two weeks off. After a short summer and my first student teaching experience, these two weeks to enjoy my favorite month were celebrated and enjoyed. During this time, I reflected on the past autumns, especially the ones I’ve spent at Taylor. It hit me how this is my last fall here. Fall in Upland is one of my favorite things and knowing I won’t be able to experience it the same way after this year feels like I’m on the verge of losing something big.

I’ve been asked before if I like going to school in the middle of the cornfields and my answer is always yes. I’ve come to love every season here, but fall in the midst of cornfields has it’s own beauty that I cannot get tired of. It’s open here, there’s space to explore and to slow down and to build relationships with those we live with and those we learn from.

This place is built around community and creating relationships with those we share space with. And during this particular fall, I am reminded of how my relationships here carry more meaning and life and joy than I realized.

I’ve felt that the past few months I’ve spent in Upland living in the brick house with some of the best women I know has been idyllic, almost like a dream. We talk together and laugh together, sing together, cook together and run together. We come from different places and have different desires, but we aim to live well and authentically, seeking to glorify God on the way.

The community I’ve experienced with my housemates is safe and challenging, fun and peaceful and alive. In the midst of excitement from the change to come, my heart hurts while I think towards graduation, moving somewhere new, and leaving this space with these people.

It’s hard for me to imagine a community quite as good as what I’m experiencing right now.

I think back to how I got here, to this house with these four women. God provided. God provided so well in the best way possible. I’m happy here with these people. I’m learning from the way they live and the way they see the world. Living with them pushes me to love better, to laugh fully, and to think about myself less.

Sometimes it’s hard to be fully present in all the good. I sit on our porch or in our living room or at the table with my people and wish these moments wouldn’t end, that I wouldn’t have to stop living them after this year. I think about the longing I’ll experience for this community once we graduate and live in different corners of the world.

But thinking this way, thinking about future longings robs me of the ability to be present and soak up all the beautiful things happening right now. I don’t know where I’ll be after graduation, but I do know that God will provide me with a space to live and a community to share life with just as He has this year.

I don’t want to look towards my future with disdain and fear because of what I may or may not experience again. God is too good for that. He promises us His best, to think He won’t provide His best again in a different space with different people creates this limited box in our minds of His power and plans. We have to trust that Jesus will provide for us tomorrow just as He has today. We have to start waking up every morning in thankfulness and rhythmically be reminded of His love and grace and ability to provide for us in every moment.

Right now, as I sit on my porch and look up at the changing leaves and overcast skies, I’m thankful for where I’m at because I’m happy here. I’m safe here, I laugh here, and I love well here. I’m grateful for the women I live with and the amount of joy they’ve brought to my life. I’m thankful that the Lord has given me this year with these people to learn and to love and to live life together.

Give thanks for the people the Lord has given you and live well in that community, investing in your friendships and trusting that Jesus has tomorrow covered, that He promises you His best even when you think it may end.