As I listened to my 8th grade small group girls talk about the unknown and the stress that comes with being in 8th grade now, I realized, "Wow they are wasting a lot of energy through their anxious thoughts. They are worried about whether they are going to heaven. They are worried about what college they are going to, what grades they have. They are always stressed out about if they are doing the right thing, and if they have checked off all the boxes."
And I am so thankful that this past weekend at Christ Presbyterian Church's youth retreat, these girls were able to be kids again. They let their hair down, jumped on a Kangaroo Bounce, flew across the field on a zip line, danced like nobody was watching, and laughed the night away. I asked them during our Cabin Time why they decided to come this weekend. “I wanted to unplug and not be near my phone” and “I came to learn about my relationship with God and to not be around homework,” were common responses, and PRAISE THE LORD they came on this trip to find freedom in being their 14-year-old selves.
“Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:4-9
These verses always come to mind when I generate anxious thoughts. Through the encouragement of my Young Life leader in high school, I memorized these verses during a stressful time in my life. Now that I am out of college and the Fellows Program is coming to an end, these verses bring me comfort. We, as Nashville Fellows, are in the process of discerning what will come in the future for us. We are applying for jobs and accepting graduate school offers. We are wondering what our future will look like after the program has ended.
And in the midst of all of this, we are waiting. Instead of allowing our anxious thoughts and doubts of finding jobs or being accepted into graduate schools, we trust in the waiting. The Lord reminded me of this during a conversation with Susan, my supervisor, last week, during which I expressed my thoughts and concerns about jobs. She expressed some incredible truth, “In the midst of the waiting, God is always preparing something. Preparing the job you will have, or preparing you for what He has in store for you. For when the next door opens, you’ll be where He wants you to be.”
We need to be reminded of this daily. In the waiting, TRUST. And He will bring you peace! We are exactly where God wants us to be in this period in our lives.