Honest is Strongest

Have you ever felt inadequate in your life? Like “God how am I supposed to be in this situation?” That situation could be countless life events, but for me, this situation was the friends I was surrounding myself with. Now these friends were Godly, but I started to not be myself. I felt like I was walking on egg shells being around them. I no longer felt like I was who God wanted me to be. 

“Behold you delight in truth in the inward being and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.” 

Psalm 51:6

When I recognized the change in myself I realized how dishonest I was being with the outside world. God does not want us to be dishonest, but to live in truth. Anxiety had become increasingly more present in my mind, and I had just thought it was the normal anxiety everyone deals with.

SPOILER ALERT 

It wasn’t. 

I had like actual real people anxiety about life. 

When I began to be honest with myself and the people around me that I thought my anxiety was more than everyday anxiety life started to fall back into place.

“Jesus said to them ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one come to the Father except through me.’” 

John 14:6

Recognizing the anxiety I felt was real and get help for it and talking about it meant that I was living in truth. According to John 14:6, Jesus is the truth. I was growing closer to God by being honest about who I was.

Being honest is not always easiest route to take. Trust me I lived in denial about my anxiety a lot longer than I should have. Being honest meant something had to change in my life to bring me closer to God. 

So what happened? 

I lost the friends I was surrounding myself with. Was it because they were bad people, influencing me away from God? Absolutely not! But they were also not uplifting or bringing me closer to God. In all honesty, they were causing more anxiety than they were helping.

“But he said to me ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

But I kind of embraced this change. I started doing life more honestly with a new group of people. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 are verses I truly live by. I was being honest with the people in my life about the struggles I was facing by losing those other friends. 

I was becoming stronger the more I embraced the changes God had started in my life. Being honest with God and the people in my life has allowed me to unapologetically be who God wants me to be. 

Being honest with God is so hard but the reward is that much greater so take the leap and lay your burden on Him.

Love Your Enemies

I was given so much advice going into college about making friends. “It will happen it just takes time” “it could be some random person in the cafeteria” “friendships from the first six weeks of college don’t always last” and countless more. But going to a college five hours from home and not knowing a soul I wanted to throw all that advice out the window and jump to the having friends part. So that’s exactly what I did.

Going to college you meet so many new people. Maybe your roommate is someone you’ve never met or you become friends with the person you sit next to in class, or maybe you find family in a campus organization. For me, I made friends with the girl who lived next door to me. I made friends (sorta) with my roommate. I made friends with a girl in the next building. I made family with people in the Baptist Student Union and I made friends with people in Sigma Phi Lambda.

But see usually I am pretty good at figuring people out. I can typically determine if someone is really worth being friends with or not. But not this time. I so desperately wanted to have friends so I wouldn’t be alone that I think I threw out all the red flags saying “STOP this person is toxic!”

The girl next door and my roommate both had the blaring red flags. I think I was so desperate to live my own life that I never really turned to God for these “friendships.”  They would mock me and insult me to a point where being around them became toxic to my relationship with God.

In Ecclesiastes 4, verses 9 and 10 state this: “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” Here the author, most likely Solomon, is talking about friendship. The first part talking about a friendship that is building one another up. The second part a false friendship that is letting each other fall and suffer.

As much as I tried being a friend to these girls they never could lift me up or help me if I fell. It took me almost a year to fully see those red flags. I tried to share my faith with both of them. They wanted nothing to do with it. I tried to share small parts of my day. They had more important things. I tried to be open about who I am and what I value. They twisted it to fit their narratives. Many other things happened between us but it wasn’t until I was able to set aside the thoughts Satan had planted and firmly reset my feet with Jesus that I found my true friends.

The Baptist Student Union has given me friendships that will last a lifetime because when I fall, I know I count on any of them to be right there helping me back up. They have truly become a family of believers that make me stronger. Currently one of the ways they are making me stronger is through forgiveness. 

God started talking to me with Philipians 4:6, that says “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God.” He was saying come to him even in my anxiousness and he will calm the storm stirring. I would get so anxious about seeing my former roommates that my plans would have to change just so I wouldn’t bump into them. I was tired of having to hide so I decided that I no longer wanted to feel this way and that I wanted to be able to forgive them.

I’ve had so many God filled conversations with my friends about how to forgive someone who doesn’t deserve it and each time the answer is God. The only way in life that we are able to make it through is with God right there at our side. I have held so much hate towards these two people for too long and with the help and advice from friends that are like family and the open line of communication with God, I am starting to be able to forgive them. I have even been praying for them. 

Matthew 5:43-48 speaks about love for enemies. Verse 43 and 44 say “ you have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” God treats righteous and unrighteous people the same and he wants us to do so as well. We are to show mercy to those who are our enemies just as he has shown mercy to us. So I am making a conscious effort with God by my side to choose kindness and prayer for my enemies.