Today is the first day of my junior year of college. I've never felt more at home here in this town, waking up to these mountains every morning. I've never been more at peace with what I'm doing here and who I have become the past two years.
I can tell you quite honestly that none of this has come easy. They tell you that college is "the best four years of your life" -- all while masking the fact that these four years hold incredible transitions that are heartbreaking and exciting and painful all at once. I've never been on more of an emotional roller coaster than I have while I've been a college student.
It is a beautiful time--full of uncertainty, some terrible choices and brilliant ideas. It is full of excitement and deep friendship and heartbreak and confusion and all of it is less than perfect but boy is it exhilarating.
But the way I've found peace through it all and in this moment is quite simple, actually. I had to let go of perfectionism. I had to let go of the perfect image of myself, my life and my surroundings that I was constantly, constantly striving towards.
I don't have to be the girl who knows everybody on campus. I don't have to be the one who's always put together and never fails to have lunch plans. I don't have to be the girl who spends an hour at the gym every day and has perfect friendships and never struggles with people or anxiety and is always upbeat and everybody's best friend.
And I tell you with all honesty that I rejoice in that.
Because I am loved if I never step foot inside the gym for the rest of my life. I am loved if I eat carbs all day long and snap at my mom on the phone and forget to put on deodorant. I am incredibly and unfathomably loved if I want to spend the night watching Netflix and eating Nutella covered brownies and raw snap peas. I am RIDICULOUSLY loved at ALL times no matter what I do. I can't escape this love and I'd never want to.
But this love, it frees me. It frees me from feeling like I need to make myself into a perfect image of a girl who's got it all together. It frees me from comparison and striving and releases me into ridiculous joy. Because it means that if I never reach any of the goals I made for this month, I am loved just the same. Since this Love makes me free, I no longer want to hold on to perfectionism. I just want to soak up this freedom and this Love and this joy -- all of it unconditional -- and pour it out on the rest of my world.
So my prayer for you is that you would let go of whatever it is that you are so tightly gripping -- for me it was the perfect image I had for myself, a perfect image that would never satisfy the desires of my heart. I pray that you would let go and then feel the freedom that comes from knowing that there is one God who loves you because He loves you. Because He created you on purpose just so that He could love you. He loves you even when you make terrible decisions and when you use His name in vain and when you scream at your parents and when you don't believe He's there. Is this not unfathomable in the greatest way?
So let go. Let His love free you from whatever it is that's holding you back from living in joy and then rejoice with abandon that He loves you because you are worthy of love.