|(Who cares if I’m laughing and look silly! At least I am being authentic:))
Over the past few months, I have had quite a few people tell me that “I’ve changed”, and by quite a few, I mean the majority of those that I interact with.
“Amber, what do your plans look like for the next few weeks?” Jeanie asked.
“Well, I just got back from dance nationals and before that, a Mission Trip to Indiana, and you wouldn’t believe what happened. There was no schedule and I had no idea what I was going to do each day until that day arrived, but somehow, I was COMPLETELY okay with it? Then, next week I leave for a camp where I will work with K-6th grade, the following week I have work, and the week after that I go back to the same camp. I was also supposed to also go on a Mission Trip to Puerto Rico, but that trip got cancelled, which is okay because I have Small Group and Hall Chaplin training for the college anyways” I replied calmly.
“Who are you?” she laughed.
“What do you mean?” I giggled.
“I mean am I really talking to Amber?” Jeanie inquired.
“Of course ha-ha, but I do feel quite different” I replied.
“That’s because you’ve changed, but I’ve never been prouder of you” Jeanie gleamed.
That’s the conversation I had with my best friend’s mom just a few week’s ago when I went over to her house. Knowing me for around 12 years, she is familiar with the type of individual I am, and going from place to place all summer just isn’t me. As a homebody who loves her family, this is the first summer that I’ve been so involved, and I guess it just appeared to be a bit shocking.
Now normally, I would think that if someone said I had changed, this would be in a bad frame of mind. Generally speaking, when those around you say that so and so have changed, it tends to be for the worse, rather than the better. This person started ignoring you, that guy changed his attitude, and so on. However, at this point in my life, I truly believe that I have changed for the better.
Have my looks changed? Well, not really. I am still around 5’6” and thin, with brown hair, blue eyes, and the occasional bun on top of my head. Have my activities changed? Also, not so much, I still run, dance, sing, play piano, write, hike, and more. But has how I live my life from day to day changed? Absolutely.
When I think about the person I was a year or two ago, I cannot believe the person that I am now, compared to where I used to be. Two years ago, I was a sophomore in college, broke my foot from dancing, and had very few to any real friends. One year ago, I was a junior in college, and although I finally found that true group of friends to click with, I still spent the majority of my time going OCD crazy, or worrying about the next quiz I had to take in class. So, with all of that being said, where am I now?
Now, I am in the summer after my junior year, before my senior year begins, and I barely recognize the girl looking back at me in the mirror. Sure, she looks the same on the outside, but I cannot tell you how much different the lion roaring inside of her now is. This girl that used to be afraid to step outside of her comfort zone is pushing herself to the limits. This woman of God that was allowing fear to creep into every fabric of her being through worrying and perfectionism is now subsiding. This OCD, crazy plannerized being still loves to have order, and know what she is doing when, but when she doesn’t haven’t a schedule, she is no longer freaking out about the things that are beyond her control.
Because sure, I still have days when I like to stay tidy and make my bed before I leave to go classes. In fact, I still love having a schedule, and making one to ensure that I don’t over commit myself or be where I am supposed to at just the right time. Yes, I still show up to college classes 10 minutes early, and you better bet that I carry that highlighted planner around with me everywhere I go, but you know what I don’t do? I don’t try to change life, and circumstances, and surroundings to fit the mold that I want it to. I don’t skip out on hanging out with friends because it is going to interfere with my inflexible schedule. And more importantly, I don’t try to tell God how my life is going to go inside of my comfort zone bubble, because I know that what He has in store for me beyond that popped bubble is far greater than anything I could ever ask or imagine. Is it going to be scary, absolutely? Will I most likely freak out the day before I have to leave that comfy zone, probably so? But will I doubt the goodness that He has for my life when I finally learn to give Him control, never again?
I am learning to allow God to put back together the pieces of this broken puzzle, even if that means not understanding what He is doing along the way. To love this new person that I am becoming, and understand that just because parts of me have changed, that doesn’t mean that I am losing myself, it merely means that I am finally becoming who He has called me to be all along; a woman who trusts in the Lord with all of her heart, even enough to leave the things that she once thought defined her.