I’m currently in my last semester of college. Graduation is right around the corner, less than 100 days away—42 to be exact. Graduation is an exciting time in everyone’s school career. It seems like graduating should be an easy thing. The only problem is, while the countdown gets closer and the clock ticks away, there’s still all the time in between. The assignments to complete, the exams to pass and the hopes that it will all end well. Should be easy, right?
Hello, my name is Jasmine but you can call me Miss Optimistic. I’ve counted the days (and am still counting) until this glorious day—I’m graduating!! No more homework, no more exams—hallelujah! Life will be great!! As the time ticks closer to the end of my school career I insist that it will all be easy. No need to put in too much work, have fun! I mean, you only live once, right? Wrong. Not the living part but the no work all play part. I found myself upset about the time it took for me to get here and at times my way to deal with being upset is to ignore the feeling and do something fun.
Fun for me could be binge watching my favorite shows, writing to my heart’s content or my absolute favorite: hanging out with family and friends! Even to the extent of procrastination. I’d put off assignments and time for studying because all of the other things were more important. Although I’ve mentioned time and again my hunger to be out of school, I found myself doing any and everything but putting in the work that would yield my desired outcome. I’ve got time, yes! The only issue is, those fun things still pose a temptation. I have time, just like I’ve had many times before—but how will I process things this time? With working and going to school full time, will I choose wisely?
I’m getting ahead of myself here, to sum up where I’d like to go I’ll say this; I’ve found my life of fun—socializing while procrastinating to become a place of pressure. The senioritis got real—fast! In my attempts to hurry graduation, I lost sight of a few things. One, the fact that graduation won’t be a thing IF I don’t apply myself. Second, waiting until the last minute to study or do assignments is no good. What once felt like pressure slowly turned into stress which led to moderate depression. Yup. The pressure of putting off assignments and not getting my desired grades led to disappointment, self-pity and an overwhelming sense of hopelessness. I found myself asking, “Will I make it?”
So, the thing about my moments of fun is, one they’re ok, of course!! Have fun! But, I put off the important things and sometimes my life with God got a bit sluggish. I was quick to read a devotional every day and pray a prayer for the day, I’d even listen to a podcast here and there but I lost sight of Jesus’ words in Matthew 11, “Come to Me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will cause you to rest…” (Matthew 11:28, paraphrased) Before I go any further, this is not a post of condemnation; keep reading, I think you’ll like it! 🙂
The thing about God is, He doesn’t want us to be weary or stressed out. It’s no good for us! And in my case, He stepped on the scene, praise the Lord! At some point I began to notice what was going on and after not doing so well on some exams, I decided to pray—finally. Around that time, the Lord put me on a friend’s heart. We had a chat and I began to tell her a bit of what was going on in my life and one by one she gave me a formula of practical things to do. Ultimately, she suggested that I find out what God would have me to do, however it wouldn’t be a bad idea to start with what she’d given me. I was desperate so at that point I would have done just about anything.
Timing is everything but I felt like I had none of it. I was wrong, yet again. I had more time than I realized and I also found God’s hand in things that I was too committed to. There’s a time, place and season for everything. I had things mixed up. Anyway, I found more time to study and complete assignments as well as to spend time in His presence—intentional time! It was there that I found my process. When I finally shut up the voices of stress, fear and anxiety and even that of procrastination, I was able to hear His voice of perfect peace.
So, I enjoy writing and even when I’m spending time with the Lord I write my heart out. Whatever comes to mind, I write it. I won’t go into too much detail, but I’ve found that my process has been writing. The thing is, I had robbed myself so to speak of that process. I was over committed to any and everything. Ultimately I was avoiding responsibility by replacing it with other things. I even reasoned out the importance of everything I did. But grace came and saved the day! When I finally allowed God to speak and to lead me into His best and what is best for me, I was finally able to get ahold of the problem. From there, I was given a solution.
Back to my process. I sometimes spend too much time on social media, that’s another area that will be tackled asap!! Anyway, I follow @MorganNichols—an amazing writer and she posted about a creative map or as I call it a brain dump. Basically you write everything that comes to mind—words, phrases and even feelings and then from there you can come up with a creative piece like a song or poem or in my case, you can rip it up and trash it. Only if you want to. I’ve done all of the above.
I’ve found this process to be rewarding and it has helped so much in so many areas!! I’m one to pray of course, but in addition to prayer this has been a big piece of the puzzle. Writing has been my thing since I was a little girl, so it’s no surprise that it’s been a tool used to help me—and others! I sit here today ready to tackle the last of this semester. I’m not saying it will be perfect, I’ll probably still hang out with friends and do things I enjoy but this time, I will not do anything at the expense of putting in the necessary work to pass my classes. With that, I’m pleased to say that I will be graduating THIS YEAR! I’m in the class of 2018, oh yea!
So, I shared my process, what’s yours? How do you handle stress or anything that may seem overwhelming and maybe even impossible? What’s your process?! Comment below, I’d love to chat with you!