My Education: God’s Far Better Plan

Proverbs 3 5 6

I have a knot in my stomach. I am freaking out. I feel unprepared. But yet, I am beyond ready to begin. No, I am not running a marathon. Although, that would be incredible. I am about to embark on the closest thing to a marathon in my life: I am about to take on my bachelor’s degree with full force.

It took a bit to get here. In fact, according to “my plan,” I was supposed to graduate in May 2016. Fast forward, it is August 2016 and I am still twelve classes away from getting my undergraduate degree. In the time since I graduated from high school, I looked into four different colleges. I took a year off. I got married.

It was only in the last six months, I found a school I loved that also offered my degree. Now, I slowly, work towards my degree one class at a time. Literally. A part of me thought I would be that person that would finish school with some loans, find a job, find a guy, and get married.

School, of all things, has shown me that my plan is not always God’s plan. My education was the one area in life where I really felt like I had control and a foundation. It was the one area of my life I could say, “Even if nothing else makes sense, I know how my education will pan out.”

I don’t know why that is exactly. I think I may have thought I had control of my education because school comes easily to me. I enjoy learning. I enjoy writing papers. I enjoy reading new information. Tests aren’t too difficult for me. I hardly ever struggle in school. When I do, I am usually able to figure out a solution. You get the point. I am what most would call, “The typical, successful student.”

However, I think my persona as a student was the very thorn in my collegiate journey. I hit a point in my undergraduate education where I went to school simply to get the degree and not to learn. I simply wanted to be done because almost everyone I went to school with was. But, truthfully, I don’t think that was the case at all. I think I just needed an excuse outside of my selfish intentions and desires. I wanted the degree for the wrong reasons.

I think it was in those selfish moments that God began to show me that He had different plans for my life, including how and where I learned. At first, I didn’t like knowing that God had different plans for me. Yeah, I said that. But, as I reflect on all the blessings God has given me in the four plus years since I graduated high school, I know I am right where God had planned for me to be all along.

Now, I am grateful for where my education has taken me. I found a good fit for my needs and abilities. And although it took me a bit to come to terms with it, I am extremely grateful I am only taking one class at time—even if it means studying in the summer.

Taking one class at a time has humbled me. It has shown me that God is  in control. He always was, always is, and always will be. It has brought me back to my roots and allowed me to enjoy what I am studying. I mean, after all, I chose the degree path out of all the nearly limitless options for a reason. I owe it to myself and my future to deeply and honestly learn. And for someone like me, that means slowing down.

There’s a wonderful notion in taking education slowly. It reminds me why education is important. It allows me to really stop and think, “Why am I studying what I am studying?” Most importantly, it allows me to make time for other important parts of my life, like my relationship with God, my marriage, and my sweet friends and family.

I tell you this: For the next two years, non-stop, you’ll find my head in a textbook. I may juggle a nearly full-time job that whole time. I may move. I don’t know. That’s all for God to ordain and for me to trust Him with. His plan is far bigger and better than mine.

Blessings,

Renata

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I Took A Risk: My Afterthoughts

Risks by Richard Branson

I took a risk awhile back. It wasn’t a small one either. In fact, it was probably one of the biggest risks I have taken as an adult. The specifics of this said risk are not as important as the lessons it taught me. In the time since it occurred, I have learned a few things about myself and life in general.

In less than ten words, I found out how important it is to speak your mind. I learned how it important it is to believe in yourself. I learned how important it is to know your limits, to step away from a situation and really look at it. I learned how important it is to use both your mind and your heart in a decision.

Did I mention it was a big risk? It was.

While we are on the often talked about topic of risks, let me say that I don’t intend to be like every other blogger on the internet. I don’t intend to say what every blog says about this or that hot topic. In fact, I don’t really know what I am going to say until I sit down and write.

Sometimes, yes, it may be a little cliché. Other times, it may be completely off the wall. Simply put, when I began this blog, I did not intend to share my wisdom with others. Rather, I intended to seek wisdom through written word about my day-to-day life.

Because my blog is a small look into my every day life, I don’t often know what to write about until I experience it. Sometimes, even, as I experience it right along with the readers. All this to say, bear with me. Risks matter, no matter how often others talk about them. Now, let’s revisit what I learned.

Again, what occurred is not the important fact of the matter. The afterthoughts are of more importance. First, I spoke my mind. I did not hold back from my observations or beliefs. I did not lurk and remain passive simply because I may have been the only one.

I am the type of person who does not think about whether or not someone else reciprocates my thoughts, attitudes, observations, or feelings before addressing them. I directly address them until change occurs. Some may call this stubborn. I call it driven and bold.

If risks needed someone else’s say or discretion, they wouldn’t be risks, to begin with. So, speak your mind. You’d be surprised who agreed with you, but remained silent. Your voice matters. Use it.

Second, I believed in myself. Now, there is a fine line between believing in oneself and pride. I believed in myself because I chose to not put my well-being second for once. By doing so, I saw myself as God saw me in His image and not the degrading image I allowed Satan to let me believe.

Risks require us to honestly see who we are as individuals. Otherwise, it’s not a risk. But merely, a skewed and messed up idea that will one day backfire. This risk taught me who I am in God’s image matters. It matters so much that He cares about my body, which is a temple for His glory.

Now that I was able to see myself in God’s image, I could step away from the situation and properly define it for what it was and not what I hoped it could be one day. I could set my limits. I could realistically examine how the situation impacted me. I could see when it was time for me to say, “Enough is enough.” I could longer lie to myself.

Most importantly, I learned how important it is to use your mind and your heart in a decision. The two go hand-in-hand more often than people may be led to believe. Your mind is there for the logical reasoning that is the foundation of a decision. Your heart, on the other hand, is the faith God gives us to trust Him and His will for our lives. Your heart is what ultimately allows you to take the leap of faith and trust that God has a plan. Your mind can help you beforehand. But, your heart is there every step of the way: before, during, and after.

Risks take faith. They take an understanding of something greater than ourselves. They take trusting in something beyond ourselves. Risks take running into the unknown head-on.

I am grateful for the leap of faith I recently took. I am grateful God led me to speak up. I am grateful God reminded me who I am in Him. I am grateful I knew my limits. Most importantly, I am grateful God was and will always be with me every step of the way.

I leave you with this: Be patient. Risks will be that much more successful when you have a bird’s eye view from every perspective. Yet, be diligent. Know when to act. In other words, don’t be ashamed to joyfully and intentionally understand the way God made you. He’ll lead you in whatever decision you may be unclear about.

Blessings,

Renata

Comfortably Confused: For My Good, His Glory

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This week is one of those weeks where time is flying by faster than I can blink. I haven’t had a real grasp of this week, after taking a day off for vacation. Nevertheless, life still continues to move on. It’s funny how we cannot slow down for life and it cannot slow down for us either.

This week reciprocates how life has been for me recently. Lately, I have struggled to understand what I am supposed to do with my life. I have thought I “knew” several times. But, alas, God guided me elsewhere.

I thought I wanted to be a public speaker. But, I don’t know. I thought I wanted to be a writer. But I don’t know. This week, I have fought doubt after doubt. I knew it would happen eventually. Not even six months ago, I was rather content with my life and current circumstances. I was confident.

But, now, I ask questions. I ask, “What am I supposed to do with my life?” Or, “Am I meant to get this degree?” Or, “Will I actually get my degree?”

Rather than curling up in a ball of uncertainty, I decided to take a step in the uncomfortable. I decided to challenge my former habits in chaos. I chose to not be stagnant.

I chose to still pursue my degree in the midst of confusion. I chose to keep living life in my present circumstances until God led me elsewhere. Choosing to do so did not mean completely dropping my present commitments. It meant embracing them all the more.

But yet, being mindful of finding my direction still matters. It does not vanish. It simply does not overwhelm and consume my life, like other previous confusion roots have.

My willingness to still live in the moment yet be mindful of the future does not guarantee answers, but it assures progress. It assures my future is important to me. It assures I will not simply remain in a situation solely because it “feels” right.

If this post sounds confusing in any way, shape, or form, welcome. And I am sorry. Bear with me, as I try to bear with myself.

Simply put, I am in a season of confusion. But, it is a comforting confusion, not like the dark one I was in months ago. This is molding me into Christ’s image confusion. I don’t know if or when I will ever get answers. But, I do know God placed me in this season for my good and His Glory.

Blessings,

Renata

A Desire of My Heart: My Ideal Home

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One of the things I love most about marriage is being able to live life with another person. I love being able to build dreams with my husband and work together to turn them into a reality. It’s such a special feeling to know God gave me a man to walk alongside in all of life’s steps—big or small.

As we are about to embark on our second year of marriage, one dream is evident to us. We cannot wait to own a home. Growing up, I always wanted to have a home of my own. When I married my husband, I knew that desire of our hearts would one day come to fruition. I simply didn’t know when.

Although we don’t know when we will be homeowners, our idea of the ideal home has remained the same. We don’t want a big house. Much like our sense of clothing style, we like to have just what we need with a little bit of extra space and options. We want our home to be spacious, yet inviting and cozy. We want a home that logically makes use of a smaller space. I can’t tell you how many huge homes I’ve seen that don’t use the available space wisely.

We aren’t people who need much to be content, which is why we love the apartment we have. It’s the perfect size for two people. Also, having a smaller home will allow us to continue our lifestyle of only getting what we absolutely need. A bigger space means more unnecessary junk down the road.

When we seriously look for a home one day, we care about providing a space that is welcoming to guests. We definitely see ourselves as people who frequently have others over, as I’ve mentioned before. It’s possible to do so now with our current living space, but it can get a bit cramp and unmanageable at times.

With that in mind, our biggest concerns in a home are a large kitchen with plenty of counter space, an amicable-sized basement for entertaining, and a private dining room. Private for us means a space that only has a table with no access to a television or other distractions. In fact, no matter where we live, we will only have a television in the living room.

Also, we are adamant about having a guest room with a private bathroom. The lack of another living space for a guest has been the biggest hindrance in our apartment living at the moment. We have a lot of friends who are still in college or who frequently come from out of town. Our couch is fairly comfy, yes. But, nothing beats the coziness of a warm bed and private bath.

Before living in my apartment, I didn’t think I would want a space that has a bay window either. But, now, I couldn’t imagine living in a home that doesn’t have one. It’s amazing what other desires we have for a home. It’s incredible how unique they are to my husband and me.

Finding a home that fits our needs and desires may be difficult, but I know God will provide in His perfect will and timing. And every day, I thank God for giving me my husband and for leading us into marriage. I know no matter where I live, it will be incredible simply because it is God’s plan for my life and my marriage.

Blessings,

Renata