I found this beautiful image at the exact moment that I needed it. The comfort that it provided has been profound. “In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart, I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33
This trip to Chicago has been beautiful and fun but also crazily overwhelming. It’s difficult for me, who is so into being with other people, to be on a trip by myself. I’ll be honest: I didn’t really think through this one before I decided to go. I’m glad that I didn’t, because if I had I probably would have made a friend join me, or have planned the trip around a Chicago friend being in town. Seeing that I overlooked this simple fact that it might have been logical to NOT go to a new city all by myself, I did this all on my own. I definitely learned from it, and here are some of my big lessons.
1) Walking through a subway turnstile with a roller suitcase is not easy. That’s all that needs to be said. (But if you ever get the chance to see security camera footage of Chicago’s Division stop at 2:40pm on Monday, March 18th, then you should definitely watch for me and then laugh.)
2) Giving yourself a chance to be a little bit scared about a big life decision is NOT a bad thing. I’ve learned over the past 36 hours has been that I should be very okay with my uneasiness related to post-graduate choices. Even though it is like THE most commonplace thing for college seniors to be asked exactly what we’re doing for the rest of our lives, it shouldn’t be expected of us to actually have an answer.
3) Another suitcase issue: Going up and down the subway stairs with a roller suitcase is not graceful.
4) Walking the wrong way down the street can get you into very different parts of town than your desired destination, but can also introduce you to neighborhoods that are beautiful in their own unique ways.
5) Gut feelings should be trusted, like, all the time. In my life, they’ve proved to be pretty spot-on, whether I learned that before or after it was too late. This is very applicable right now when it comes to these post-grad programs I’ve applied to. My gut feelings have been extremely strong, to the point of scary, about each of the programs I’ve visited in Chicago. Now I just need to have the guts to follow them (no pun intended). It’s now the time to trust the feelings God is providing for me instead of trying to change His intentions to fit my lifestyle.
6) Having your iPhone spontaneously turn off while you are adventuring by yourself in a new city on your first day, like 3 hours after you arrive, is probably one of the most terrifying things. (So it’s a nice thing that there is a Walgreen’s on nearly every city block….I was definitely the one who went in and plugged an Apple USB cord into the Walgreen’s Instant Photo machine to charge it.)
So aside from my list of partially serious and partially funny anecdotes about my trip, I think it’s most important to go back to an idea that I’ve talked about before – but with a twist. I’ve written a bunch of times about how important it is to trust God and His plan/love/forgiveness/intentions, but I think it’s also extremely important to trust ourselves. In this case, during these past few days I have had to rely on my own abilities to trust my own instincts about what next step will be good for my life – and to be radically honest with myself about it. This isn’t an easy thing to do, and obviously the influence of God and inspired wisdom is important. Yet starting at the beginning of it, it’s important to know that we are very good judges of our own fears, abilities, and appropriate actions.
Verse for tonight: “But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you.” – Psalm 5:11