Tripping Through Life*

I’ve recently been receiving comments on social media… “W&M cover girls!!” “You guys are the cutest.” “You’re cool.” “Ahhh why are you so perfect?” “You are perfection my dear!”

And from looking on my Instagram or my Facebook, those comments are pretty convincing. My life looks great. I am surrounded by friends. I’m going on cool adventures. My fashion is on point. For example…

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That’s not me. Yeah, that’s me on my good days. I live a pretty great life. I’m having some incredible moments and doing some super cool things. I have wonderful friends, and I am living in a beautiful place. But that’s only part of the picture. I’m here to set the record straight.

You don’t see me when I am hunched over my laptop, furiously writing a paper I procrastinated too long on.

You don’t see me when I am sprint-walking across campus to reach a class just barely on time, because I was finishing a last-minute assignment or slept too late.

Or when I miss an event to help with a local elementary school’s field day.

Or when I am running into the cafeteria 15 minutes before a class.

Or when I am so exhausted that I can’t think straight.

Or when I am so overwhelmed that I want to cry.

Or when I hate the world so much that I want to curl up into a ball and never talk to anyone ever again.

Or when I am so homesick that I think my heart might just shatter.

Or when I am in the middle of a panic attack, taking deep breaths.

Or when I am so stressed that I withdraw into a grey study room for hours.

Or when I am ranting on the phone to my mom.

Or when I’m such a mess that I can’t think straight or talk English.

Or when I trip up the steps… oh wait, there were no steps. I tripped over my own feet.

Yep, that’s me. Now don’t get me wrong, that is not my always. But it is my regular. I’m struggling my way through this life. Relying on Jesus every step (or trip) of the way. Still think I’m cool or perfect?

But my hope is that I would bring glory to God with each stumble. My hope is that I would find joy through the trials. Because, oh, the trials never end, dear friend. Not in this life. I only hope to set an example through my perseverance (not my fashion, hair, food choices, or adventures).

Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing. Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him. (James 1:2-5)

When endurance does its complete work, we will lack nothing. And when we lack nothing, we will no longer need to ask God for anything. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I’m ever going to get to that point. Not until heaven, at least. So here’s the truth: the trials just keep coming. The messy moments keep happening. Our completion is not in this world.

But we are not alone. When we are so exhausted and stressed that we can’t function, we can approach the throne of God with full assurance that He will answer. He is FOR you.

We process joy in emotions–peace, contentment, satisfaction… But joy is a daily choice to trust. My prayer for you and for myself is that we would learn to embrace the trials and find joy in them, knowing that one day we will reach completion. The struggle is not in vain!

— This has been honest talk with Phebe. Tune in next time to hear me talk more about my messed up life and God’s saving grace!

*I’m talking about actual tripping, not drugs. Get your mind out of the gutter.