Nothing Matters

On my Instagram, my first photo from 4 years ago, is of me on campus with a nice soft smile. The caption reads, “Ready to start the journey.”

College was more than a journey. College was more than just a rollercoaster.

At times it felt like I was getting run over by a semi.

At times it felt like I being hugged by the world.

At times it felt like I just missed joining the Olympics by a few seconds.

At times it felt like I forgot how to breathe.

At times it felt like I won the lottery…twice in a row. 

I have done a lot of reflection the last few weeks. As I sell my furniture. As I finish my last class as an undergraduate. As I pack my suitcases.

Reflection always comes when life gets real…real quick. 

So, here I am. Staring at this photo. Trying to remember what was going on in that 18 year olds head. How am I different?

I like lists.

Here are 100 things college has shown me. 

  1. Live your life. Not someone else’s life.
  2. If you choose to follow #1 do it boldly.
  3. Find mentors
  4. Listen to your mentors
  5. Be grateful
  6. Call your family
  7. Call your friends
  8. Smile until your cheeks hurt
  9. Kill the world with kindness
  10. Vulnerability is scary, but so worth it
  11. Foster friendships
  12. Don’t be afraid of strangers
  13. Don’t let fear hold you back
  14. Purchase an umbrella
  15. Be spontaneous
  16. Follow your gut
  17. Treat your gut well with healthy food
  18. Exercise as much as you study
  19. Don’t live in books
  20. Be present
  21. Find what you are good at
  22. Listen to the world speak
  23. Empathy, empathy, empathy
  24. zeal, zeal, zeal
  25. Haters gonna hate
  26. No excuse is good enough
  27. Action expresses priority
  28. Prayer is active
  29. Crying is okay
  30. Emotions are okay
  31. Frustration is okay
  32. Call people by their name
  33. Look people in the eye
  34. Hug people
  35. Sometimes just being is enough
  36. Be creative
  37. Sacrifice
  38. Find a Church
  39. Never miss a Sunday
  40. Find a quiet place
  41. Reflection, reflection, reflection
  42. Find woke people
  43. Fellowship with woke people
  44. Wear the clothes you want to wear
  45. Fall asleep in weird places
  46. Life is fun if you make it fun
  47. Life is boring if you make it boring
  48. Tell people that you love them
  49. Tell your crush that you like them
  50. Embody courage
  51. Patience isn’t something you learn right away
  52. Your future is so bright you need shades
  53. Serve the poor
  54. Listen to the narratives of the underserved
  55. Buy someone a coffee
  56. Buy someone a gift randomly
  57. Write a friend a letter
  58. You may think no one understands you, we are all human
  59. Because I am human, I have limits
  60. Only God can give me peace
  61. The world is dark, be a light
  62. Be the salt of the earth
  63. Don’t wear green shorts and a green shirt
  64. Being silly is a good thing.
  65. Laugh at failure/mistakes and move on
  66. Some people come to your life for a reason
  67. Other people need to leave your life for a reason
  68. Be consistent
  69. Don’t say you are if you haven’t shown it
  70. Dance like everyone is watching and kill it
  71. Humility, humility, humility
  72. Take deep breaths
  73. Make sure you have a towel on the rack before you jump in the shower.
  74. Take cold showers to wake up.
  75. Don’t be idle
  76. Don’t live in your own head.
  77. Heartbreaks heal in time
  78. Don’t be jealous
  79. Ask for help
  80. Organize your desk
  81. 4 years goes by like lightning
  82. Stop the vanity
  83. Run in the rain with your friends
  84. Kiss someone like spiderman
  85. Be someone’s superhero
  86. Don’t buy what you don’t need
  87. Don’t clutter your life, throw stuff away
  88. Jesus Christ anchors
  89. Get nice hats for bad hair days
  90. Don’t feel obligated
  91. Put down that cell phone
  92. Pick up that Bible
  93. Live away from home
  94. Find your home
  95. Take a random elective
  96. Push yourself to always be better
  97. Yes or No, don’t live a life of maybe
  98. Take action
  99. Read between the lines of textbooks

100. Nothing matters but loving God and the people He has made. 

Do I Trust You?

I was driving back home from a spring break trip to my friend’s university in Pennsylvania.

The drive from home to my friend’s school was easy. It was pretty much a straight shot. I set the cruise control and jammed out to my music for 2.5 hours.

However, the ride home was a bit different. It had been snowing all night and was still snowing when I started driving. The roads were slick. My car was sliding. My GPS said it would be about a three hour drive.

At one point during the drive the GPS took me on a different route. I was driving through cities in Pennsylvania and New York that I never knew existed. I was scared I was headed the wrong way, so I looked at the GPS a few times. But, overall I trusted the technology. It would guide me home.

After about three hours the towns started to look familiar. The snow had stopped and I made it.

_________________________________________

 

When I reflected on my trip a question arose:

How could you put all your trust in the GPS to guide you

but not God.

I let the GPS take me to places that were unfamiliar. Quite frankly, I was out of my comfort zone. But I trusted. The robotic voice was my serenity. The more I heard the voice the more relief I felt.

When God takes me to places unfamiliar….places that take me out of my comfort zone

Do I trust Him? 

Do I listen to His voice and feel peace? 

Do I thank Him when I am guided home?

 

Who or what do you place your trust in…

 

When the roads are slick.

When the snow of this earth blinds you.

When you feel lost.  

 

Maybe, the reason we are so quick to trust technology and other things earthly is because it is easy.

We plug in our location and follow the directions.

Technology is a matter of our convenience.

However, with God we must let go of our own desires. We must persevere in prayer and train our ear to listen to the language of God. We must take hold of the wheel, press the gas, and ask God where He wants us to go.

I can assure you that if we do this, He will guide us home.

“Trust the past to God’s mercy, the present to God’s love, and the future to God’s providence.”-St.Augustine

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Noticing You Noticing me

The last few weeks (more like months) I have been really stressed/anxious/fearful.

     Why?

I have no idea what my future holds.

I have no idea what state I will be living in next year.

I have no idea if I will find good friends.

When I talk to others about my future I appear confident. I act like I have everything under control.

But.

The more this semester goes on the more I realize control is something I never will have in this life.

Waiting to hear from medical schools has been a painful process for me.

Waiting for a phone call.

Waiting for an email.

Thinking….

Am I good enough?

Did they like me in the interview?  

Maybe, I should have done more?

While this idea can be applied to my medical school process, I’m sure many of you understand this feeling. Waiting makes us think. We see so many roads we could travel on and look to God for guidance. We pray. We ask for help. We seek peace.

When I was younger I would ask for the good ole fashion sign from God. I wanted a hand written note sent from Him, preferably delivered by dove, to land into my lap.

The older I have become the more I understand that God does not work that way.

However, throughout the last few months I have noticed something.

Because I have been so down.

Because I have been so uncertain.

Because I have been so confused.

I have looked to God so much more. Because of this I have noticed things that I have never noticed before. I would not call them signs…but reminders. Reminders that He is there.

I have noticed Him noticing me.

Let me explain.

1. Dining Hall

A few weeks ago, I was feeling really lost. It was one of those days when you roll out of bed already confused as to what you need to do that day. I was behind on work. I had 5,000 different scenarios about my future running through my head like a movie reel. I made my way to the dining hall to grab food. Maybe, sitting down and eating would give me peace of mind. Food always does make me feel better. All of a sudden I was walking past a quote I have seen at least once a week for two years now. It had meant nothing to me. To be honest I do not think I ever really stopped and thought about it.  However, this time I was taken a back. I read it over a few times. Smiled. He noticed me.

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2. Angel Pin

I was ready to make the drive to DFW Airport. It was the start of spring break. I had not had the best night’s sleep for the past couple nights. I got in my car and hoped their would be no traffic and I would have a safe drive. As a northeastern boy an almost two hour drive is kind of long (it’s nothing for my Texas friends). Doing that drive alone, can get really really boring. Furthermore, doing that drive alone provides a place for a lot of overthinking. I started the car and made the two hour drive. I prayed that everything would go smoothly. As expected I was stressed out the entire ride lost in my own thought. Even the new Ed Sheeran album was not helping (surprising right?!). When I finally made it to the airport I shut off the car thankful I made it there safely. I took a deep breath and looked up. At that moment I noticed a pin stuck near the light inside my car. I have had this car since August and have never noticed it there. I smiled. He noticed me.

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3. Church

Two days ago I went to Church with my family. This is a Church I have been attending since I was about five. After Church, we had a coffee hour in the Church hall. I scarfed down a few donuts (maybe more than a few) and drank my coffee. After a while I saw my family heading out the door. Looking for the garbage, I walked over and threw out my trash. I saw a sign right over the garbage that said,

                           PRAYER CHANGES THINGS

This small sign had been there for years. Yet, now it means so much more. I smiled. He noticed me.

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God does not send carrier doves with our futures written on scrolls.

God does not give us a call on our phones.

God does not send us emails.

However, he does send us mini rainbows everyday. To remind us that He is there. He notices us.

God, I notice You noticing me.

And because of that, I have peace.