Winter 2016: God Is Near The Broken Hearted

Before anyone asks, the title of this post is in no way an indicator of a romantic relationship that I’ve had this past quarter – my life has been lacking in that area, if you must know. Now that that’s cleared up and out of the way, onto the post.

“God is near the broken hearted” is a phrase that was said at the Radiate Conference I attended with Cru in January, and it has stuck with me ever since. What I didn’t know at the time was that the experiences I would have in the coming weeks would require me to cling onto that statement as if my life depended on it – and at times, it did.

After the snafu that was Fall Quarter, I so desperately wanted Winter Quarter to be better. I needed it to be better. After Fall Quarter, I was physically, mentally, and spiritually exhausted, and I just needed a break from everything. Winter Break could not have come at a better time – I drove the 6 and a half hours back home to Sacramento and spent some quality time with friends and family, and binge watched YouTube videos and Netflix shows until I was ready to take on Winter Quarter.

For at least the first half of Winter Quarter, it seemed like things were going way smoother than they had in the Fall: I was doing well in my classes, I was growing in my relationships with my friends as I was growing in my faith, and I had an awesome job where I genuinely enjoyed the people I was working with. After I came back from Radiate, it seemed like my life was on the up-and-up, and I had so much to look forward to over what I thought would be the final 6 months of my academic career.

When I came back from my trip to Orlando to visit the Campus Crusade For Christ headquarters (you can read about the experience here), the reality began to set in that I would need to make some very real decisions very soon, and the even bigger reality set in that given my academic circumstance, I would need to push back some of these decisions – i.e. Given my current academic standing, there is a chance I won’t be able to graduate at the end of Spring like I wanted. I don’t want to get into too much detail about that here, but if you’re absolutely dying to know more about that, I’ll be glad to tell you in person.

I pushed that possibility to the back of my mind – probably something I shouldn’t have done – and instead of being caught up with that thought, I instead worked even harder on school work, and pushed forward with my Year One Internship application for Cru. But as I was crossing more and more things off of my to-do list (e.g. Making sure I got all my references in on time, finally starting my Euclidean Geometry project, studying for a Stats quiz, etc.), it seemed like more and more things kept on getting added to it, and before long, I found myself burning the candle at both ends. Class projects caught up with me, my grades began to slip, and my motivation for anything plummeted as other problems in my own personal life began to arise. At around the eighth week of the quarter, I began to slowly accept the reality that nothing I was doing – pressuring myself to all of a sudden become a straight-A student overnight, giving myself a deadline to earn my degree, being in denial about the difficult reality of not graduating in 5 years – was productive. It was getting harder and harder for me to get up every morning knowing that everything I was working so hard towards would be in vain. It was hard going about my day pretending like everything was fine, greeting people with an optimistic disposition, when deep inside, I couldn’t shake the overwhelming feeling of failure.

But instead of throwing my hands up and completely losing all motivation, I gave myself a new goal, one I knew I could realistically accomplish – to just get through the day ahead of me. If I am able to just get through the day, deal with whatever comes my way, and then go to bed that night knowing I was the best version of myself I could be that day, then I could comfortably say that I accomplished something, and I would be able to do it all over again the next day. I’d pray for just enough strength and motivation to get through each and everyday, and although there were days where I felt like I had truly reached my breaking point, looking back at the past several weeks, I was still able to hold it all together at the end of the day.

God is near the broken hearted.

I don’t let myself worry about tomorrow, next month, or next year, just like I don’t let myself worry about yesterday, last month, or last year. Nothing I do now can change what has happened, nor can anything I do now change the trajectory of what tomorrow will look like. Nothing will screw you up in life more than thinking that you have to have everything figured out, and being convinced that you have to have it together at any point.

It may be exciting to have a bunch of great things happen all at once in your life, but it’s important to remember that the higher you climb, the harder you fall, and it’s even more important to remember that when you do fall, you just have to pick yourself back up and move on. I said it in my Fall 2015 blog post, and I’ll say it again: Life doesn’t get easier, but it does get better. With time, you get to look back on everything that you’ve been through, and tell yourself, “I got through that.” Since Spring Break started, I’ve been doing just that. Right this second, I’m listening to a playlist I started at the beginning of this month, right when everything seemed to be falling apart, and the songs I’ve added to this playlist are such a statement to everything that was happening at the time. Through going back and listening to these songs, even though I was emotionally exhausted, there was still so much optimism and strength there, and instead of being reminded about how drained I was from all of the personal things I was going through, I’m reminded of the perseverance and strength I had.

God is near the broken hearted.

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