Summer of 2016 I was haunted by the thought that I don't know who I am or who I want to be. I prayed, talked, and wrote about. I went to wise people and foolish people, hoping that someone could console my anxious questions. I wrote this just before seeking out a wise professor, an unofficial mentor, really.
"Ever since I can remember, I've wanted to be a story teller. All my stapled paged "books" from preschool prove that. I wanted to see the world and tell people what I saw and about who I met. Little did I know the wisdom in the heart of the small child that I once was. But as I grew older, I wanted something more realistic and tangible: I wanted to be an astronaut, the first woman on the moon, to be specific.
After getting a telescope and science books for Christmas, my interest in the heavens grew. I knew constellations and I could recite the formula of the speed of light (300,000km per second). Yet still, I wondered if I could best explore the stars with my head or with my heart. My aspirations reverted back to the vagabond writer I'd once dreamed of. I wanted to see the universe via rhetoric instead of rockets.
Later on, marine biology was my obsession. The depths of the ocean fascinated me. I wanted to know the secrets of watery graves, I wanted to know about all the creativity that went into God forming the seas. The adventure of exploring and researching captivated me-- the idea of the depths of the earth defining "deep" intrigued me. ...And ultimately pointed me back to my metaphoric pen. I decided the same as before-- I enjoyed the depth of great writers more than the ocean's.
Later, as a high school upperclassman, I thought if I wanted to write, I would need to teach. I considered being a theatre or literature teacher; or using my gifts with children and teaching kindergarten. I had this moment my senior year when I realized how much structure I would have-- how I loathed the future I had planned for myself! Once again, I was back to wanting to be a gypsy for Jesus.
Now I know cross-cultural ministry is where I am supposed to be, writing, story telling, along the way. But who I am to be, who I want to be, is just as much a mystery as the galaxies or the oceans."
After I tried my hardest to communicate my questions to him, he told me that I'm asking the right ones, but followed with the best one. In 1 Chronicles 1, God tells Solomon that whatever he asks for will be given to him; my professor asked me what I would want from God. "Self-control," I whispered quickly.
My choices, my attitude, situations I had put myself in flashed before my eyes. The people I was surrounding myself with or pining after, it all had the same root. I was creating these things with a paintbrush full of everything but temperance. After that, full of doubt, I prayed for it, for discipline. I prayed for faith to ease my doubts and love to purify my skeptical heart. I took control of the mundane things that were holding me back from using my volition for good. I've always been stubborn, but rarely have I sighted that in to help me.
I changed my diet, I exercised more, I read instead of binging Netflix, I didn't let my anxious mind have control over my emotions. The following semester, my grades got better because I managed my time. I watched my spending. I got better sleep. I attended more classes. I sought temperance in every aspect that I could. I'm not perfect, and I still screw up in the mundane, but in the bigger picture, I have, by the grace of God, more self control now than I ever have.
In addition to this, I sought healing from the demons that have hurt and haunted me for too long. I fought depression and anxiety so much that my panic attacks are at an all time low. I worked everyday on how I saw myself. I gained confidence and security in who I was, finding that who I've been looking for has been hiding under Pride all this time. The answer to my echo of questions this summer is that I want to be a person who remains in Christ so much that the fruits of the Spirit are growing in glorious abundance.
I want to love my God and those in His image. I want to bring joy to those in mourning. I want to share peace to those who have none. I want to be patient with myself and anyone who needs it. I want to be kind to those who are persecuted. I want to do all things in goodness. I want to be more faithful than the largest mustard tree. I want to exude gentleness to everyone I touch. I want to be controlled by a mind of Christ.
I know who I want to be. My prayer for 2017 is that, in Jesus's name, I will be this person. I pray that I will grow to be the woman of God I was created to be. 2016 was a year of learning, I hope 2017 will be a year of doing.