If there was one word that I could use to describe how I am feeling about life right now, I would say I’m tired. Tired of school. Tired of worrying about what to do after graduation. Tired of every conversation turning to a COVID discussion. The list could go on and on. And if you are anything like me, anxiety has become the root of the stresses of everyday life.
I’m sure other people are feeling this way too. Some may experience it more than others. And I think that is one reason why we hear the phrase, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” so many times in the Bible. You don’t know the struggles of others. You don’t know what is behind that smile.
These days, I feel like I ask those in passing, “How are you doing?” And I usually get the typical “I’m good,” response. I am also guilty of giving that same response. But the question I have for you is, how are you actually doing?
I came in this semester excited about my senior year. I knew it wasn’t going to be the same, but I was still hopeful for my last year at Berry. But unfortunately, that was not how things got started. I found myself overthinking every conversation, relationship, and even my faith. Even after a really good day, I would sometimes stare at my celling and think about what I could have done better or how I could have changed my attitude or personality in a certain situation. I just figured if I could fix myself, all of it would go away. And let me tell you, it was exhausting.
Don’t get me wrong, I have been blessed here at Berry with great friends that I truly don’t deserve. They have pushed me in ways that have made me a better person. And I truly have made some great memories in the last three years. But even in those good moments, I worry about whether I am enough or not.
But the Lord has been faithful this semester and is really showing me to turn to Him in these difficult times and feelings of loneliness. The book of Isaiah has really opened my eyes to how He loves me for who I am and how He is running after me. My prayer would be that if you have felt like I have these past few months, that these words from God would bring you peace as we head into the rest of the school year.
“But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. Be not so terribly angry, O Lord, and remember not iniquity forever. Behold, please look, we are all your people.” Isaiah 64:8-9
These verses hit me hard, especially when thinking about my past. Ever since I was in high school, I would hold back on who I really was in order to please those around me. I felt like there was a standard I had to upkeep. But we must remember that God has hand made us in His image. When we try to create someone we are not; the Lord wants us to remember that we are His people. We are His image. And that is enough for Him to love us.
As I recall these verses, however, I still see myself questioning everything in my life. I feel anxious at times to speak up, voice my opinion, or even just being in a social setting. But, then I recall this verse from Isaiah 35.
“Say to those who have an anxious heart. Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.” Isaiah 35:4
I think of this verse at least a few times a day, especially at the end. As I recount my day and everything that happened, I still get anxious. But this reminds me that God is always pursuing us. He is running towards us and wants us to run back to Him. He reminds us in this verse that He is coming with vengeance and is coming to compensate for the anxieties we have with His love. And as you continue through your time here at Berry, my prayer is that you would remember two things.
- You are not too much. You are enough.
I used to think my personality was a lot. And, at times, it can be. I’m sure my friends can attest to that. But, God has made me and you into His perfect image. He loves you for you, because He made you.
2. Always turn to the Lord, for He is running after you.
In this time where I have felt alone, I have been reminded that God is always running after me. Even when I am trying to run after things that will only temporarily fill that void, God is chasing after me. And He is chasing after you too.
Bryce Nethery is a senior Marketing major from Trenton, GA. At Berry, He works in the Student Activities Office, acts as the Senior Class President, is involved with YoungLife at Model High School in Rome, and is apart of the Leadership Fellows Scholarship program. In his free time, he is obsessed with the reality show Survivor and can name all the winners in order (small flex) and LOVE’s Doug’s Deli.