The past couple days, I’ve been in one of those moods. You know the kind I’m talking about…the kind where you see the negative in everything, you’re jealous when you think the whole world is having fun without you, or, as my mom likes to call it, the “woah is me” mentality.
And you know what?
It’s a very ugly, ugly state of being. I will be the first to admit that one. Though I just finished my first 6 weeks of my internship rotations on Friday and have so many blessings in my life to rejoice about, there I was, wishing I was anywhere but here.
Graduate school is an odd stage in life. It’s probably no longer acceptable for me to behave the way undergraduate students do, yet I’m not in a career setting either. It’s a long stage of simply waiting.
Waiting… to finish assigned papers.
Waiting…until one dietetic rotation is completed…and then waiting again to finish the next.
Waiting…. to finally take the RDN exam.
And then waiting to find a job.
And if you’re anything like me, too much waiting makes a person grow restless. My adventurous, wanderlust soul craves to be on the move and exploring—especially when I am bound to one place.
My morning devotional, Jesus Calling, put me in my place the other morning (like it all too frequently does!) The devotional urged:
“Welcome challenging times as opportunities to trust me…the way to walk through demanding days is to grip My hand tightly and stay in close communication with me.”
Those words reminded me to cling to the promises of the Lord during difficult times and use those moments as opportunities for growth. While I may grow frustrated and sometimes sad with being stuck away from my family and friends here in Illinois, I’m determined to be grateful for the present. In one of my favorite books, Wanderlust (ironically enough), Elisabeth Eaves admits:
“I couldn’t live with my head somewhere else. I had to embrace my surroundings, because this time was only going to go by once, and I didn’t want to spend it wishing for things to be different.”
Amen! How true is that? I have this constant fear that I’m not living life to its fullest. I think that is part of the reason why I so often wish I were embarking on journeys around the world. However, I never want to become an elderly woman and look back at my time in graduate school and wonder why I wasted all of that time feeling sorry for myself.
Here are some ways I have found to take advantage of this waiting season.
1.) Spend more time in the Word.
I cannot begin to tell you the number of times I have started and failed to complete a Bible reading plan. I hate to call myself a quitter, but….
I’ve always admired people who take time to soak up the word each day. It sounds so serene and also conducive to developing a better perspective on life. So this past week, I took it upon myself to start a 61 day survey of the Bible reading plan. So far, I am loving it! The daily readings highlight some of the more crucial passages from each book of the Bible. I am praying that I can keep the stamina to complete this Bible study. If you want to do the Bible study with me, check out the plan here. You can always shoot me an email and we can be Bible buddies. J
2.) Build community with others.
Over the weekend, I was pretty bummed seeing pictures of one of my best friend’s wedding and also photos from my undergraduate roommates enjoying festivities from our annual roommate weekend. Being in the middle of Illinois meant I had to miss both events. (Insert the countless tears I have shed this past week!) Counting all the things that I’m missing out on often causes me to overlook the genuine friends I have made while in graduate school. I truly do love doing life with these ladies. In fact, just a couple weekends ago, my friend Gina and I stayed up until 4am simply talking about life—we’re still young, people!! In my remaining year in Illinois, I want to take advantage of this beautiful community we have already established and watch it continue to flourish.
|This is such a terrible picture but it makes me giggle.|
Apparently homemade ice cream is a three woman job...
At least it was this past weekend. ha!
3.) Take advantage of my current location
Even though I can’t explore the streets of Ireland or, perhaps, Ecuador, like I’m longing to do, there is plenty to see right where I am located. One of the things that I love about Illinois is how much more centrally located it is. Chicago is 2 hours north, Indianapolis is 3 hours east, St. Louis is 2 hours southwest, Nashville is only a 6 hour drive…need I go on? If I were back in South Dakota, those locations would be more realistically traveled via airplanes. Now is the time to take advantage of the centrality of my current home. Let’s get moving, ’98 Buick Century!
|St. Louis Arch from when Abby and I visited last August|
4.) Dream of the future
Since I have almost a year before I need to begin my hunt for a job, now is the time to dream…and dream BIG! I swear my career goals change daily. Now is the time for me to explore my options before singling in on where my true passions lie. Lately the corners of my mind have been flooding with thoughts of wanting to live abroad for awhile—possibly applying for a TOEFL position. We’ll see. Maybe I will act on that dream. Maybe I won't. For now, they are simply dreams and sometimes the dreaming is the best part.
One of my favorite bloggers, Katie Cook of Hope Engaged, reflected on her own waiting season this past year:
“If you are in a place you find incredibly boring or routine, take heart! This might be part of the training grounds for some epic calling God may have on your life.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself and I am so excited to see what these training grounds are preparing me for.