My daddy asked me a hundred and fifty two thousand times: “where does trouble live?” The answer is: “trouble street.” The one little question defined every choice I’ve ever made. In high school, I didn’t even have to ask that question, I just avoided trouble at all costs. But in college, it is different. You’re away from your parents. You have complete freedom. Part of that is extremely liberating and exciting and I couldn’t wait. I was going to fly.
The problem is there isn’t someone checking on you to make sure you’re doing your homework or to bring that homework to you if you forget it at home. There isn’t someone to remind you to get up in the morning or go to bed because you have school in the morning. I knew I wasn’t going to have that anymore. I never needed much of that. I was pretty self motivated, but it was nice to have that security blanket. I knew my parents were still there for me, but it was going to be different.
What I didn’t account for was those friends that grew up in church with you aren’t there. Those friends that would text you if you missed a service? “Hey girlie, are you sick? We missed you this morning.” Those texts are long gone. The good thing about having a best friend go to a different church is that you got to go to twice as many youth events and retreats. Those invites to every single church function aren’t there anymore. “Hey girlie, we’re having that retreat weekend coming up. We’re so going right?” “Of course!! I’m so excited.”
I chose to move away for college. I grew up in a small town and I loved it, but I was ready to leave. I only went five hours away, but that was all I needed. I talked to my roommate on Facebook the summer before we moved in, but that was it. I didn’t know anyone else. I decided to go through formal recruitment. I just did it. I didn’t ask my mom. I just told her I was doing it and I needed help picking out dresses. It was one of the first “adult” decisions I have ever made.
I had people there to challenge me, to lead me. I had people to steer me in the right direction. I also found myself on trouble street a couple of times. When I did, I had people there to bring me back and help me pick up the pieces. I had an entire team of officers and advisors looking after my success. Then it was time for me to be the leader. I may not always make the best decisions, but I always had the best of intentions. I did my best to make those women feel protected and know they had a voice. As president, I made a list of things I wanted to do and then I sat down with every single officer and we made a list for her too. I wanted to do as much as I could to empower those women.
Lynn Cowell said: “I want to slow down, and carefully choose the words I say, the attitudes I have, and the actions I take.” I love that and have tried to live that way. I am not perfect and I’m still learning every day, but I’m intentionally trying. I think that we have to pick our friends the same way we pick our words, attitudes, and actions. I have been extremely fortunate to pick people that build me up. I didn’t realize how important that choice was until college, because the people you surround yourself with help define who you are too.
So, here is my prayer today. I pray that I keep learning. I pray that I slow down. I pray that I choose my words, attitudes, and actions with purpose and intention. I pray that I choose those around me with purpose and intention. I pray that they bring me closer to you. Thank you for them. Thank you for the texts checking on me. Thank you for the motivation to keep going. Thank you for the challenges and lessons. Thank you for giving me freedom and choices, but thank you for also giving me consequences and rewards for those choices. Thank you for letting me come to you on my own and for sending people to guide me to you. Thank you for allowing me to fly and stay grounded. Thank you for sending your son. Thank you for gravity. Thank you for the people surrounding me. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.