Good.

Today I realized that I feel good. I feel really good. Like, the best I’ve felt in a really long time. This is not like a super-ultra-high, where everything in my life is completely and totally amazing and everything is fitting together like a cheesy rom-com. In fact, while things could be worse, they are not the best.

A relationship recently ended, I’m behind on homework, and I didn’t get enough sleep last night.

So why do I feel good?

Again, I don’t feel amazing. I know that later I won’t feel as good as I do right now, but this feeling will continue to be here.

Why?

To begin with, I’m in college. I’m pursuing my dream-every day! I am on the road to starting my life-actually, my life has already started! Also, learning is one of my strengths and highest values (this is why I cringe when people complain about any class-how can you not enjoy learning about Brazilian music??), and at college I learn something new every minute. I am fully enjoying this.

I recently had a talk with one of my friends about where I’m going in life. At the time, I wasn’t sure where I was going. This past year has been really hard, and as I result I fear that my creative outlet has been shut down. I stopped reading and writing. I would sit around and watch TV all day (and while TV does count as experiencing amazing stories, I was using it to numb what I was feeling and using it as an excuse to do nothing) rather than doing things that I love, such as reading or writing or exploring the world around me to learn new things. I allowed how I felt to effect me in such a way that it was stifling who I am. I was practically a walking zombie until, well, after I had this conversation. After processing through the conversation, I realized that part of who I am is a missionary. I grew up in a very intentionally relational home; my parents were always having people over because they believe that the best way to show Jesus is through living in constant fellowship with others. This has defined missions for me and influenced what I want my life to be – I want my life to be one long mission, lived in fellowship and community with nonbelievers and fellow believers.

It also wasn’t until after this conversation took place that I had to read a book for class that rekindled my love for stories. The book was a work of fiction that narrated the correspondence between two people during the Roman empire. This story used fiction and history to weave together a powerful story that exemplified the early church and what it means to be a Christian. This book reminded me of the power of a well-told story, and the beauty it can bring about. It reminded me why I am a Creative Writing major, and it encouraged me to continue to have this subject be my main course of study.

I have also realized that by not forcing myself to be happy all the time, I am happier. I know this sounds weird but when I accept however I feel at a certain time, whether it’s sadness, happiness, tiredness (although I feel this all the time), frustration, etc., I am making room for myself. By accepting how I feel (though not always acting on it) I am not conditioning myself to fit inside whatever ideal I think I need to be in. This is incredibly freeing. When you allow yourself to simply be, you are making sure that you are not stifling or bottling things up but rather you are relieving the pressure of your emotions. Granted, this can be taken too far (sometimes waaaayy too far!) so be careful and wise in how you relieve your feelings.

So by following my goals, being challenged by a friend, remembering who I am and what I love, and by allowing me to be me, my life has changed for the better. I feel good, not fantastic, but fantastic isn’t for eveyday. I am more passionate. I am more focused on what’s important (including homework).

Praise God from whom all blessings flow, including conversations such as the one mentioned above and revelations such as these!

-Jess Winter

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