Wednesday, February 9, 2011

My Paradox of Self-Esteem

I seem to be going through an interesting phase regarding my self image.  At first, arriving at Focus was really liberating.  No one knew me and I could see if the Taylor mold of who Bethany Smith is actually fits the person I really am.  I discovered a lot about myself. I can be outgoing and push myself to step outside of my comfort zone. And in the process, I gained a lot of confidence. I felt secure in who I was and was proud that I was diving in without fear.

However, time went on and the honeymoon of self exploration faded away.  Being with new people was a great way to discover more about myself, but I also realized a lot of insecurities that I thought I had grown out of.  Because of the community at Taylor, I quickly figured out who I was in regards to those around me and that followed me for my 2.5 years. But being put in this new social situation where I couldn't "fall back" on the good traits I had built at Taylor was really scary.  If I messed up once in an area I usually excel at, I figured that mistake was doomed to define me.

Please don't worry.  I have talked this over with several people and have the support I need.  And through talking with people, I have realized how many other students feel the same way in this new situation.  I guess what I have had to accept is that Satan really does attack me with lies daily, especially in times like this when God is pushing me to grow in confidence.  I know the idea of Satan whispering lies into your ear might sound uncomfortable/stupid/cliche to some of you, but I really think its true.

The last few nights I have been reading through the book of Joel (which I love) and found this verse really encouraging

"You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God, and there is none else.  And my people shall never again be put to shame."

                                                                                                       Joel 2:27 (ESV)

God is with me. All the time. Everywhere.  He is God. He is so much bigger than the lies that Satan tries to get me to believe.  Because I am reconciled with Him through Jesus Christ, I never need to be ashamed ever again.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Given that I haven't blogged in a long time, I would say it's pretty clear that I have been quite busy.  But busy in a very good way.  I continue to love my time here and the people that I am spending it with.  Even in these 3 short weeks, I feel like there are several areas that God is challenging me in.  I wish I could go into depth on each one of them, because each of them truly excites me, but hopefully I'll have time for that another day.

Because so much has happened and I never seem to have time to blog before 11pm, I'll just share some highlights thus far

1. I am doing a counseling practicum right now where I shadow a Focus on the Family Counselor and listen in to counseling sessions on their free hotline.  I went into the practicum actually hoping that I woud hate it because it would help narrow down different fields of interest. However, words can't describe how much I love my practicum.  I have even asked to spend extra hours just listening in and observing.  We also spend a fair amount of time learning different things about counseling (graduate schools, self care, techniques, etc).  I couldn't have designed a program that better fits what I was looking for

2.  On a day off from class, a group of friends and I went up to Boulder for the day.  It was great to see more of Colorado and just goof around.  This picture isn't new to any of you who have facebook, but here is a group of us at a ice cream shop in Boulder

3.  My classes are awesome.  I love what I am learning, even though it is very challenging.  

4.  My friends are great.  They love digging into deep conversations just as much as I do.  One night, we had to do our reading outloud with a group.  However, we ended up in a conversation about how we each got to Focus (some amazing stories) and decided we should pray for one another.  So we did.  We took turns praying over each of the 8 individuals for 2.5 hours.  I was exhausted the next day, but developing that sense of community so early on was an amazing blessing.  Friends was my number one concern heading into Focus, and so far it has been one of my greatest joys.  I can truly say that the friends I make here will last far beyond a semester.

5.  Most importantly, God has been showing up big time in my life.  Never before has He taught me so many different things at once.  As I said before, I don't have the time to really go into this, but it is so great it deserved a second mention. 

Well that is very very brief explanation of my time here so far.  It really doesn't do my experience any justice.  Thank you for your patience as I have been terrible at communicating and keeping in touch since I left.  I appreciate your prayers greatly and love you all very much.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

I'm Still Alive...

For those of you who might be concerned, don't worry. I'm still alive.

Take my lack of blogging as a good sign that I am loving life and staying WAY too busy socializing and then writing papers at this awful time of night.

When I finally get a free moment I'll fill you all in.