I became a vegetarian five years ago at Thanksgiving. I decided I was done with eating meat after I had to rip the leg off of the turkey and felt like a cavemen. So now instead of juicy steak, I enjoy imitation meat products and salads!
I love piling things on my plate whether it’s making a mountain of a salad or committing to many different things. This love for piling my plate high began in high school when getting A’s was just as important as being as involved. I filled my time with eight different organizations and leadership positions. Outside of school, I commuted for an hour, four days a week to my dance studio while also hurdling on the track team for two years. I started to realize the only way I could be successful was to always be on top of things and make sure things went the way I planned.
I soon discovered that it was impossible to always have things go the way I wanted, and I didn’t know to deal with failure. After experiencing multiple panic attacks, I started looking for areas in my life that I could control. I turned to my weight. I started carrying around a calorie counting book with me literally everywhere, and it soon made me consumed with my body image. I also turned to my family, but in a negative way. Because I was always anxious and agitated from stress, I would take out my frustration on them. I began seeing a psychologist to help me sort out my life, and he taught me the value of journaling to relieve my stress. Journaling however, didn’t help me heal – only deal with the struggles I was facing.
Graduation finally came. You would think I would’ve been proud of myself after having been recognized for my academic, athletic, leadership, and dance achievements, but instead I couldn’t help but feel cheated. I had put in all of those hours, I had worked so hard day after day, and suddenly none of it mattered anymore. I felt like I’d lost my identity. I would have to start with a completely empty plate in the fall.
My first semester in college started well and after becoming involved with Cru, I had the chance to go to the Cru fall retreat. I had always believed that I was supposed to be in control and Sunday mornings were my allotted time periods for God. At this retreat I saw for the first time what it was like to have God be in control of your life, and not just on Sundays. I grew up thinking God was a vending machine, giving me what I asked for, instead of someone I walk and talk with every day. At this retreat, people were in love with Jesus as if He was their best friend and read their bibles like it was The Hunger Games or something. I saw this peace and joy they had in Jesus, and I wanted that personal, real relationship as well. I learned that worrying and stressing out about life and the future meant that you didn’t believe God was big enough to handle it. When I realized that He was big enough and that I could completely trust Him in everything, I gave Him control of my life by asking Him to come into my life as my Lord and Savior.
Everyday I now experience the joy and peace that I saw others had at the fall retreat. I trust in the plan that God has laid out for my life because I know that it is so much better than my own. Now when I get stressed, praying has taken the place of journaling because while writing it down helps me deal, God helps me heal. I also turn to scripture, and one of my favorites is 1 Peter 5:7 that says “Leave all your worries with Him, because He cares for you.” I know I need to trust in the good plan He has for my life, regardless of what I’m going through.
I still struggle with piling too many things on my plate, but I now know that I can turn to God for guidance and comfort when things get really stressful or don’t go as planned. I thought I was happy and content with my life before knowing Christ, but I couldn’t ever have imagined how I feel now, knowing that He is real, is in control, and loves us so much. God showed us this love through the death of His perfect, sinless Son to make it so that me, an imperfect person, could someday be allowed to be reunited with Him in heaven. To return this love, He simply calls us to be faithful and let Him guide and direct of our lives. It may sound scary handing over the reins of your life, but I promise it is worth it. I gave my life to God, and it has completely changed my life for eternity.