Alright friends, I have been back from my trip to Indiana for a few days now, racking my brain for the best possible way to sum up how my trip was and what I learned from it. But first, Indiana was truly beautiful! Sprawling wheat fields, tons of forestry, and some of the puffiest clouds I've ever seen! The conference was at Taylor University in Upland, IN - about an hour and a half northeast of Indianapolis - and it seemed the college served as the main attraction for the town (although the famous Ivanhoe's ice cream shop was a close second). And Taylor itself was a gorgeous campus, with brick buildings, beautiful fountains, and one of the most serene prayer chapels imaginable. Now for some pictures!
Now, about the conference... well, you may know that I went there hoping to get a job in residence life as a resident director. I will just cut to the chase and tell you that that did not happen. Being at the conference, however, I learned so much about both higher education and student life and, even more importantly, about myself and God.
First thing: I am a true introvert, and being around people all of the time exhausts me! One of the first things I did at this conference was called a placement exchange where I had to network and meet all of the individuals who were hiring at the conference (essentially, I needed to "sell myself" as a candidate). It was very out of my element, but I actually surprised myself with how well I did. At the end of that day, however, I was running on empty - meaning my social skills were deteriorating quickly - and I desperately needed some "me time." So I excused myself from the ice cream social gathering a bit early (see fourth picture above), headed back to my room, and spent some quality down-time in prayer. Lesson learned: while I totally love people, I am filled up most by alone time or quality time with a friend or two.
And second: sometimes, what you think is supposed to happen just doesn't. It seemed as though every door was being opened for me to enter into a certain field of employment after I graduated, so imagine my discouragement and disappointment when that just didn't pan out the way that I (and many others) had thought it would. There was no clear reason as to why... it just was what it was. It has been so easy to reflect back on my time at the conference and scrutinize what I did do and didn't do enough of, but I have found that doing that doesn't really help anything. Instead, I have chosen to come to terms with the fact that God doesn't always give to us what we think we're getting... and that that's okay! In fact, that is really what faith is all about: trusting in His will and provision, which He will do in His way and His timing (and that we often have very little grasp on all of that)!
So, now that I am back home and reflecting on everything, I have decided to enjoy the blessing of down-time that has so graciously been given to me. I have steadily had a job (if not multiple) since I was sixteen years old, and now that I'm twenty-two, I am simply choosing to accept this time of "joblessness" by relaxing and rejuvenating before I fully enter into the working world. I will pick up a few odd jobs along the way - such as babysitting, nannying, and possibly even substitute teaching - until I really find what I want to do and where. And even though it is hard for me to do as a Type-A planner and doer, I am going to do it. With all of the peace and joy that the Lord has given me thus far, and by asking only for my daily bread each morning, I will approach each day as an opportunity to pour out of the overflow wherever He leads me.
Thank you for all of your prayers and encouragement - they mean more to me than you know! :]