Never Look Back11:06 AM
It took me eighteen years to figure out how to serve Christ as Bailey Bergmann in my large family, in conservative churches, as a homeschooler, as a girl with limited resources and a voice that wanted to be heard.
Eighteen years. Life underwent major changes, of course -- I went fifteen, sixteen, seventeen; I got greater responsibilities than washing the dinner dishes; family dynamics changed and new opportunities came along. But for the most part, I brushed shoulders with the same people for eighteen years, doing the same thing to perhaps a slightly different rhythm. God had plenty of opportunity to break me and mold me in an ever-familiar environment.
When I went off to college, I had this Christian homeschooler-daughter-sister thing down pat. I felt comfortable and confident with who I was in Christ, what I wanted to do, how to handle spiritual life. I was passionate for Christ, fairly popular, looked up to, and loved by my family and friends. I loved that life.
Now that I'm at the end of my sophomore year, I look back at that girl with bitter envy. She had time to pursue the things she loved -- writing, reading, thinking, crazy, complicated party planning. She was strong in her faith. She was the center of attention. She was a leader. That girl makes sense. Her circumstances make sense to me. Problem solving makes sense back-in-the-day.
Not so with where I'm at now. Life whacked me over the head with things I didn't ever expect would be this hard. Not being a leader. Not having time. Not sleeping. Not being surrounded with loud, goofy children 24/7. Not having ready access to people over the age of thirty. Whenever I have emotional or spiritual breakdowns, the old lessons I learned just aren't powerful enough. I know more now. I've lived more now. I've been on my own for two years. I'm studying tough questions. I'm dating. I have a job and fifteen-page papers and need to beg for transportation to get to the Bible study I scrape up time to do.
Whenever all this newness and hardness overwhelms me, I lament the girl I was once was as if I was an entirely different person. I want to go back when things were more familiar, when lessons were learned, when passion was aflame. I hate the growing pains. I hate the breaking down. I hate the in-between. And since the life I'm currently living and the girl I currently am is so fraught with pain and failure and sin, I find myself struggling to reinvent my old self and my old circumstances.
It doesn't work. I will never be a homeschooled teenager living in smalltown Wisconsin. Never, ever again. I am a college student, a girlfriend, and a servant of Christ right here at Hillsdale College, right amid all the papers and sleeplessness and weird friend dynamics.
Being a homeschooled teenager living in smalltown Wisconsin was once super hard too. It had its pain and suffering. There is no reason that where I'm at right now can't end up in passion for Christ. I just need to take a deep breath and keep moving forward in life.
The future is where my victory is. The future is where my change is. The future is where the girl I can admire is. The future. Not the past. I can't recreate the good old days, but I can determine right now that I will live today fully for Christ Jesus, that discouragement and sin and confusion will have no hold on me, that I can start my change for the better right. here.