Today was one of those days where nothing out of the ordinary happened.
I got up and went to Political Thought where I was thoroughly confused by the discussion of writings of guys from the 1600s and found out we have a test on our first two authors next week. Awesome.
Then I went to lunch with the ever-adorable Hannah and Emily. Those two never cease to make me laugh. If only Peyton had been there!
I had every intention of coming back to work on the bibliography for my Seminar paper after that...instead I took a three hour nap. Oops? I was exhausted and there was no way I was going to be able to think about getting my 60+ sources in order. Yeah, that's going to be a fun paper to write.
After that, I had dinner with Austin. Every time I see him, it blows my mind to think about the fact that I've only known him for just shy of 5 months. There's a level of trust with him that makes me feel like the Lord is present any time we're together. It sucks that we're both so busy that we don't get to see each other a lot this semester, but that's life and it doesn't change the fact that he is one of my dearest friends and possibly the person still physically at this school that I trust the most.
Tonight was spent doing my bibliography (hallelujah, that thing took me 5 hours but it's done and in and I can move on to the rest of my ever-growing to-do list). After that, I started picking up and cleaning the few dishes that were dirty and just generally organizing stuff because we have room checks tomorrow. Oh yes, room checks. What was touted as RAs coming around to make sure you're not hiding alcohol or drugs or any other "contraband" in your room is actually that plus them making sure your room is clean. At Campbell, you can actually get written up for a "cleanliness violation." Yay private schools?
And now it's past 1:30 in the morning and I'm going to go take a shower and then hit the sack and praise the Lord that I can sleep in tomorrow.
You know, now that I think about it, there was actually one special thing about today. After dinner, when Austin had to go print some stuff off before his night class, I looked at him and just said, "You need a hug and a prayer." And so we stepped outside, and we wrapped each other in a big hug, and I prayed over him and just rubbed his back the entire time. And I loved it. I loved that he let me do it, even though he's much more introverted than I am. Over the past couple weeks, I've been getting more bold about stepping out and praying for people when I feel the desire to. I don't know if it's my desire or God telling me to do it, but when I get the thought that I should pray over people, I just do it. Which is something new for me because I'm bold in a lot of ways but praying over people hasn't usually been one of them.
But I remember thinking about that when I got back to my room, and how at dinner before that even happened, we were talking about how on the days when I'm feeling the worst about myself and beating myself up the most, there will inevitably be a moment when someone unexpectedly tells me what an encouragement I am and how good I am at lifting them up and making them feel better, with my smiles and hugs and maybe a compliment thrown in. Austin's reply was simply, "You ARE! You are so good at encouraging people."
The speaker at FCA last night talked a lot about how we need to figure out the gifts that God has given us, figure out what we're good at, and just go do it and He'll direct our steps. I think I'm good at encouraging people, that I'm good at making other people feel good even when I don't realize I'm doing it. And while yes, smiles and hugs and compliments are all great things, I'm learning that there is no better way to lift someone up than to lift them up before the Lord. And not only does it make me feel good, too, those are also the times when I feel the least awkward praying. I remember when I was at lunch with Clayton a couple weeks ago and he asked me to bless the food and I sort of stumbled my way through the prayer; when I'm praying over someone that I love, like Austin, for the things that I know are weighing on them and that they need prayer for, the words come naturally. I'm not sure why that is. Bottom line, I just really like to help people, and helping them helps me, too, if only because doing things like praying for a friend helps me to remember that this life really isn't about me.
I hope that God opens my eyes to more ways that I can encourage and help people, and that He'll continue to give me the confidence to step out and offer to pray for people, even if I'm not sure they want me to, and that He'll keep pushing me to get out there and do it even when I'm not sure that it's doing the other person any real good in the moment. Stuff like that, like giving someone a hug and us holding on to each other as we go to God, it reminds me of how close and accessible our Father really is. So even when it seems like I'm praying for a friend to help them feel more at peace, I guess we both win. Is that awful? Nah, I don't think so. As long as the prayers are sincere and my heart is in the right place.
Knowing Austin has been a good opportunity for me to learn true selflessness, how to always make myself available to people when they need me, or they just need someone in general. That kid's door and ear and heart are pretty much always open, and he never seems bothered by it in the least. I just hope I continue to remember that my prayers for/over him and offers to help him anytime he needs don't need to be in the "I'm trying to pay you back" vain. I know I don't need to pay him, or any of my other real friends back, I just want to love them as well as they have loved me. I want to be as loyal as they have been to me. I want to be as patient as they have been with me. Not because I owe them, but because that's love.
And when the body of Christ loves each other like that, it brings both the giver and the recipient of the love closer to the One who taught us how to love in the first place.
I really wasn't expecting this post to take this turn, but there you go.