When I first came to Bethany, I knew God led me here for a reason. This is my school. This is where He has plans for me. Reflecting my years here, I wonder what kind of impact I have made on BC. I know Bethany has made a major impact on my life, but I also hope I have influenced Bethany, too! I want to leave my footprints. I want to come back as an alumna and see growth in all the areas I have been involved here. I want “BCCD” to be winning national titles and continue to grow. I want peer ministry to continue to be one of the favorite classes and loving group it is now. I want chapel filled every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I want our SAB to continue to be the coolest campus activities team in Kansas. I want Prayer Group to continue to lift our campus’ needs to God. I am excited for God to reveal the next chapter in my life. Until then, I will continue to have faith and live life with passion— knowing that He will use all aspects of my life in some way and not take any of it for granted!
Thank you all for your time and support in reading my blog. I’ll have you know that your comments and reactions have contributed to my completion of the Honor’s Program at Bethany, which I am very proud of! Not only has it helped me fulfill requirements, but every comment has touched my heart in a major way. I did not expect the intrinsic gratitude that came with this experience. I am truly blessed beyond belief.
Prayer has always been an important aspect of my life. It’s the most powerful tool we have, and we can do it anytime, anywhere! I love praying. It gives me purpose, power, and brings me closer to God. Matthew 18:20 reminds us of the power of prayer in groups.
A few years ago, I was feeling inspired and decided to start a group here at Bethany with that verse as the foundation. Prayer Group met every other week just to pray. There were never more than five people at the meetings, but the empowerment and relief that followed was indescribable!
However, it became inconsistent. It wasn’t working out. This was hard for me to understand. Surely, if the Lord brought this idea to me, it would work out, right? Well, when we had a break over summer, I prayed and analyzed what to do for the next year. I realized that going to a group just to pray is very hard for many people! It’s scary to pray aloud and it’s even scarier to open up to strangers and pray together about personal struggles. I knew I needed to change this group if it were going to live on.
I decided to try something new. Prayer Group went virtual. I sent out a campus-wide email, asking if anybody was interested in receiving emails with prayer requests and praises. Instead of narrowing the opportunity to students, I opened up this group to all students, faculty, and staff members at Bethany.
And this group was a success! Although the first “Prayer Group” faded, it gave way to this new group. I still send out the weekly emails. I keep a journal of the prayer requests and I love looking at the way God answers prayers over time! He has cured four people of cancer, provided comfort for many hurting people and families, and has showered blessings over our college since Prayer Group began! I receive emails of encouragement, updates, and uplifting words from members of Prayer Group every week! It has become an incredible way of keeping in touch, tying our campus community together in a spiritual way, and has touched so many lives. I see it growing even more in the future.
For this to happen, I had to take a step back and analyze the group when it was not working. We’ve all heard of the phrase, “If at first you don’t succeed, try try again.” What we need to realize is that “try try again” needs to be slightly different until we get it right.
Insanity is to do the same thing repeatedly with expectations of a different end result. I had to try developing Prayer Group again, but this time in a different way. Sometimes we forget that element of the process and get frustrated when nothing changes. But other times, when we use a new approach, the failure of a good idea opens a door to make it into something great.
“It only takes one time to get addicted.” I realize this is true for many things, things I never want to try. I did not realize it was true of running. Yet, here I am—a girl who, three years ago would only run if her life depended on it—training for a marathon. What I thought was just a mid-summer run has led me down a path leading running to be a major part of my life.
The funny thing is, I went on this run out of spite. I had been waiting for over a month to receive my summer workout for cheerleading, and I was giving up hope that my coach would ever send it to me. But, I didn’t want to waste my summer away. I spend as much time defending cheerleading as a college sport as I do talking about it in general. I wasn’t about to admit that as a “college athlete” I spent my summer sitting around watching the grass grow. However, I didn’t know the first thing about working out, nor did I have access to a gym anywhere. The only thing I knew was that running is free, and I don’t need a personal trainer to teach me how to do it. So, I ran. I was at about a snail pace at first, and thought my legs just might fall off after running a mile. However these runs sparked something in me. Running is a stress-reliever! Besides, after the first couple of miles, my legs would go numb to the pain anyway. It was the perfect getaway—free, healthy, and possible to do nearly anywhere. When I would run, I used it as a time to reflect, spend time in God’s creation, and pray. As with most things that are actually good for you, it was extremely hard at first. But it was wonderful.
That next fall, I continued to run in order to relieve stress and talk to God. I didn’t do it every day, nor did I expect to really make a habit of it. Nevertheless, one day the cross-country coach stopped and asked me to join the team. Ha! I laughed in his face! I wasn’t trying to be rude—I legitimately thought he was joking. I tried convincing him that he didn’t want me on his team and that I was the slowest runner ever, but he persisted. He asked me to do a 2-mile time trial that weekend to see how I did. I remember showing up to that time trial thinking, “this is going to be a waste of time and an embarrassment of myself and him for thinking I could do this.” I was praying during the run, just asking God to make my time reveal His will for me. The last time I had ran a timed mile was my freshman year of high school, and I ran it in 9:27. I had no expectations as to what time I would finish. I just kept praying and pushing myself to run at the right speed, and leave it up to God and the coach to decide if I was good enough to be on the team. My strength could only have come from the Lord, because I ran even faster than the coach had anticipated. He did not anticipate something else I did while I ran—I smiled. I was smiling while I was running, because I was talking to God. It was beautiful outside and it was a perfect time to worship! I always smile when I run.
I spent the next year and a half running track and cross-country for Bethany College. During this time, I learned what it meant to stretch myself, push beyond limits, and meet goals. No one could tell me I wasn’t a college athlete now! I set a personal record with every race I ran while on the Bethany College track team. My coach was filling my head with thoughts of going to nationals by my senior year. But that wasn’t in God’s plans for me. As much as I learned on this team, the addiction to running was taking over.
I began to focus so hard on meeting my times, eating and sleeping well, and doing everything right that I forgot the reason why I ran to begin with. I went to bed by 9:00 PM every night, felt guilty about eating a cookie, and it would ruin my entire week if I didn’t meet a goal in practice one day. I would cry and get all worked up over missing my target times by only a few seconds. It was starting to consume me. I constantly thought about what I should be doing better, when I would be able to fit running into my busy schedule, and how I would improve every day. It’s great to set goals, but anything in excess can be damaging. I forgot that I run to spend time with God and I want to glorify Him in doing so. I was certainly not glorifying Him in this. I realized that I stopped running for the right reasons after a stressful day, when my workout brought me to an ultimate low. I was about to give up on so much and I didn’t give God a second thought, when before I would have been praying the duration of my run. I wasn’t smiling anymore.
After I came to terms that I cannot actually do everything, I prayed long and hard about my position on the team. With my insane schedule, I had to give something up—I was too stressed and had stretched myself too thin. Track was the only thing I could part with losing. When I told my coach, I expected him to be so mad. After all, he had invested a year and half of time in me. Every day, he personalized my workouts, gave me direction both in running and in life, and taught me so much about far more than running. I felt like his personal project, and I failed him. I was so scared of that conversation when I would tell him I was giving up on myself, after he had refused to give up on me. But to my surprise, he completely supported my decision. He knew I was doing too much and he respected my choice to end this chapter of my life.
Although my time on the team was over, I wasn’t done running. I continued to run and still run all the time now. I may even run more than I did when I was on the team! I ran my first half marathon on September 25, 2011. I ran a ten-mile race over Thanksgiving break this year. My next goal is to run a full marathon in April, God willing. Even though I quit the Bethany squad, I have no regrets. I joined in God’s timing and I quit in God’s timing. I learned principles that I will continue to live by for the rest of my life. I learned what it means to be healthy, to exercise regularly, to take care of my body. I learned about relationships, teamwork, and working through trials. If I had not joined that team, I wouldn’t be as healthy as I am today. You still would never find me anywhere near a gym or weight room (unless I was cheering, of course). I wouldn’t be studying health and physical education. And I definitely wouldn’t be running double digit races for fun. I have met some incredible people through running—people I plan to keep close to my heart for the rest of my life. The lessons I’ve learned through running are endless.
The best part is, it all took me by surprise. I would never have predicted that I would ever run more than the distance from the parking lot to the store on a cold day. But God took what I thought was an insignificant event and changed my life around. The same lessons keep reoccurring in my life. I never knew that going to an open gym one random night would lead me to become a college cheerleader. When I wanted a clear answer of whether to join the track and cross-country team, God answered my prayer with a clear “yes” by giving me the strength to blow away my coaches expectations with that trail run. He did the same when I wondered if Bethany was the right school for me. When I thought some of those workouts would kill me, it made me stronger—just like my freshman Honor’s seminar, it taught me what a true challenge is. And the same way that “filler class” which I took for fun changed my life, running helped steer me to ultimately pursue teaching health and P.E. Lastly, I was able to learn so much from my experiences because I chose to run on my own—I ran for the first time without the influence or demands of anybody else. I know there’s a connection between all of these events. I know that God is using my past and present to shape my future. I am excited to continue to draw connections as God reveals the significant and not so significant events in my life.
I don’t think I’ll ever know what I want to be when I grow up, nor will I ever actually stick to a plan from start to finish. I change my mind every day. I envy those people who play doctor in second grade, go on to college and then graduate school, and follow their dreams from the time they were eight years old. Does that really happen for people?
I have daydreamed about my options for my future since the first adult asked me that dreadful question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I always hate those kinds of questions. “What do you plan to do when you graduate?” “Where do you want to live when you’re older?” “Do you plan to go to grad school?” I don’t know! The good news is it’s okay not to know.
Plans change. Life happens. We can plan our entire life away, only for it to be stripped from us in one instant. This doesn’t go to show that we should not make plans. It only means that we should make plans, and have goals that lead us until we find ourselves seeking a new plan or new goals.
I figured out trying is an important part of the equation when i declared a psychology major. Author Rita Mae Brown said, “A peacefulness follows any decision, even the wrong one.” My decision to sign that paper saying I would study psychology at Bethany College gave me an indescribable sense of empowerment. I made that decision on my own, for my own good. Even though i eventually changed my mind, and am not a Health and P.E. major, the fact that I made the decision in the first place led me to where I am now.
I have a year left until i have to make another major decision. One year from now, i plan to be ready to graduate with a degree in Health and Physical Education and find a teaching job. Although I am working toward that goal with passion and commitment, i know that the reality is that those plans might change. I will never forget my first decision to study psychology. Making that decision on my own was a breakthrough for me to realize what it means to “keep my options open” but still have a purpose and a goal in mind.
Tell me about something you did for fun that ended up changing your life. What insignificant events have turned out to be something you’ll never forget?
This is the dance we had to watch, learn, and write out the steps for our first assignment in Elementary and Secondary Rhythms.
[fil- er klas-es]: noun
1. easy courses we take for fun, but don’t ever intend to use what we learn in the future; This semester is so easy. All I’m taking are filler classes!
We all take them as a break from our more intense classes. We find out what classes we can take in which we can goof off, have fun, and not actually have to learn. One of my first filler classes turned out to be a lot more challenging than I expected, and I actually did use what I learned in the future. I took it during Interterm of my freshman year—elementary and secondary rhythms, A.K.A. dance class for kids!
If you’re not familiar with Bethany’s Interterm, it’s a time of cramming one full-semester course into three weeks of classes between the fall and spring semester classes. It could be torture, but most students figure this out early and take those wonderful filler classes during this time. They offer some intense classes, like Statistics and Young Adult Literature. However, they also offer fun classes like Bookmaking, Sports Officiating, and Rhythms. So instead, Interterm becomes a month of fun, hanging out with friends, and only going to class for two hours a day. It’s awesome.
Albert Schweitzer quotes
CHALLENGE: Work at something that makes you want to quit. The challenge of the Freshman Honors Seminar was so tough; I didn’t think I would make it. That’s what made it a genuine challenge. It was the first time I really faced a struggle in my academics, and the first time I was fully able to understand what a challenge is. If you never have to push through thoughts of giving up, you haven’t experienced a true challenge. Describe a time you faced a challenge and wanted to give up, but stuck it out through the tribulations. How did you feel? What did you learn? Has there been a time you did give up and wished you had endured it? What did you learn from that experience?
“Mom, I can’t do this! I want out! It’s just not worth the stress anymore,” I spit out between sobs over the phone. “I’m only half-way through my first honors course and I just don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s ruining my college life! I am so stressed.
I’ve never felt so challenged or struggled so much in my life. I have so far to go, and I’m just not cut out for this honors stuff. Can I quit? Can I please just be done?”
After waiting for me to calm down enough to hear her over my gasps, my mom comforted me, “Honey, I know you can do this. It’s Halloween weekend. Go out, have fun, and don’t worry! Call me on Monday and we’ll talk about it then.” This response made me so mad! I wanted her to say I could quit. I wanted her to tell me that it was up to me and she would support me if I chose not to be in the Honor’s program anymore. But she didn’t. She had more faith in me than I had in myself. And I’m so glad she did. By continuing with this course and with the Honor’s program, I learned a so much and gained from the experience.
The first thing I learned in this class was that I am not the smartest person in the world (contrary to common belief). I actually had to try in this class! Even more, when I did actually try, I did not always get a guaranteed A. In high school, I never dealt with this. School always came easy to me, and as long as I did the work, I got the grade. This class made me realize that sometimes in life, trying is not enough. Sometimes, even when we do the best we can and put in all our effort, we still don’t get the results we want. For example, to connect this explicitly to my cheerleading experience, I have been trying to learn to tumble (cheerleader talk for flips and stuff) for three years. Putting in hours of practice several days every week does not guarantee that I will accomplish my goals. I still don’t know how to tumble. But I’m still working. And that’s what matters.
Through this first revolution, I learned how to challenge myself. I had never had to work so hard at something in my life. I didn’t know what a challenge truly was! I learned how to work at my academics, how to stretch my mind, and how to discover my capabilities through dedication and tears. to my cheerleading experience, I have been trying to learn to tumble (cheerleader talk for flips and stuff) for three years. Putting in hours of practice several days every week does not guarantee that I will accomplish my goals. I still don’t know how to tumble. But I’m still working. And that’s what matters.
The Honor’s course also taught me to have an open mind. The course subject was about human nature: what it is to be human. We read many books by different thinkers exploring the human condition. Each author approached the question differently and from a different academic perspective. The diversity of the books alone was far beyond my previous reading experiences, and adding my classmates’ beliefs and comments on these books broadened my scope even more.
Although I may have cried countless tears, pulled too many all-nighters, and ate pounds of chocolate through this course—I did it. I made it through. Looking back, I can confidently say that this course is the single most influential and beneficial class I have ever taken. It stretched me academically, socially, and spiritually. I learned how to think! I learned how to analytically read and interpret texts in a way I had never even tried before. My roommate was taking the course with me. Going through this together strengthened our relationship the same as any trial strengthens those who endure it together. It not only solidified our friendship, but also it forced me to grow closer to my other classmates, and those who supported me while I took it (thanks, Mom!). Because of the nature of the course and defending my position in class discussions, I grew more confident and secure in my beliefs. I recognized my own philosophy on humanity and life itself. These are all areas in which one needs to grow for a healthy life. I could not have made these leaps in my maturity without this course. I am proud of who I became through it all.
When I went to that open gym for cheerleading, I had no idea where it would take me. When I went on my first college visit, I was unaware of the adventures that would follow. However, when I chose to enter the honors program and chose to take this particular course, I knew it would challenge me. I knew it would help me to grow. Sometimes in life, we don’t know the ways in which we will grow. Sometimes we do know that the decisions we make will help us to grow, but just don’t know to what extent. Think about each decision you make in a day, a month, a year. Every decision, big or small, plays a role in your life story. Sometimes we know an event will be significant, and others take us by surprise.
November 1, 2008. 8:37 AM. Lindsborg, KS—5 miles. All I can see is fields. The radio station just dropped. Where is this road taking me? No cell phone service. “Great. This is going to be a long day, visiting a college I probably won’t even attend,” I muttered to myself.
I’m sure many prospective students go through this mental process as they travel to Bethany College for the first time. It was definitely, what was going through my mind when I first visited! However, when I actually got to town, this negative perception began to change. My first exposure to this college was like my first time at a college cheer open gym. Before I saw it for myself, I never really showed an interest at all. I still remember Tricia Hawk’s welcome as she kicked off the “Swede Friday” event. She was so enthusiastic and had so much passion when she spoke. She talked about Bethany, how great of a school it is, but then acknowledged that it is not the school for everyone. She told us about her son, who was planning to go to KU. This personal testimony and honest reflection was what made her speech so impactful. She encouraged us to search and find the best place for us—whether it was Bethany or not.