Go for Broke

I’ve been praying a lot.

But before that happened, I went on an adventure tonight. I hung out with friends, ate some food, went to a business meeting, saw love take shape in a bunch of different ways, and felt the cold weather we thought was gone for good creep back into our community.

And after all of that, I have this picture in my mind that really won’t go away, and because of that, I’d like to share it.

The picture I have is a room of funhouse mirrors (the ones that change your figure to make you look shorter or taller than you actually are).

I remember being a little kid and laughing when I walked into a room of mirrors that distorted the way I looked. Then I remember being a middle-schooler and feeling self-conscious. Being a teenager and thinking it was stupid altogether.

Being 20 and rethinking everything.

I’m tracking back to my roots and realizing something important: It’s hard to talk about being broken when we’re broken. That’s why it’s hard to talk about depression, why it’s hard to respond, “I’m having a bad day,” it’s why we can’t find the words to say at funerals.

Brokenness manifests itself in a lot of different ways. And it’s best disguise is the lie telling us that we’re not broken. It’s best disguise happens when we push it away.

In essence, brokenness is a mirror that distorts our perception. Sometimes we act like a kid, and we think it’s funny. Sometimes we’re middle school kids and we feel self-conscious. But most often, we never really leave our teenage phase of thinking that it’s stupid all together. Most often, we push it away.

I encountered a situation tonight that reminded me of the person I was at this time last year, and I’m convicted with joy to say that I am not the person I used to be.

There was a lie that I lived – one I had lived in for a long time – that whispered, “Hide your pain.” This translated into a lot of different phrases. “No one cares.” “You’re a burden.” “You’re not worth it.” Phrases I think that too many of us are telling our voices on a much too regular basis.

I got so good at this lie that I put up a front to try to hide the mess underneath.

But the lie started seeping through. I was short with people who were close to me, becoming frustrated with situations that brought up reminders of the past. Not only was I living with a broken past, but I was also breaking apart my present, which was crumbling my future. My heart was a mess.

I thought I was fine.

Then, this semester, something happened that I cannot explain.

By grace alone, God captured my full attention, and when He captured my full attention, He captured my entire heart. And He started fixing it even though my head told me it wasn’t broken. He started by tearing down walls and building up hope. Placing keys into locks and chains that I told myself I deserved. Replacing lies that were a part of my identity with truths that resounded with grace. He went all in – changing me, shaping me to become the person He knew that I could be. I began experiencing freedom, and now, I live in grace.

All of the messes I had been storing in my heart – bitterness, anguish, hatred, annoyance, frustration, guilt, regret, shame – replaced with love, kindness, goodness, gentleness, patience, joy, peace, self-control. I’m not perfect, I’m still a mess. But it’s a different kind of mess.

water, waves, broken, beautiful
Set free the locks that are holding you steadfast to the things that make you miserable.

This is the change that happened: I can talk about it. I can talk about being broken because God has redeemed it. He’s healed it. He’s fixed everything. I can tell you about situations from my past because I know they have no hold upon my present and no say in what my future will hold. We’re good at believing the phrase, “You’ll never change.” But the power of Jesus proves otherwise. He’s done a work in my heart that’s changed everything. And I know it’s nowhere near being completed.

If you want to be free, be free.

Let’s continue the conversation. Follow me on Twitter @hopesophie17– tweet at me, tell me what God is up to in your own life. (: Questions or comments? Post below or send me an email at sophie.guetzko@hope.edu.

Senior Wisdom and Insight

Wow one week from today I will be graduating from Hope College! I’m currently writing this post from JP’s Coffee downtown and thinking back on all of the memories I have had here. Hope College has been one of the biggest blessings in my life. I have met some incredible people and lifelong friends. I asked some of my senior best friends for their wisdom and insight for upcoming freshmen. They have brought so much wisdom, joy, perspective, and encouragement into my life so I hope you find some their wisdom useful for you…

1) Remember that God is the only one that will stay the same. So much will change in your time in college: your relationships, dreams, fears, plans, and circumstances. Yet, He will remain the same no matter what, faithful until the end.
2) Don’t let expectations guide your experiences. Don’t have the pressure of these years being “the best years of your life” or immediately having the most incredible friends on the planet or finding the love of your life in the first week! Your experience in college may be amazing but will likely be different than you currently picture. Try to be expectant and hopeful without pressured by specific ideas.
3) Try to live free from comparison. You will meet absolutely incredible, talented, attractive, wealthy, intelligent people. Celebrate how great they are, but don’t try to be just like them. You don’t have to change yourself for the people around you, and will develop much better friendships if you do not let comparison rule your relationships.

-Monique Meck

Find your identity in Christ. Do not compare yourself to others and do not try to seek affirmation from others. Seek affirmation in The Lord and be you. Never stop challenging yourself. Do not put God’s abilities in a box because you have no idea what The Lord has in store for your life. 

-Sarah Zielinski

Take advantage of the many activities and traditions Hope has to offer. College is a time to explore and find what interests you and helps you grow in positive ways. If something if not influencing your life in a positive way, find another activity to participate in. If a friend is no longer building you up, start spending more time with people who do. You want to make memories with people you love doing things you love to do. 

-Hannah Boshoven

Never be afraid to embrace a place and its people so much, that it hurts to leave. Time is a valuable thing; get to know what it’s all about as much as you can. Pursue your dreams, pursue this life, and smile at the little things. “Both faith and fear ask you to believe something that has not happened yet, choose faith.” Always choose faith.

-Lydia Wathen

Try everything. Talk to everyone. Join any student organization. Study abroad. Go on May Terms. Have adventures. Have the time of your life. Don’t let fear, comparison, doubt, negativity, judgement, or any other wonder killer stifle you out of what will surely be a wild and beautiful season of your life. 

-Kimberly Collins

Be who you are, and only you. If you are not sure who you are yet, be the person you want to be and the journey along the way will be ultimately fulfilling. 

-Lauren Kokum

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Pure Beauty in Holland, Michigan