Monday, July 3, 2017

The Life Pattern vs. God’s Pattern



2017 is HALFWAY OVER, GUYS.
HALFWAY. *faints* And next thing you know, August is going to be here.


With August, for many, comes Big Life Decisions. Maybe May for you was a flurry of graduation excitement. Some finished high school, others college. While many of you are getting prepped to return to school.


I had multiple graduations to attend in May, and I know many people who are stepping out to do many new, exciting, and maybe even scary things. And others are trying to decide what they want to spend the rest of their life doing.


With this transition of summer quickly slipping toward August, for a lot of people, the doubts start coming in. The questions. The fears. What do you want to do with your life? Are you making the right life decisions? What if you make the Wrong Decision? What if you mess up? What if you change your mind? What will everyone think? Or maybe you’re not headed to a change. Maybe you’re already settled into a life, but unsure if it’s the right one. And those same doubts and fears creep in. Are you wasting your life? Should you make a change? What does everyone expect from you?


If this sounds familiar, I have some advice for you…


STOP.


Okay, okay. Obviously we all have to make decisions in life, and that’s GOOD (even if it doesn’t seem like it). It’s gotta be done. As lovely as it’d be, we can’t really spend our entire life watching Netflix. (Just some of it.) So what am I getting at here? Well, let me tell you a story…


From the moment I started kindergarten, I was homeschooled. I was a homeschooler throughout my entire schooling years. And then I *GASP* chose not to go to college. I went for years without ever having a job, and only now have a little part time one. I’m not married, never even have had a boyfriend before, and still live with my parents. In the world’s eyes, I’m a complete failure.


According to the world, this is the set Life Pattern: Go to school, directly go to college (taking a year or two break after graduating high school is just dumb and lazy. How dare you take a break after being at school for 12 years, and not immediately decide what you’re going to do for the rest of your life at the age of 18. Psssh.), find a fulltime job you must stick with forever, get married the second you graduate college, have only two kids and maybe one dog, raise your two children to be a doctor and lawyer respectively, move into a retirement home, die. The End.


Ooookay, maybe that’s a smidgeon dramatic. But, ya know, from my own experience sometimes it feels like that’s exactly what’s expected of everyone. And if you break away from the Life Pattern you’re a failure. You’re lazy and no good and what even are you doing with your life?



Obviously, I’m the biggest Failure of them all. Not only was I one of those Weird Homeschoolers, I didn’t go to college. I don’t have a fulltime job. I don’t even have a boyfriend. I’m 25! I should have a career by now. Or be married with 5 children. Sheesh, I’m practically old maid status. I should at least have my own apartment and not be living with my parents. Right? Right???


I’m gonna be honest with you guys. Sometimes I do believe these things. Sometimes (okay, a lot of the time…) I listen to the voices of doubt, let them make me think I’m a lazy, no good failure who’s wasting her life. Sometimes I wonder if I should be making changes. If I should have done things differently. And then God gets a hold of me and reminds me: I’m exactly where He wants me to be.


Because here’s the thing about the Life Pattern. It’s not GOD’S PATTERN.


God does not call us to follow the “social norm”. He does not have a set copycat lifestyle for every human on the planet. He has an amazing and unique plan for each and every one of us. And yes, sometimes His plans seem positively ridiculous.


I think everyone thought Noah was a total loon when he set out to build a ginormous boat in a place with no water. I have no doubt the people of Jericho shook their heads at the complete and utter insanity of Joshua when he marched his army around the Jericho walls every single day for a week.


God doesn’t take common sense into account. He often calls us to live in the most strange of ways. And you know what? It’s absolutely wonderful.


Oswald Chambers said it best:


If a person is ever going to do anything worthwhile, there will be times when he must risk everything by his leap in the dark. In the spiritual realm, Jesus Christ demands that you risk everything you hold on to or believe through common sense, and leap by faith into what He says. Once you obey, you will immediately find that what He says is as solidly consistent as common sense.

By the test of common sense, Jesus Christ’s statements may seem mad, but when you test them by the trial of faith, your findings will fill your spirit with the awesome fact that they are the very words of God. Trust completely in God, and when He brings you to a new opportunity of adventure, offering it to you, see that you take it.


Living God’s way is so, so much better than conforming to what society expects of you.


Now, it’s not going to be easy. Like I said, I often let the voices of doubt into my head. And I have dealt with raised eyebrows and judgmental looks from people my entire life. I’m sure all my fellow homeschoolers are quite familiar with that raised eyebrow one receives when one must answer The Question: “Where do you go to school?” But I only thought that was bad. It only got worse when I graduated. Now the question is, “Where do you go to college?” or “What are you studying to be?” When I answer with, “I didn’t go to college,” I’ve feared some people were about to lose their eyebrows completely they went so far up their heads. I’ve literally had a couple of people just kind of stop talking to me and move on to one of the more “successful” people around me. Because apparently I’m just too uneducated and weird to bother having a conversation with.


Disclaimer: I’m going to pause here to quickly say, I am not against college. We need doctors and lawyers and a billion other things. College is important! I know I probably sound like I’m totally anti-college with all this ranting. I’m not! I’m just anti-you-must-go-to-college-or-you’re-a-complete-failure thing that seems to be the world’s viewpoint. I feel like these days people see it as a sin to not go to college! College is a choice, not a have-to. Yes, we need to go through school. Obviously. Gotta learn how to do math and read. But afterwards, it’s up to you what to do, and you shouldn’t be shamed by that. Isn’t the world all about freewill right now? So why are we still shaming each other for not going to college? (But I’ve got to stop, because this post isn’t about college, despite appearances. Ahem.)


Every person has a reason why they do or do not do something.


I suffer with health problems. Mentally, I’d love to go out and do things and see people every single day. I’d probably love having a fulltime career, and maybe even really enjoy college. But physically, I can’t always be out and about every single day of my life. I have to live a pretty quiet life because of health problems. I actually was planning on going to college, the idea excited me, but God very clearly led me not to. And now I understand why. Health-wise, I just couldn’t handle it. And what I want to do with my life has no need for college. I want to be a fulltime writer. And yes, a lot of people take classes for that, which is fantastic (and wonderful for query letters, I believe), but for writing, you can also totally educate yourself. I’ve been “colleging” myself ever since I finished high school. Because it was then that I really got serious about writing and studying the craft and taking the time to do it. And having the time to do it. If I was in college, I’d probably be too busy and tired to even bother with writing. I only have so much energy. I tire easily, I get really bad headaches, and writing is a lot of work. If I had classes all the time or a full job to go to every single day, I’d probably have to give up the very thing God gave me a passion for. For me personally, I can pursue my career better by having just a part-time job and not going to college.


Since I can’t be physically active all the time, but love people, I took up blogging and have the most spectacular circle of people in the world. Blogging and writing and socializing with my many blogging/writing/reading peeps brings me indescribable joy every single day.


Homeschooling was a huge blessing with my health problems as well. Not to mention just amazing! I made my very bestest friends via my homeschool group. (Because yes, we do actually *gasp* socialize.)


I still live at home because this is where I’m supposed to be right now. And where I want to be. I love my family. We’re all a support system for each other. Why would I leave the place I’m supposed to be because it’s “shameful” for a 25 year old to still be living with their parents?



In the world’s eyes, I do nothing but use most of my time sitting around on the computer. But being a writer is a fulltime job. (Which is a whole topic of its own and one I hope to write a post on very soon, so I won’t go into that…yet. *grins*) Like I said, I’m colleging myself (and, yes, we’re totally pretending “colleging” is a word, shhh). I am working toward a career.


Each person is different. We can’t follow a certain Life Pattern. And why would we even want to?


Go to college, don’t go to college. Get married young, get married later in life. Don’t get married at all. Have one kid, have twelve. Have a career, stay at home. Go out and be a missionary in a foreign country or reach people via a blog.


God has a specific and wonderful and amazing and adventurous and totally spectacular plan for YOU.


As you make those dreaded Life Decisions, shut out the world’s judgmental eyebrow raising and expectations of following a Pattern. Don’t make a permanent decision that you don’t even want to do just because the world pressured you into it. Seek out God’s expectations, His plans for you. However crazy they may seem.


Because it’s much better to hear God say “Well done, my good and faithful servant” and receive all the raised eyebrows in the world, than bending to the world’s expectations and having our Savior disappointed in us.

 

Whew! Okay, I know that was long and ranty. Buuut, this post was bound to show up eventually. It’s a rant my patient family has to hear at least weekly. I knew it’d appear on the blog sooner or later. (Really, I’ve kind of wanted to write this post since I started blogging… I don’t know why it took me so long.) But now I want to hear your thoughts! (Goodness knows you’ve had enough of mine.) Do you relate to this? Do we share any of the same struggles? Are you at a point where you’re making those Big Life Decisions? Or perhaps questioning your decisions because of the world’s judgy eyes? I would love to talk with you or pray for you if you need it. So share away in the comments!

41 comments:

  1. This was beautiful, Christine. And it's so true- regardless of what we think we should be doing with our lives, we should do what God calls us to. For me, I think that will be going straight to college and then into a full-time advocacy career, and while I want writing to be important, I think the work God has called me to devote the majority of my life to is something else. I'm getting ready to embark on an adventure that is the first step in that direction, and I can't imagine doing anything else with my future at this point. So... thank you for this post. Thank you for being brave enough to post it. Stuff like this is so important.

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    1. Awww, thank you, Faith! You're so precious. <3

      I absolutely love how you're pursuing exactly what you think God wants you to pursue. That is so beautiful and fantastic. I know He will bless you for following His path. I'm praying your new adventure will be wonderful!

      Thank YOU! You always encourage me! ^_^

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  2. Lauri I love you and this is the best post ever and thank you. <33333 I SO AGREE. I was recently feeling that "doubt" when asked about what I'm doing with my life or where I'm going to college and was floundering for answers. It's HARD to meet the raised eyebrow or even to just not know what you're supposed to do yet! I definitely don't have it figured out. But it's important to take the right road, not the one prescribed by society (unless that happens to be right for you. ;)). I love that you are embracing where you are and recognizing that it's where you need to be. And you are SO FAR from being a failure in my eyes! <333 You're amazing and I'm so glad to know you. THANK YOU for writing this post, because the world desperately needs to hear it and just yes I love it so much. THANK YOU! *all the hugs*

    (Also, that paragraph about how life is supposed to go, including "have only two kids and maybe one dog, raise your two children to be a doctor and lawyer respectively" = priceless. XD I'm laughing so hard. XDDD

    Also, also: I love your photography! <3)

    This post made my day. Thank you. ^_^

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    1. CELTI. Your comment is literally going to make me cry!

      It is so hard, isn't it? I just hate that PRESSURE society puts on you. Why is it so wrong to be a homeschooler and not go to college? We're not a hive mind. We CAN do things differently. And we also don't HAVE to have our entire lives figured out by the time we're 18. That's just ridiculous. It's okay to take a while to figure it out and try new things. I think it's GOOD. Because that way we'll discover what we like and don't like, instead of being stuck with something for the rest of our lives that we may discover we don't like. I absolutely love how you worded it, "But it's important to take the right road, not the one prescribed by society." Yes! Exactly. There is no set "prescription" for life. We all have different roads to take.

      Lol! It's so crazy, but I've literally come across a ton of people who seem to think that's the way everyone should live. I just...I don't understand. XD

      AGH. CELTI. I just can't with you!!! Your comment means the WORLD to me. Every bit of it. You're such an encouragement to me! <333333

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  3. It's definitely hard to answer those questions some times. I decided not to go to college, 1. because I had no interest in it and 2. because I didn't think it would be helpful at this time. I'm an artist and have taken many classes over the years, and I just wanted to be able to work on my own. Not to mention my brother and I are creating a board game, so you could say that my art is turning into a profession.

    Thanks for this post!
    ~Hannah~

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    1. YES. That was a big reason I ended up not going to college as well. I realized I could actually do better by NOT going to college. Obviously sometimes you need it, but why do you HAVE to go? There are soooo many career options that have no need for college.

      And oh my goodness, you're creating a board game? THAT IS SO AWESOME!!! I hope it all goes amazingly for you guys. I love how you're pursuing your dream like that!

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    2. I agree! If you're not pursuing a specific degree for something that you can't get a job without it, then it can just be a great drain on your money.

      Thank you! I hope it goes well too!
      ~Hannah~

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    3. Yes! Precisely! It consumes your life for 2 to 4 years (or even longer depending on what you're doing) AND puts you in debt. That's perfectly fine if you need a degree for something, but otherwise...why go through all that? I don't know. People's mentalities need to alter on this whole college thing. Haha.

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  4. Thank you Christine, for this post! I chose college because the jobs that I wish to go for require a degree.

    It's important to note that even if you do everything right by the Life's Pattern, you still won't be successful. I'm right now getting ready to go to graduate school, and I'm working on getting job experience, but I don't have a boyfriend either or have a clue where my next job will be once these temporary jobs stop. While I'm working my way up, I could come crashing down very easily.

    Our society has been so focused on material success, we have lost our focus on the Divine. Once people figure this out, I think it will go better for us young folks trying to make it out here.

    Catherine
    catherinesrebellingmuse.blogspot.com

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    1. That's exactly what college is for! If your career choice needs a degree, then you should DEFINITELY go to college! I love how you're pursuing your job choice like that. ^_^

      YES, YES, YESSS. That is SUCH a wonderful point! I don't think anybody in the world has a perfect life. That's why we must seek God and find our joy in HIM, instead of looking to worldly success for our happiness. Because that will only bring disappointment. I love how you worded it!

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  5. Thanks for this. I needed this right now. I took a similar path. I thought about college, but I also opted out because of mental health issues. (I didn't know it at the time, but looking back at the time I would have probably dropped out because I was under so much stress during my senior year because of familial drama.) Despite that I feel like I've been colleging myself too since I've studied the writing craft diligently. It's good to know I'm not alone.

    storitorigrace.blogspot.com

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    1. Awww, I'm glad it could be an encouragement.

      I absolutely think you've been colleging yourself! Honestly, girl, I am CONSTANTLY inspired by you and all the work you do. Between writing and blogging and working for magazines and just EVERYTHING. It inspires me to push farther with my own writing.

      You're doing absolutely amazing, Tori. Keep being your awesome self. <3

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    2. You are so sweet. You made me smile and maybe almost cry haha. *hugs*

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  6. That was beautiful, Christine! Basically summed up exactly how I have been feeling these last few months. *Bear hug* I hope you never let peoples opinions get you down, because you are AMAZING!!! You inspire me so much, your light just comes through in your blog and comments, and I feel privileged to know you ( even if it's online ;) )

    I look up to you, your love for God, People, and life. I hope to be as strong as you one day!

    Thank you for sharing this! <3

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    1. Okay, I am not even kidding when I say I was near to tears reading your comment. My eyes were literally stinging. Just...SKYYYYYE. It's people like you who keep me going and make my life so special. I feel so blessed to have you in my life!

      You are an absolute treasure, Skye. Don't you ever, ever change. <3333

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  7. Oh, Christine!!!

    *hugs you really hard*

    When you said about being a "Failure" my heart just broke for you. No! That is so wrong! YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE. DON'T EVER FEEL THAT WAY!! (I mean, I realize that you were saying you are a "failure" according to the world and that you don't believe that... THAT WAS KIND OF THE POINT OF THE WHOLE POST but still. Please don't believe that!!)

    This post resonated with me SO MUCH.

    Firstly, you are AWESOME. Keep doing your own thing, even if it is not the Cool, World's Thing. Your thing is so cool!! I mean, look at you!! You have become a mentor to smol beans like me!!! You convinced me to do NaNo!! I finished my first novel BECAUSE OF YOU!! You write books (which I want to read...)!! You are doing JUST FINE. More than just fine!! You are exactly where you are supposed to be, I'm sure of it.

    Okay??? Okay.

    Secondly, yes. Yes, yes, yes to all of it. Every word of this post. PREACH IT, SISTAH. I was homeschooled my entire life too. So I know exactly what you mean... about it being just a tiny bit awkward when someone asks you where you go to school (and EVERYONE does. What is with that anyway??? It's almost like ADULTS don't know what to say to KIDS and so just rely on the ole Where Do You Go To School Question. Ugh. We could talk about something ELSE, you know. Like have a regular conversation. #rantover) and the raised eyebrows and... I don't know, struggling to feel PROUD of being homeschooled??? I like being homeschooled, but it's hard not to be ashamed of it when people react that way, you know??

    And then, the college thing... Oh, man. Personally, I WANT to go to college. But still. SO MUCH PRESSURE IS PUT ON KIDS THESE DAYS TO GO TO COLLEGE. It's crazy!!! Like I said, I'm super excited about college. But if I told people I wasn't going??? I can only imagine the incredulous response!! Another thing that bothers me is that people expect me to have my whole life figured out and I'm not even a senior yet!! The FIRST thing someone asks you as a high school student is where you are going to college. Like... what if I don't know yet??? What if I'm not sure?? People act like that's not okay... And it is!! Everyone also seems to expect you to know what you'll be studying (and I do, but that's beside the point! We're teenagers... practically kids!! That's a LOT of pressure to put on someone so young. It can feel overwhelming. People need to back off a bit.)

    Anyway.

    I know I'm rambling but... your whole rant against the Stereotypical Life was just so SPOT ON. Thank you.

    *hugs you again*

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    1. AAAGGHHHH. GIRL. YOUR COMMENT. I JUST CAN'T. I don't even know what to saaaay. Just...THANK YOU!!! I do try to remember I'm not a failure. The doubts just like to show their ugly heads sometimes, and then God has to get a hold of me and pound into my stubborn skull that I'm right where He put me. And He uses precious people like you to remind me of that. <3 Just just just...you're gonna make me cry! It makes me ridiculously happy to know my silly little blog and silly little self actual does encourage sometimes. GAH. YOUR WORDS. <3333

      Why DOES everyone in the universe automatically ask you where you go to school? I mean, there are other conversation starters, people! And I soooo feel what you're saying about struggling to feel proud. YES. I AM proud to be a homeschooler. Very proud! Homeschooling is AMAZING. And yet people sometimes make me feel like I should be ashamed. What is that about??? Ugh. It's so annoying.

      Oh man, the college thing. Yesss. Going to college is fine. It's good! But not going to college is fine, too! People just...don't seem to grasp that concept. >.> And YESSSS. Why oh whyyyyy must we have our ENTIRE lives figured out by the time we're 17 or 18? I mean, if I had made permanent decision when I was 17, will my 50 year old self be happy? WHO KNOWS? We should be allowed to take some time to figure things out, to try new things. To fail and try again. We've got our whole lives ahead of us! Putting pressure on 18 year olds to make permanent decisions just...doesn't make sense to me.

      You should have written my post for me! Everything you said is my precise feelings on the subject! To quote you: PREACH IS, SISTAH.

      I just want to read your comment over and over. You're the best! *HUUUUGS*

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  8. Oh. my. word.
    I love this Christine. This was /amazing/.
    I feel like this is a huge thing that so many homeschooled girls struggle with. I have no plans to go to college (or university, as it is in Australia) and that makes for strange looks and also scornful looks a lot of the time. And although I don't normally struggle with this...there's still those times when it can be /hard/. There are always days when everything seems just so darn difficult and they're the days when we most need things like this post.
    The thing about today's world is that it's taking things like being a wife or a stay-at-home mother and saying that they're 'shameful' or 'worthless' and really that's exactly the opposite of what God tells us. And same with not going to higher education after school, or not leaving home, or SHOCK AND HORROR not even having a boyfriend. *gasps* And it's so so important to remember that this isn't the only way to do things. There is a far better way.
    And that way is God's way.

    *hugs this post* *hugs you as well* *goes and shares this on all four corners of the internet*

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    1. D'awwww, JANE. I'm so happy you enjoyed it! <3

      Yes, I 100% agree! In this day in age of being a "strong female", people expect us to go out and have hugely successful careers and things. But being a mother is the most important job in the world! How else will the world thrive if there aren't mothers? Making a strong, thriving home is how to strengthen the world, you know? And, come on, what takes more strength than raising children? Lol! I'm not saying we're all called to stay at home. I'm just saying we should NEVER be shamed for it if that's where God calls us to be.

      And now I'm just babbling. You put it beautifully!

      JANNNNNE. THANK YOU! You bless me so much!!! *hugs you back*

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  10. Thank you so much for this post, Christine! I'm going to be a senior in college this fall, and I'm kind of panicking a bit. It's mostly been a good experience so far, but now things are becoming more and more "real" to me. Like, now I actually have to make steps toward finding a job, and I'm a little unsure as to what particular area of media production I should explore more. I feel pressure to get an internship but can't motivate myself to actually write my resume. I get more and more anxious about when I'll find a girlfriend (and whether God is calling me to the married life at all). I worry that I'm not making the most of my time during this, my last real summer vacation.

    You get the picture. Anyway, from time to time I get beautiful reminders like your post to not worry about conforming myself to the world's pattern. I've already been doing that: I was homeschooled many years, I took a year off after high school, I stay far away from the party scene at a public university, I'm not involved in ten student organizations, etc. I have to keep being reminded that God is leading me through all this, and He'll continue to do so if I only let Him.

    I'm not really sure what my point is, but the main thing is thank you again for this post, and I humbly ask for you prayers as I discern day by day what God wants me to do with my life. I'll certainly pray for you! One last thing: a great bit of advice I received. If you're worried about anything at all, like a decision you have to make, or even just what to do with your day, just do the next right thing. Don't overwhelm yourself with the multitude of decisions further down the road. Whatever moment you're in, just focus on whatever the next right thing is. I hope that helps you at least as much as it's helped me!

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    1. Awww. I'm really glad you liked it, Maffles. ^_^

      You're going to be a SENIOR??? Wow, time flies! It seems like you just started college. That is awesome! But I can imagine the panic it brings, yes! That is definitely a huge time of transition--going to college to being through with college. And a time that I'm sure a lot of pressure is put on you. But don't rush into things because of the pressure! Take your time, explore the things you enjoy, seek out God's guidance. You have your whole life ahead of you! Just embrace this time of change to discover what you want to do next. ^_^

      You said it best! God is leading you through it all, and He always will. Yes! Perfectly put. I know He's so proud of you for following His ways and not the world's.

      Of course I'll be praying for you! I know this is such an important and impacting time in your life. You'll certainly be in my prayers. And that means so much that you'll pray for me. Thank you!

      Oh my goodness, that advice is...life changing! :O What a simple but utterly meaningful way to live. I LOVE THIS! THANK YOU!!! I will absolutely be remembering this. That's one of the best pieces of advice I've ever received.

      Keep shining for Jesus, Mattiford. ^_^

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    2. Time flies indeed -- side note, it's been 7 years now since PE started. Yikes. Anyway, thank you so much! I'll do my best. ^_^

      Thanks also for you prayers, and I'm glad you found the advice so helpful! I kind of want to make "do the next right thing" into a bumper sticker, lol.

      You too, Lauri. ^_^ And I look forward to more of your posts. :D Not sure when I'll be leaping back into my own blog, hopefully soon.

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    3. It HAS been 7 years, hasn't it? o.o THAT IS WILD. I need to pop over there and say hi sometime. I miss you guys!

      That would be the coolest bumper sticker! :D And now I want to put it on my wall or something. It's such a great quote!

      I've missed your blog. I'm so happy to hear you're still planning on going back to it. But take your time! I totally understand you're crazy busy right now! Haha.

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  11. This is SO. GOOD. I agree with you wholeheartedly! I'm close to graduating high school, and I've already been getting asked questions; What are you going to do after this? What's next? Where are you going for college? It gets old.

    This post just makes me so happy and makes me feel not so alone on this subject. ^_^ Thank you for posting this! <3

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    1. AWK. Thank you!!! I know it gets so tiring, yes! I graduated high school 7 years ago and I STILL get asked things like that! Does it ever end? Am I going to have to be 50 before I stop getting asked these awkward questions? *shakes head* It's silly.

      But you are definitely not alone! And most importantly, you have God to help you through this and guide you. It's so encouraging to know that even if the world thinks we're crazy, God is for us. ^_^

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  12. This is so awesome!!! I'm homeschool kid myself, so I know what you mean about weird looks - especially when you used to go with your mom to the store in the middle of the day and get a lot of "why aren't you in school" looks. #funtimes

    I love the points you made! God does often use people in crazy ways - I like the idea that one of them could be staying at home and writing. I have a chronic illness myself, so I get what you mean about health problems as well. I'd love to be out and doing stuff, but honestly? I can't. And I have to trust that God can use that!

    Amazing post!

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    1. Thank you!!!

      EEP. Fellow homeschooler! *fist-pump* But yessss, all those weird looks when going out. Boy do I remember those days!

      I'm so sorry to hear you have a chronic illness that often keeps you home as well. It can be so hard. But God can DEFINITELY use it for the good! Honestly, if I hadn't been unhealthy, I may have gone to college and pursued all sorts of things I wasn't supposed to. Because I have to live a quiet life, I took up writing, and have had time to put effort into it and discover it's what I want to do with my life. If not for having health issues, I may not have pursued it like I have. So I think my health problems have actually been a blessing in the long run, even though it's hard sometimes. So don't get discouraged. God knows exactly what He's doing, and I know He has amazing plans for you. ^_^ *hugs*

      Thank you so much! It makes me happy to know you enjoyed it!

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  13. Christine, this is beautiful!
    It really hits home, too. I'm no stranger to funny looks or altered tones of voice. However, I'm enjoying this path I'm on- it may be lonely, but it's scenic.

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    1. EEP. Think you, Blue!!!
      "It may be lonely, but it's scenic." <-- That needs to be hung on a wall or something! I'm so sorry you also deal with all the judgy-ness the world dishes out, but you have such a beautiful perspective! I love your outlook on life! ^_^

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  14. AMEN!!!!!! Thanks for this! You don't know how ENCOURAGING it is. <3333333

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    1. AWWWWW! YOU. <3333 I am SO happy it was encouraging. I really hoped I could encourage people with it, because I know this life we lead is hard. I think we all need a boost of encouragement now and again.

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  15. You're not a failure! *hugs* I totally get all the pressure though. I'm almost 23 and also in the no-boyfriend/no-dates category, and I'm pretty sure I worry less about this status than a lot of people who know me, hehe.

    I was homeschooled for most of my school career (including all of high school—and I loved it, which makes me even weirder, I guess), and there was still a huge stigma around homeschooling then. I have to say I'm proud of how differently people are viewing homeschoolers now though! I mean, homeschoolers are awesome! I also didn't go to college immediately after graduating, and I ended up not finishing due to life stuff. But sometimes that's how things go, and it's not a bad thing by default when things don't go according to plan! And there are so many opportunities to learn outside of the patterns. (And colleging is totally a word now.)

    Thank you so much for posting this! It was a much-needed encouragement. :) It is hard to not compare one's self to everyone else, or even to the standards and deadlines we set for ourselves. I know my life is no where what I would have imagined it to be when I was a little kid, or a teenager, and sometimes not even what I would have expected as a younger adult. But I'm learning to be okay with things not going as planned sometimes (because my plans definitely aren't always the best ones!). So, I'm trying to see the unexpectedness as a way to grow and challenge myself. I've a long way to go, but I hope I'm improving. :)

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    1. D'awwww! Thank you, Jameson! *hugs back*
      The world puts too much pressure on these things. It's just ridiculous. And I laughed out loud at what you said about you worrying less about your boyfriend status and such than other people do, because I feel the SAME. A lot of people in my life seem waaay more concerned about me getting married than I do. Lol! XD

      I loved homeschooling, too! It was suuuuch a blessing! Homeschooling is AMAZING. I don't get why we have such a bad rep. But it IS getting better, yes! Back in my young days, homeschooling was still kind of an unheard thing. But these days it's getting to be much more normal. Maybe a generation or two from now, homeschoolers won't get those raised eyebrows. ;D

      "... it's not a bad thing by default when things don't go according to plan! " <--YESSS. I love how you put that! We all have this specific plan laid out in our minds. But, really, God usually has BETTER plans for us, and sometimes it's GOOD when our plans fall apart.

      Awwww! I'm so happy it encouraged you. Seriously, that means so much to me. ^_^ And I know exactly what you're saying. My ten year old self very much imagined my 25 year old self as married with kids and a published author. Haha. But, you know, I'm happy where I am. I still have my whole life ahead of me. I LOVE how you said it--see the unexpectedness as a way to grow and challenge ourselves. YES. What a beautiful way to live!

      Thank you for your comment, Jameson. It blessed me! ^_^

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  16. It might not be advice that applies to you at all, but I know that I started getting far less headaches when I started drinking mostly water and increasing my overall liquid intake.

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    1. That's very good advice! I know drinking lots of water can help big time with headaches. But in my case that's not it. I drink so much water I'm probably going to drown. Lol! I pretty much 24/7 have a drink with me, and the majority of the time it's water. Lack if liquid intake is not something I suffer from. Haha.

      But thank you SO much for taking the time to offer some advice! That means a lot to me. ^_^

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  17. I'm a little late. . . but YES. See, I remember being home-schooled in a time and place where it wasn't normal, so our mom would try not to go to the store before three in the afternoon, because of course we'd be with her, and she told us "People will think you should be in school", and sometimes when we did have to go, people would say to us, "Oh, do you kids not have school today?" and we'd have to say "We're home-schooled." And the response did vary. Sometimes people would say "Oh, that's great!" and sometimes you could tell they were thinking "Where do these aliens come from?" But we were kids, so it didn't bother us much (I mean, any more than strangers-talking-to-us normally did). When we got older, though, we noticed it a lot more, and it never gets easier to say "Actually, I do have real school to do" on the five hundredth time.

    And then I grew up and went to college. Whoops. I thought I'd get a B. A. in Creative Writing, because though it's true that you can only learn so much about writing in class, and there's a lot you can only learn by trial and error, people can teach you some things. And I'd been writing alone, without much help or guidance or support, for several years, so there might be basic rules I didn't know existed. And on the first day of my first class the teacher said "Show, don't tell", which was the first I'd ever heard of it. So that kind of bore out my idea.

    Then as I went through college (I'll be a senior this fall) I found out that I'm actually a bit ahead of the program in some ways and I disagree with its foundations in others. At this point I'm finishing more for the people, and because I like to finish a thing I start, than for the classes.

    But at the same time I'm living at home and no love interest in sight. (Loads of boy friends, two words, not hyphenated, though ;)). And I come from circles where people in general, not just girls, usually don't go to college, and where they do get married. So I get a lot of raised eyebrows, from people who think I'm plain weird for being home-schooled and living at home on the one hand, and from other home-schoolers for going to college and not having any interested guys (although in a more friendly way). (And I actually didn't want to do college at first, just because so many people were assuming I would, and I don't like to do things just because everybody else does.)

    Well, that was long! Maybe I should just write a post of my own about this. I think home-schoolers tend to think about it more, because we're used to not following the expectations of the majority of the population.

    There's a funny family story about my dad pulling his math textbooks out the dumpster in eighth grade, because he planned to have a daughter named Sophia and home-school her, even though home-schooling was illegal where he lived (he also kept his second-grade spelling book). Crazy as the idea was at the time, it ended up being legal by the time I came along --- and then he had to win my mother over to the idea, which was probably harder!

    https://ofdreamsandswords.wordpress.com

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    1. We did the exact same thing! Because homeschooling wasn't as widely known or accepted (not that it's fully accepted now, but more so than a decade ago!) when we were younger, we'd try not to go out and about until later in the afternoon to avoid the awkward questions and raised eyebrows. Or have to explain that we can actually get school done early in the day and not have to do it all day long. Or, as you said, explaining that we do actually have real school work. Because "homeschooling" is NOT synonymous for staying at home doing nothing, people. >.> It's anything but!

      College is so confusing, because I know you can learn a LOT from it (I've considered taking some writing courses, and who knows, may still do it someday), but so many colleges also try to pound completely wrong ideas in your head. So I guess you just have to go in willing to learn but also sticking firm to your beliefs. I love your posts when you're talking about the wrong ideas they teach you in college, and how strong you are in your beliefs. You're an inspiration!

      It's true that homeschoolers all kind of have our own "Life Pattern" as well for each other. Why can't we all just realize every person has a different life? That God has different plans for each of us? I don't know. The human race is just in general too hard on each other. Lol.

      I would loooooove for you to write a post on the subject! :D That'd be awesome!

      Oh my goodness! That is so cool about your dad. How precious his plans of having a daughter named Sophia and homsechooling her came true. What a blessing! And even more of a blessing that homeschooling became legal. God is good! ^_^

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  18. Thank you for this post. Wow, you hit everything spot on.

    I had my life pattern planned out perfectly when I was six. And God looked at it, probably shook His head at my stupidity, and rearranged everything into what turned out to be perfection for me.

    I completely understand the homeschooler dilemma. I hated having to answer that yes, I really did go to school; no, I didn't (always) do school in my pjs; yes, I could still have friends (even though I really didn't have any close friends outside my siblings); and yes, I really did love being homeschooled. Homeschool, IMHO, was basically the best thing ever. In the easier grades, I was able to teach myself as I went along (in certain subjects) so oftentimes I would get up at 6am and have all of my schoolwork done before lunch... sometimes even before breakfast. Did I learn? Well, I'm pulling a pretty good average here in college, so I think that settles the question.

    My plan/life pattern was set up very similarly to how yours is typed out. Instead, God set up this one: graduate early from highschool, wait three years, have no full-time job, work part-time with my dad on and off, finally get to go visit college after pretty much vowing never to go, attend college with a major that I hadn't planned on, and get married between my junior and senior years. I have no idea what God has in store for me, but I know I can trust Him because He is good and He knows what's best for me. That doesn't always mean that I DO completely trust with every circumstance that comes my way (I'm still learning that lesson). The only parts of my plan that actually came true were writing and working in a library (although not the original library I'd planned on).

    But making these decisions and learning to follow the Lord's leading... wherever that may be. It is tough. People won't understand. I've had criticism from both sides of the spectrum where people have questioned why I didn't go to school immediately out of high school or have a regular full-time job when I turned 18. People have also given me the rant on why I shouldn't be in college. There's nothing wrong with being above 18 and being still at home. Honestly for me, I think it was smarter for me to be older still with my parents. And the food was a whole lot better, too! Just saying. ;)

    Ok, I gotta get before I really get on my soapbox. Thanks again, friend, for this!! :)

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    1. Okay, your comment just MADE. MY. DAY.

      Oh my goodness, I was the saaaaame! Well, I was probably closer to 9 when I had everything planned. XD But I totally planned to go to college, be a published teen author, be married by the time I was 22 (no clue why I had 22 in my brain, I just always thought that's when I would get married, lol), have like four kids before I was 30, and live happily ever after. As you said, I'm pretty sure God shook his head at my plans. XD

      Soooo much yes to the homeschooling thing! Having to answer all the questions--yes I actually do school, no I don't do it in my PJs all the times, yes I socialize plenty--gets so tiring. Ugh. Homeschooling WAS the best thing ever. I've always said it's one of the BIGGEST blessings in my family's life. And oh man, I looooved doing school early and getting done before lunch. Those days were the BEST. Hehe.

      I just looove how God setup your life so beautifully! And isn't it fun when He leads us to do things we never EVER planned to do. That's always the best. XD Goes to show He ALWAYS knows better. But it is hard sometimes to remember to give Him the reins! Something I have to work on a lot...

      Why are we humans so hard on each other? We seem to forget that we're each different and each have different lives. We can't all live the exact same way! How would that even work? Not going to college or going later is fine. Living with your parents is fine. (And yes, has the benefit of better food. ;D) If it's God's will, who are we to judge each other?

      I think it's so beautiful how you're following God's plan, and how He's making such a wonderful story of your life. Keep being amazing, girl! <333

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