What God's Been Teaching Me // Summer 2017

SUMMER 2017 IS COMING TO A CLOSE. And can I just stop and take a moment to say something? It's been one of the HARDEST summers ever. It's also been one of the BEST summers ever. (funny how God does that sometimes)

This summer, I grew a lot. I laughed a lot. I cried a few times. I turned 18, so now I'm all ready to start adulting. (hahaha... not)

But the main thing I did this summer is LEARNED. I learned about God and life and the Bible and writing and growing up. I learned about SO MUCH that I'm taking the time to share with you a few things God taught me this summer.

Just be warned, because I might ramble? I also might not. You guys probably never really know with me, but the truth is I TYPICALLY DON'T KNOW EITHER. XD So. We'll see how this turns out.





I think the main theme of this summer has been relationships. (just... don't read anything into that word, please and thank you.) I've learned SO much about being discerning in my relationships that I could probably write a whole post about it, but I'll just hit on a few of the highlights: 

- A relationship with God = the MOST important relationship. Prayer is critical to maintaining this relationship; it's not enough to just read your Bible for a few minutes. You have to talk to God if you want a strong relationship with Him, just like you normally have to talk to PEOPLE if you want to have close relationships there. 

- After God and family, church relationships should take priority. Even if there's no one your age in your church, you can still have relationships as long as you make it a point to TALK TO PEOPLE. A great way to serve in the church is to find an elderly church member and just sit down and talk to them. They'll get a blessing out of it, and you will also! :D DO NOT be afraid to engage someone in conversation just because they're significantly older than you. 

- It's okay to have a small circle of friends. It's also okay for your small circle of friends to not include many people your age. As a teen, I LOOOVE hanging out with people my age, and it was hard to come to grips with the fact that maybe God (and my parents lol) have me elsewhere right now. It's STILL hard sometimes. Occasionally I get lonely and discouraged and forget to be grateful for what I do have. 

And I could legit write a whole post about that if I wanted to spill my guts even further. WHICH I DO NOT LOL. That teensy little section was already hard enough to write. XD But that leads up to another big thing I learned. 

Vulnerability is normally... healthy. 

This summer, I ended up in at least one incredibly hard situation. It was... bad. I didn't cry, I sobbed. But I ended up doing the sobbing in front of someone who's not related to me. (WHAAAATTTT.) I definitely didn't WANT to, and I'm maybe still a little bit embarrassed about it, but it was a good thing for me. 

I learned that it's okay to open up to people. They can help you. I don't like showing weakness and I'm TERRIBLE at handling emotional things. For ages I had this delusion of being able to internalize through all my problems, but that doesn't always work. Sometimes you just have to talk to someone about it. AND IT'S OK TO CRY. (I know same that shocked me also) 

And apparently I still need to work on this vulnerability thing because idek if I'm going to post this post. I'M OVER HERE LIKE: Is this all too personal?

But yeah. Anyways. That's all I have to share at the moment- I was going to write a bunch more but my thoughts are jumbling together inside my brain and not coming out how I want them to. SO. YOU GET A SHORT POST TODAY. Maybe I'll do a sequel to this at some point? We'll see what happens. 


So what about you guys? Anything you learned this summer? 

~ Jonathan 


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54 comments:

  1. yess I definitely know what you mean about being taught about vulnerability + family/platonic relationships. It kinda sucks but I guess it's productive?? xp

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    1. Okay PHEW glad I'm not the only one then. xDD It can be kinda hard but I'm okay with that as long as I finally get whatever it is God's trying to show me. :D

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  2. Dude. I'm glad you shared this post because...it's actually really encouraging. I feel like all these amazing blogger people have it together so much more than me, and I'm over here feeling like I'm breaking.
    So....yeah. I dunno. I just really appreciated this post. <3

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    1. Ahhh okay good that makes me feel less nervous about posting semi-personal things in the future. I'm really glad you got something out of this though. :D

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  3. I LOVE this post! I've gone through a lot of the same things this summer...a lot of growing closer to God and working on relationships with friends and family. :)

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    1. AW THANKS! I'm glad other teens can relate to this.

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  4. I'm in the process of still learning that I can't change the past and I can only move forward. There are things I wish I did sooner. I might even do a post about it because, like you said, being vulnerable can be healthy.

    I can relate to this post soooo much, so thank you for this. I needed it. And the whole adulting thing is overrated. My birthday was in the summer also and I still don't mentally feel like I'm 18. Its a weird transition time of trying to figure out what to do. I wish you luck.

    And yes, its okay to cry because sometimes we all need to. I try to internalize a LOT, too.

    Great post. You hit it on the head.
    God bless you! :D

    ~Ivie
    iviewrites.blogspot.com

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    1. OKAY IT'S OFFICIAL. Teens need to post more about what they're learning! That sounds like a great post and I'd looove to read it. :D

      You turned 18 this summer also? *high fives* We can both try and figure out this adulting thing together. xD I DON'T FEEL 18 EITHER HONESTLY. It is a weird transition time, but it's good to know that if God's on your side, you can embrace the future without fear or uncertainty.

      Hehehe yes it definitely is, and we all need to... every once in a while, at least. xD

      Thanks! You too, Ivie!

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  5. I feel you, man. Lots of hard stuffs has been going down, but especially the relationship with God point...*claps*

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    1. DEFINITELY. Especially when the hard stuff /is/ happening, that's when it's even more important to stay focused on God. :D

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  6. Way to go for being open! I agree, vulnerability is hard. It's hard online, it's hard in person. But like this post, it often ends up encouraging someone! ^_^

    Small circle of friends: I hear you! That was me for a long time. Still is, really. But I've learned a lot during lonely times.

    Adulting: yaaaay, welcome! XD It's simultaneously crazier and less crazy than you'd expect. (How's that for cryptic?) But I still feel 16 half the time. I think we expect to feel all put together once we reach 18 or 20 or whatever, and when we discover WE ACTUALLY AREN'T...well, that's either scary or frustrating or perplexing. XD Anyway, join the club.

    This summer I learned another lesson in working hard, but also the importance of rest. And Realm Makers was an experience that taught me I can do more than I think I can.

    Here's to a great autumn!

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    1. Thanks! YES SAME IT'S JUST LIKE ALWAYS HARD. I'm glad this encourages you though! I kinda just set out to ramble a little bit but it's cool how God can use even rambles.

      *nods* For me, I've sort of gone from having a bigger circle of friends to having a tiny one. xD Which is okay? I've learned a lot also.

      Thaaanks. (I think xP) Okay I'll just take your word for it and not overthink that statement haha. OKAY SAME THOUGH. It's like everything's supposed to click into place once you turn 18, right? And then you turn 18 and you figure out that's not actually what happens. I HOPE THIS CLUB IS FUN THOUGH BECAUSE I AM IN FOR GOOD NOW.

      Ahhh yeah isn't that balance so hard? It's so easy to either be lazy or become a workaholic. I'm still working on that also.

      Yess bring it on, autumn! WE ARE READY. :D

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  7. what did I tell you? You can/should write lifestyle posts

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    1. Naaaah this isn't really a lifestyle post though, it's more of a Christianity post. *sage nod* Me writing lifestyle posts = awkward.

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  8. This is an encouraging post, Jonathan! I'm learning similar things- though some lessons take me a little longer than others.

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    1. Thanks! SAME. Learning is like that- there's not really a process or a time period to go with it. :D

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  9. Whoa, I really relate to everything you said. I just kind of swallowed hard at one point because ouch that was me this summer. And yes keep sharing, don't be scared...I know it's incredibly tough to do it but one thing I've realized through being honest and vulnerable is finding I am definitely not alone.

    God Bless you Jonathan and trust me your posts about your relationship with God have inspired me beyond measure so keep it up *nodnod* And O_O I feel you on growing up, here me at seventeen I feel like going back to being a little kid again. For the first time in my short life I don't want to advance...

    If God is for us then who can be against us? right? << This is what I need to remind myself again and again, so easy to forget that.

    Anyway great post Jonathan and don't stop sharing honestly! You are a light...it's easy to think only girls share their feelings but nah guys can too and they should. ;) Hope you have a great September.


    Anna | www.worldthroughherheart.blogspot.com

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    1. Ahhhh thanks so much Anna! Your comment is super encouraging and I'm so glad you can relate to some of this. :D I'm a little humbled that God used my posts like this to inspire you. LIKE WHOA. Such a strange and awesome thought all at once...

      Haha yes guys definitely have feelings to... we just have less of them and they come in less variety for us. *sage nod* xDDDD Hope you have a great September also! Fall weather is coming fast :D

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  10. This was a really good post, and one that I needed to hear this morning. You say that it felt too personal, but I think that was part of what made it so encouraging and helpful. Those are two areas that I'm struggling (or, have been struggling) with now, and it helped to read this.
    Being vulnerable - even among family - is really hard for me, and I feel the need to just close myself off, often even after I'm alone. But yo're right - it's good to be able to open up.
    Haha - congrats on becoming a legal adult! Have fun with adulting. ;)

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    1. Thanks! I'm glad it could help you out a little.
      SAME. Even among family vulnerability can be hard. *nods* I definitely feel you there. :D
      I WILL DO MY BEST. XD

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  11. THIS IS SUCH A GREAT POST.

    I feel you on the small friend group thing. It can be hard. But I think it kind of helps to develop the relationships that you do have, yknow? Because if your attention isn't split in a thousand directions, you can really cultivate particular relationships. And vulnerability is SO HARD. I still suck at it, haha. BUT IT'S SO IMPORTANT GAH. So definitely something to work on.

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    1. THANKS YOU'RE TOO NICE XD

      *nods* Yeesss oh my goodness that's such a good point. I think that's one of the reasons I like small churches better than big churches- it's easier to get to know everyone. VULNERABILITY IS IMPORTANT. Well if it helps I'm working on it also (as are a bunch of other people leaving comments haha) so WE'RE IN THIS TOGETHER. XD

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  12. I LOVE this! Yeah, I agree, being vulnerable is hard. It's hard to open up and let people in. Instead, I'm usually like, "Conceal don't feel, don't let them know" (line from Let it Go from Frozen). But I'm learning more and more that being vulnerable can help sometimes.

    What did I learn this summer? Well, I think it was more a realization. I don't know if you read the blog post I did a couple weeks ago about how a lot of things have changed over the summer, but in it, I shared this realization. Since I turned 18, things have been changing, and they've continued to do so. But this summer, I realized that everything is going to change (eventually) whether I want it to or not. And even though, things will change, there is one Person who won't, and that is God. God is the one constant in my life, and He will NEVER change. :)

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    1. *is literally singing Let it Go now* Ugghhh Karyssa now look what you've done. xD

      Hmmm... did I read that post? I'm pretty sure I did because I read all your posts but I'll go stalk you just to make sure mwahaha. xD WOW OKAY THAT'S SUCH A LESSON FOR 18-YEAR-OLDS THOUGH, RIGHT? Because that's when everything starts to change. It's great to know God always stays the same though. :D

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  13. Oh, gosh. I've learned SO MUCH this summer, it was pretty hard for me, too--one of my best friends decided to give up on our relationship--and it felt impeccably long. And believe me, it was EXHAUSTING. I cried a lot, which is weird because I'm not a big crier, and actually ended up basically sobbing in front of someone unrelated to me as well (basically because it was over the phone but whatevs :P).
    I've learned so so so much about self-confidence (i used to be super super shy because i thought everyone hated me. still working on that one, as Realm Makers showed XD). I've also learned a lot about relationships (not romantic hahahah im not ready for that), and trusting that God will bring me to the right people, and if it doesn't work out with someone, He's got a reason.

    And somehow I got a lot better at talking to people I don't know?? I don't know how that happened ??

    But I'm so glad that this has been a summer of learning--for you and for me. God really does know what He's doing <3

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    1. COOL. I'm so sorry one of your closest friends decided to end your relationship though. D: That's tough. If it helps, oftentimes broken relationships CAN be a God thing. *nods* I'm not saying they always are or that this particular incident is, but God can definitely work there.
      WAIT EVERYONE DOES NOT HATE YOU THOUGH. D: D: D: D: D: D: D: D: D: YOU'RE SO MUCH FUN. Self-confidence can be a tough balance though, I'll pray for you.

      Hey but that's always good, I think? (DON'T TALK TO CREEPY STRANGERS THOUGH XD)

      Same. God's definitely got this one. :D

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    2. No it's all right. It honestly was for the best--in this instance I knew it was a God thing ;)

      WELL I don't think everyone hates me as much now, but that makes me feel better. So thanks XDD

      LOL I WON'T xP

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  14. WOW. This was just...awesome, Jonathan. Thank you for sharing :) And I can totally relate. This year was so...interesting. I think Satan's force has been extra strong this year. And this might sound awful, but I mean it in the best way possible :P I was kinda glad to read this and find out I wasn't the only one in the whole wide world who struggled with relationships this year. One relationship for me just went completely downhill and there was just so much confusion and tears and just utter HELPLESSNESS. There was one time I just cried an entire week...I was so traumatized. But God really showed His strength through it all. And I can say that I'm definitely walking away wiser.

    Again, thank you for posting this. (you really should do more of these ;))

    God bless!

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    1. Thank you! Glad you can relate to this.

      Like I said in the above comment, God can DEFINITELY use broken relationships to protect us and helps us mature. (or, like you mentioned, show us His strength through it all.)

      Thank /you/ for reading and commenting! :D

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  15. Wow I'm commenting and there isn't more comments than there is actual post this time! I AM SO EARLY, YESS!!
    Not sure exactly why that's exciting... BUT IT IS.

    You are so right!!! Our relationships with God are so so important. I have been realizing that a lot lately too. I've also been realizing that in order to have a deeper relationship with God we have to know OURSELVES as well as Him. (at least for me.) I need to know WHO I am in order to offer that to God.
    And it's really hard, you know? God, life in general. This whole big thing we call Love.
    But God is so gracious. He is merciful and patient and really really amazing, and He WANTS a personal relationship with every single one of us His children. That's why he died for us.
    #mindblown
    How is our God so amazing and yet I still can't trust Him fully all the time?

    Ugh engaging ANYONE in conversation is hard for me, but you are right. It's important to have friends in people who believe the same things you do, and even more important if they happen to be older and wiser in the things of God.

    This summer, my family and I went down to Louisiana to visit our friends. This was one of the first times I've ever had a group of friends and it was awesome. I had some friends older than me, a few younger, and we all had some shared experiences so we really got along. It was great, until we left. Now I have no friends in the same state as me, and it's hard.
    I guess that's what the blogging world is for, huh? XD
    But God really is so good, and I know He has a plan for me even if I can't understand.

    You know, as sorry as I am that you had to be that upset about something, that really is a powerful lesson to learn. It really is okay to be vulnerable sometimes. And I hardly know you, but I really am proud of you. I feel like that is a lesson guys especially have a hard time learning. It's okay to cry. It's okay to open up and tell people what you are feeling. It's okay to get all personal on your blog because you know what? We are going to stand by you. NO matter what you do, or how terrible life seems, you have friends who are always ALWAYS going to be there for you in the thick and the thin.
    I know what it's like to be vulnerable and feel pathetic and cry in front of other people. I know what it's like to feel alone.
    Don't forget that whatever the circumstances, whatever the trial, God has you in His hands. He is holding you safe next to His heart, and He will never, ever, ever let you fall.

    And don't forget to remind someone else of that. Because it's true for all of us.

    YIKES. Would you look at me, preaching to the choir! I'm sorry I rambled on so!
    Anyway, this was a fabulous post.
    TO answer your question really quick there is something I learned this summer: If you see a person struggling with a heavy load or something, JUST ASK IF THEY NEED HELP. Golly gee, it's not going to kill you to be nice.
    (I am NOT talking about you, btw. Just making a statement. XD)

    ~Esther

    scribblingpencils.blogspot.com

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    1. AAHHH THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS COMMENT. Just... thanks. It's so awesome and thought-provoking and I think you should definitely do your own post about this sometime soon. *nods* :D

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  16. This was an awesome post - I think it's awesome that you were so open on your blog. I know it's a hard thing to do, but it really does get easier the more you do it. ;)
    God has been teaching me a lot lately, too and it's a really exciting and crazy journey. :)
    Also, Happy (probably very late) Birthday! Welcome to adulthood. XD
    ~Jaclynn~

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    1. Thank you. :D IT IS HARD OMW but you're right- I think it does get easier the more you do it.
      Thanks haha. (pfftt only a few months, not that late. xP)

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  17. I know from experience that it's hard not having many friends your age. But (just judging by the length of the comments section ;P) you have a HUGE circle of internet friends, so maybe your friends balance out a bit?
    (That doesn't really make sense... I'm not making light of the importance of real-life relationships, but there are many people your age who will support you online. Is that any better?? [...and I call myself a writer... *rolls eyes*])

    I'm also glad to know that guys have feelings too! (but I'm sorry you went through that...)

    And yes - we young people should talk to elderly people! They can be quite lonely, I believe, which is sad to think about.

    Jem Jones

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    1. ONLINE FRIENDS ARE DEFINITELY GREAT ALSO. XD I totally get what you're saying- while it's true that internet friends aren't the same as real life relationship, they can still be awesome and super encouraging.

      RIGHT? I didn't know I had feelings either until... this year-ish. :P (I think maybe the end result was good, so that's a plus)

      AGREED. *high fives* Thanks for commenting, Jem!

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  18. Thanks for this. I am a total people person, with a lot of friends, and sometimes I get too dependent on other people. Also, about vulnerability - you are so, so right! Even as an extrovert, it is HARD to open up to other people about what's going on. Even family. Thanks for posting this!
    Brianna Adara

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    1. SO AM I. I love talking to people! *high fives* I'm glad I'm not the only extrovert who struggles with vulnerability. :D Thanks for reading!

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    2. Yeah, I can be "vulnerable" about how much classwork I have or how bad my headache is, but anything more than that . . . *runs in terror*

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  19. As everyone has said, this is a post we all needed to read. I think especially what you said about church relationships. Church is the body of Christ, we're a family. It's important to invest in those relationships. It's important to set an example for the little kids, it's important to be a leader among those your age, and it's important to listen to those older than you.
    Vulnerability is also super important. I've be learning that as I start my second year of college. We need to be transparent sometimes and open up to those around us. It can do us a world of good. We have to encourage each other, and that can't always take place if we're closed up.

    Thanks for sharing this :)

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    1. Thank you! YES SO TRUE. I've been in church my whole life and I'm just now learning that for myself.
      Absolutely. Opening up to the right people is almost always a good thing. *nods*

      Thanks for your thoughts! :D

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  20. Jonathan, you are a mature young man! You are loved by your parents. You are loved by your siblings. You are loved by your church body. I am happy you decided to post this. You are an encouragment to others. ❤️Mom

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  21. Ahh this is such a good post. I feel like looking back over my life there have definitely been some summers where I look back and it's like WOW God you worked in me so much.

    one of my teachers always likes to say that life is based on relationships, and this post just reminded me of that :) Thanks for sharing this post!

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    1. Thanks! AHH IKR SAME FOR ME. That was DEFINITELY summer 2017 for me.

      Thanks for commenting, Autumn!

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  22. Okay, so I was just writing a comment and IT DISAPPEARED ON ME. I don't know if some of it published or what. ANYWAYS...

    I loved this post. I could relate to everything you said. This summer has definitely been hard for me. I lost two of my best friends which was not easy. My family also just moved states and just about everything in my life has changed. ( and haha, I am NOT good at change. I'm working on it though, I promise ;) I started getting really depressed right before we moved. I won't get into it but it was a hard time for me. I feel like I've come out as a stronger person though, and that God has taught me a lot.

    I also love what you said about having a small group of friends. I've realized that I rather have a few really close friends, than a lot of "friends."

    Okay, I promise I'll stop talking now. ;) I've been following along with your blog for awhile now, but I've never really had the chance to comment because you know #life. Just thought that I'd officially drop in for a minute and hi lol

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    1. OH MY GOODNESS I HATE THAT. XD Sometimes my computer will do the same thing and it's really strange? I have nooo idea how to fix it though haha. I'm thinking it might have something to do with a weak wifi connection but I'm not sure.

      Thanks! I'M NOT A FAN OF CHANGE EITHER. I didn't move though or lose any best friends. D: That's rough. I'm so glad God used all of that in your life though!

      SAME. It's better to have a few people who always have your back then to have a bunch of people you can never count on.

      NO YOU'RE GOOD. :D I like long comments, even if it takes me forever to reply to them haha. I'm glad you stopped by and commented then! I love meeting stalkers xD

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  23. Hey Jonathan, did you get the email I sent you in the contact form a few days back?

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    1. YES AND NO. My contact form didn't send me your email but yesterday I checked the analytics and found it on my own. Headed to reply now!

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  24. I just found your blog, and I love your writing style! It's fantastic. To be honest and personal makes for a vibrant post. The truth here was perfect. I'm looking forward to reading more of your posts. :)

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