If I could go back and tell my freshman year self one thing, I would say, “You were not meant to do this alone.” I walked through my first two years of college by myself. I suppressed hard and difficult things in the deepest places of my heart and didn’t let anyone in. I dug deep wrenches between friends, family, and myself. Even when one of the most traumatic events of my life happened sophomore year, I ran away from people and refused to let others carry my burdens even when they wanted to. I clung to the lie that this whole college thing could be done through my own strength, intelligence, and desire to persevere.
It wasn’t until I was eating dinner with a dear friend and found myself crying over brokenness and wounds from years ago, or until I sat in Director of Health Services Brock Lutz’s office for the first time that I realized I couldn’t do it alone. The burdens of this world are too great. I crumbled under the weight of it all. It was then that I learned to say, “I am struggling. I need help.”
Right now asking for help looks like this: Every morning I drag myself out of bed and pray on my knees. Asking for help means sucking up my pride and walking into Brock’s office each week to seek wise counsel, ask and be asked hard questions, and allow someone to pray over me. It means going to my friends and allowing them to carry my burdens and receive love from them in new and familiar ways.
I have found so much freedom and life as I learn to be honest with myself and seek help from God and the community he has given me. But I am not going to lie — it is a challenge every day to combat my self-sufficient tendencies and instead learn how to accept love. Thankfully, amidst this pain, I’ve come to understand what the psalmist wrote in Psalm 121: “I lift up my eyes to the mountains — where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”
Help only comes from asking. Help cannot come from within — it forces us to look elsewhere.
To my fellow students: Do not collapse under the belief that you can do this thing called life alone. Do not believe the lie that you don’t need anyone. Accept love from others and ask for help. You were not meant to do this alone; you were made for community.