Written by Kiersten Houseman studying in Brazil. Kiersten is a senior at the University of Georgia studying International Affairs and Communications. She can frequently be found doing handstands, talking about Harry Potter, and/or dancing.
The last few weeks of my trip have been a time of slowly falling into the rhythm of life in Floripa. My 6 day trip to Bahia with my friend Elena, acted as a sort of catalyst towards adjusting to life here. I am very thankful that I seem to have moved past the culture shock that I was experiencing, but I am now painfully aware of how quickly my time will go. Now that I am “adjusted” to the new world around me, I have to be intentional about not wasting time. This attitude of “seizing the moment” is something that I hope I don’t forget when I return to the States. That being said, I want to share with you a very special thing that God has been teaching me.
After traveling to Bahia, and going non-stop for about a week, I was worn out. I needed time to sleep, refocus, and do something that the kids like to call “homework.” (Yes, I am actually attending classes, and occasionally have homework to do). I was very intentional about staying home for the weekend, and getting all my ducks back in a row again. Over the course of the weekend, I took time to think about what I wanted to experience and get out of my time here, how I could improve my Portuguese, dreamed about Holla Atcha Girls Weekend, FCA, and what I might want to do when I graduate. I was trying to plan and prepare–whether that be for the coming months in Floripa, or when I return to Athens. It was during this time of resting and reflecting that God said something very clearly to me. In the similar nature that a parent might try to communicate to a child who just won’t settle down, I felt like God was desperately trying to gain my attention. In my mind, God placed his hands on my shoulders, got on my level, looked me straight in the eyes and said:
Listen, Kiersten: You have been running around non-stop for the past 21 years. But I have a gift for you. I have given you an opportunity that you would have rejected otherwise. I need you to slow down, and sit still for 5 months. It’s that simple. Just wait. I am doing a work in you, and I am preparing you. Oh, and I am also doing things that are far bigger than you.
Truth be told, I really didn’t know what to do with this. However, after a little bit of processing, here’s what I have come up with.
God wants me to chill.
SAY WHAT?! (In my mind I have a very clear mental picture of my parents sitting in our living room, my mom reading this post to my dad, and my dad responding, “Glad I’m paying for her to relax.” I know that he actually would be happy to know that, but he would respond that way anyways).
Yes, I think that God wants me to spend my time here just drinking in His goodness. Actually, I think He wants me to do that always. But being in Floripa, I kind of feel that I am in a bubble. A tropical island bubble 🙂 During my senior year of high school, I was one of very few people that was not stressed about what college I was going to go to. I had a boyfriend whom I had no intention of breaking up with, good but not great grades, and I had applied to only one school in-state. I had every reason to be panicking like everyone else. My whole life was about to change, the future was so uncertain, and surely there were more schools I needed to visit and apply to. But I just sat and waited.
As I spend half of my senior year in Brazil, away from the people that I love, organizations that I have poured into, and the exhilaration of SEC football… I can feel God whispering to me, “just be still.” I have no idea what I am going to do when I graduate, and I am not saying that I am going to check out of reality while I am here. But I am confident that God wants me to approach the next chapter of my life the same way I approached entering college: With laughter, trust, and saying yes when the right doors open.