Giving Thanks in the Harvest Season | Fellow Kat Gray '16

As an underclassman, I idyllically pictured spring semester 4th year as being the pinnacle of my time at UVA. The magnolia by the Rotunda would be blooming, classes would be held outside, and our friends would spend all of our time together doing fun activities because, who does school work as a 4th year? While this semester has not been exactly how I pictured, it has been an incredible time that has shown me God’s faithfulness over the last four years as many things come to fruition. We are about to receive the degrees we have spent years laboring over, we have job offers and graduate school acceptances, and the upcoming year is filled with many more exciting prospects. It has been a privilege to genuinely and fully celebrate these gifts with my friends!  We are reminded that God is “steadfast in love and faithfulness” (Psalm 86:15) as all of the working parts of our earlier life miraculously fit together to propel us into the real world post-college.

As much as I hate to admit it, in the midst of celebration, I can’t help but feel a little bit of self doubt in my heart. When I heard that I was accepted into the graduate program I wanted, it was so easy to offer thanks to God and feel excited about that next stage of life! But now, as friends accept jobs in all corners of the world and receive offers from fantastic graduate programs, my prospects for the coming year seem much less exciting. How do I quiet this voice in my head telling me to compare? Not only am I diminishing the many blessings God has poured into my life, but I am letting fear rule me when I should really be living into the truth that God has set me free from fear. I fear that I am not good enough to live up to my friends’ accomplishments. I fear that I will not be content with my future. I fear that I am not living up to my full potential—but none of this is true!

So how do I truly give thanks when I have these jealous thoughts filling my head? I am lucky enough to have housemates who intentionally gather together every other week to talk through these things, and I have a wonderful core group where I am reminded of how to live into God’s truth. I have caring organizations on and off Grounds that seek to remind me of where I find my value. Even when I have these thoughts poking through in my head, God does not allow me to be swallowed up in the lies that I am not good enough. He equips me and reminds me of his plan for me and allows for me to celebrate during this happy life transition. So, as I live out the last five weeks I have here at Mr. Jefferson’s University, I continue to give thanks to God for all that he continues to give me and for the beautiful things he has planned for my future.