You blink once, and then you’re old. 

I’ve never been good at staring contests, and so I find myself quite aghast at the recent realization that I’ve almost been out of college for a year now. I’m not quite sure how that even happened–and I feel old even saying such a trite phrase. But it’s true.

Because just over a year ago, I was eagerly accepting my college diploma, smiling for photos, and nervously anticipating the first day of my new job. I was such a kid! 

And yet, I can’t say I feel all-the-wiser after 12 months in the “real world.” I still call my dad to ask about insurance questions and I still have posters hanging in my room. I’ve yet to date anyone, and my opinion of singleness drastically varies depending on the day of the week. I’m still such a child.

Celebrating graduation with my grandma.
Three out of four of my siblings.

But the oddest thing occurred to me recently. Throughout this beautifully difficult year, I’ve been consoled by many individuals that “the first year out of college was the hardest year I’d ever experienced (RELATED: What I Wish Someone Had Told Me About the First Year Out of College).”

In many ways, that declaration has been a sweet balm over my anxious heart. Now, it looms like a deadline in the wintry haze of December. It seems as if my time is almost up.

Wouldn’t it be lovely if I wake up on December 17 and see the world in a brand new way?No longer plagued by loneliness or inadequacy or the fearful desire to control. No longer newbie-adult-Hannah.

So, in many ways, it feels like I’m about to run out excuses. I’m almost a sophomore adult and I’m still struggling in many ways. But can I tell you something? I think I’m learning to struggle well.

This whole year has been a confusing mess of trying to learn. I’ve learned to initiate, to trust, to ask questions, to own up to consequences. I’ve learned about myself– my stressors, my weaknesses, my sinful tendencies. I feel like I deserve another degree, or something, after all this learning! 🙂 

But the most important thing I believe I’ve learned, is how to struggle well.

For a while, I didn’t really fight. I let anxiety take over and dictate how I was going to live. I isolated and hid and told the world I was loving life. But God began to break that prideful spirit. After many months of empty, surface-level time with God, I began to press in. I started craving Him again, asking Him to fill the loneliness and combat the severe anxiety. I asked Him to help me open up to others, to not be so afraid.

Some of these changes have been as recent as the past month, but contrary to what my competitive nature says, true progress is sometimes slow. 

This little life I’m creating is fun, and I’m making friends and building connections in exciting, new ways. But in many respects, my situation hasn’t changed. 

What’s changed, is that I’m learning to struggle. Just like Jacob in Genesis 32, I’m grabbing hold of the Lord and discovering the depth of His grace and mercy for me. Every time I wander, sin, slip, fall, or soar: I grow more aware of where He is and take a firmer grip on who He is to me.

So I think I’m alright. And with the Lord, I know I’m blessed and held. I can shout of His love in a way that I couldn’t last year, and that’s worth more to me than anything else that this world has to offer.

I don’t think I’m afraid of year two. The Lord goes before me and even if I’m stripped of all else, He remains. I’ve never know the Lord Almighty to blink.



2 thoughts on “One Year Later: Learning to Struggle Well

  1. Welcome to the “adult” life! Yes, you are learning to cope with God’s help and that’s FANTASTIC! It’s quite appropriate to ask your dad about things like insurance; you’re still under his covering until you come under your future husband’s covering. My daughter asked her dad’s advice about which job offer to take; he talked her through the pros and cons. Our pastor’s daughter’s almost 40 and not married yet and lives with her parents; a help for them and a help for her as she waits on the Lord’s next plans for her to come. Wise living arrangements if God is in it; it’s always excellent to stay under your covering and honor God! Keep digging into life, girlfriend!


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