By Jessika Harkay |

I don’t think I ever believed “you either grow together or outgrow them.” Then this summer came around and I realized I needed a change in my life. A change I couldn’t expect from anyone, except myself.

I saw so many aspects of my inner-being that I left unhealed from my childhood, or my romantic relationships, or simply things that I knew I needed to change in order to become the person I would be proud of going to bed as at the end of the night. 

I was noticing and understanding repeated patterns in my behavior — whether it was anger or trying to slip away from messy situations to take an easy route out — that I knew it was time to turn to God and take advantage of the opportunity to be alone.

I took the month of July to genuinely dig into who I am. I cut off the boyfriend I had at the time. I didn’t answer hang-out texts. I spent most of my days alone. I watched sermons on Youtube about trusting God and His plan (my favorite channel ended up becoming Grace for Purpose).  I read books to gain new perspectives, and I took 21 full days to commit selfishly to myself.

No one wants to talk about the fear and tears that come with that too. The fear of losing the things you’ve grown accustomed to — especially relationships (whether platonic or romantic wise for me). 

I remember spending a lot of nights with regrets. Things I shouldn’t have said. Things I should have done. Moments I can still look back on and wish I could speak to my past self to prevent.

I spent a lot of nights praying. It was those nights that I found myself breaking down at the edge of my bed and talking to God about the things I hid from those around me, because I didn’t want sympathy or advice. I needed guidance and healing and there was no better way than going to the God of the-all-possible.

I spent nights asking for forgiveness. Towards myself and to give to others. I spent nights asking for mercy. To be treated with kindness and peace, but also be able to deliver it to others. I spent nights asking for healing. To heal within, but also to leave a trail of heaven behind me because I had the kingdom of God inside of me.

I spent 21 days praying for change that I would be in control over, and imagine my shock when these changes didn’t happen overnight and I had to understand that God gave me inconvenient situations to push me to be a better version of myself.

I never understood that my prayers for change were really prayers for discomfort and opening wounds that never properly healed.

In a journal I’ve made full of advice to my future self, I found a quote that goes something like, “Pray scary prayers, but do so knowing God will do exactly that. So in praying ‘teach me patience and help me grow,’ don’t be surprised when God answers through hardship. You heard ‘be careful what you wish for’ but be expectant for what you pray for.” 

That one hit me like a ton of bricks. I realized what I thought was God being silent, was actually Him giving me everything I asked for. What I was genuinely aiming for was to become someone that you meet and see a piece of God in — and I couldn’t do that without a little human suffering.

I began seeing God in me when I was conscious of everything I was saying and doing. I was sitting back before reacting. When I reacted, it was out of love and repeating “what would Jesus do?” in my head. I reminded myself that it’s okay to go an ocean’s worth for someone, even if they weren’t crossing puddles for me. 

And now I say, I understood the quote about growing or outgrowing because I lost people I expected in my life forever. In digging deep, the people I was creating some temporary distance from, became fearful of the hole I was digging. They saw it as a place where I was burying myself or dwelling, when I was just planting a seed.

And I took that as my cue that God has greater things in store because I’m committing myself to Him and dedicating myself to not only love those around me and being kind to them, but remembering it’s important to forgive and be easy on myself.