taking a leap of faith

I am a college student and this past year, while on a leadership retreat, I was challenged to pick a word to represent my year. This word was to be a constant reminder of my goals, a representation of who I wanted to be and symbol of what I wanted to achieve. Being the type-a, list maker, everything must be in the written plan, rule follower, over-thinker that I am, this took me a while. What one word did I want to be my motivator for the year? What one word would I look at that would constantly remind me of the path I wanted for myself.

I chose trust.

I really struggled with choosing this word. Trusting others means giving up control, which I don’t like doing. Trusting others means things might not go the way they are planned, which stresses me out. But the reason that I chose this word was because I am not living this life for me and I am not in control. While it is a blast to be Annie Bradshaw and to do what I want, that is not the reason why I am here. I am here to be the hands and feet of Jesus, to let the light and love of Christ be seen. But in order to be that light, I have to listen, trust and follow the one who knows my path.

And wow was this past year the ultimate test of my trust.

It started in May of 2014 when I re-applied for a position in a campus organization. I knew that if I was given the position again, I would already have everything I needed, I would know what I was doing, I would be able to grow the position by serving for a second year, but I didn’t really think about not being able to really stretch myself. And then my first unknown test of trust hit. I was offered a position way out of my comfort zone, one I had never thought about, one that was not part of my ‘college plan’ that I dreamed up for myself, one that I knew would be hard and challenging. And for those reasons, I turned the position down. I didn’t want to stray from this plan I created, I didn’t want to take the challenge incase something else came along, but my advisors wouldn’t back down and for that I am forever grateful.

The following September was when I went on this retreat and chose the word trust.

For the next few months, I was still planning this college life I wanted. I would see the word ‘trust’ on my bulletin board everyday, but at that point it was still just a five-letter word that I was supposed to be working towards. But I still thought that my plan was greater- it was my plan, for my life. I thought to myself, “I’ve been alive for 20 years, I know what I’m doing.” But those months of planning and dreaming and talking and getting excited were awoken by the biggest reality check in November of 2014.

Since the day I joined my favorite greek organization, I had the dream of serving on exec. That’s what I wanted to do. That’s why I was there. I stayed up late researching what other campuses did, dreaming up ways to make our chapter reach it’s potential, sharing these ideas with people who loved this organization as much as I did. This is my passion and I was ready to make it the best it could be. But when the nominating team made the calls of what position you received, I received the call that no one ever dreams of getting- I did not get the position. Wow was I heartbroken. The position that I planned on, the position that I wanted, went to someone that wasn’t me. And right there I realized what I was saying. The position that I planned on, the position that I wanted. This is not my life, this is not my plan -and that was the hardest pill to swallow.

One of my best friends sent me a quote that said,“My father used to do this with me when I was a baby. People always looked really anxious and asked him what he was doing. He would simply reply, ‘I’m teaching her to trust me,’” with a picture of a dad standing his little girl on the palm of His hand, out of her comfort zone. And that’s what God was doing with me right then. I was balancing on His hand, feeling like I was about to fall off and knowing that if I didn’t trust Him, I would. And that’s when I realized that I needed to take a step back. Stop planning, but keep dreaming. Stop worrying, and start trusting. Really trusting. Listening. Asking questions. Obeying.

During Christmas break of 2014, a big dream of mine that I pushed aside in hopes of serving on exec, came back to the surface. Growing up I wanted to be a teacher or open my own business (mainly because I wanted to be the boss). I had honestly forgotten about it, and one day, I came across a piece of paper covered in scribbles of ideas. I wanted to open a business. I left it on my desk for a few days, but I could never stop thinking about it. Everywhere I went, I would see something and think “oh wow, that would be perfect for my business,” and after a few weeks of looking and listening and not getting too far into this idea, I realized that this is what was next for me. Hesitant, because it was a huge leap of faith, I worked very slowly. Over the break, I created my Etsy shop and designed 2 boxes. I told a few of my friends and family about it, but was not going to make a big deal about it, incase it didn’t work out. Little did I know, when you create an Etsy listing, you include ‘tags’ of what your product is or includes or why people would buy it, so that way when people searched for those things on Etsy, your listing would pop up.

One day I decided that if I wanted this to go somewhere, I was going to have to, you know, tell people, post about it on social media, anything to get the word out. So I did. One Friday afternoon I told my roommate that tomorrow was the day. I was going to launch this thing. And that’s just what I did. I launched Annie Poppins Shop at 5:30 on February 7, 2015 (I remember the time because they wouldn’t let us go eat dinner until I launched it and my favorite restaurant closes at 6pm). Within 4 hours, I had 500 views on my shop.

Since then, so many ‘things’ have fallen into place and I am so grateful. To have the guts to change my major (going into my junior year) to something that is hopefully more ‘me’, for an internship in Dallas this summer, and to have the opportunity to once again love on some sweet freshman as an orientation counselor as they enter the craziest year of their life.

I trusted and took a leap of faith this semester, and I am trusting and taking another leap this summer. And this blog is one of them. Do I have any idea where this is going to go? Absolutely not. What am I going to actually blog about? I honestly couldn’t tell you. Am I excited about this opportunity though? Yes, absolutely. You might be reading about my embarrassing stories one week and restaurants that I’ve tried the next, to pictures of the incredible hair day that I was having (because we all know those need to be celebrated).

I really don’t know where this is going to go, but I hope you trust me enough to join me on this crazy ride.

Annie

Annie Bradshaw