By Emma Van Meeteren
“Trust the process.” My fellow cross country teammates know these words well. Coach Carrie Krohn, who learned this from her NWC coach Dale Thompson, uses this phrase often to remind us to trust our training progression. In running, achieving one’s optimal race performance is not something that happens overnight. It requires a training progression strategically planned to prepare our bodies to peak at the right time. Often, it is difficult to be patient, and the desire for quick results causes one to want to work too hard, too fast. If there is one thing I have learned as a collegiate athlete, it is that I have been able to become a much better runner than I ever could have on my own by trusting my coaches and having the patience to see out the full results of my training.
Now you may be wondering, what does my training progression have to do with my faith? Over Christmas break, I had a lot of time to think. And being the nostalgic senior that I am, I couldn’t help but reflect on the changes I have experienced during these past four years at Northwestern. The person I am now with one semester left of college is completely different than the person I was one semester in. The change from my freshman self to senior self was definitely not something that happened overnight. Instead, much like trusting my coaches to train me to run well, my college experience has been a time of continuously seeking the Lord and trusting His timing and process of transformation in my life.
Freshman year Emma is someone I don’t really like to think about often. She was overly stressed, extremely anxious, and absolutely terrified at the thought of having to decide what she wanted to do with her life at the age of 18. Classes were hard, her life was unbalanced, and she had no idea what her parents were talking about when they said, “College was the best four years of our lives!” She knew the Lord and trusted Him with her life, but had a hard time understanding why she felt so lonely and distant from her loving Savior.
Fast-forward three years, and here I am counting down the days until I can return to school after Christmas, excited to get back to a life and people that I love. I now 100% agree with my parents that my college years have been the best years yet. Looking back, instead of being completely astonished at this attitude 360, I can confidently attest to the powerful work of the Lord in my life. Philippians 1:6 reminds me of the confidence I may have knowing “that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” God never leaves or abandons me, but instead promises that He will carry out what He started. I must learn to simply trust in His process.
However, trusting the Lord’s process does not mean passively stepping aside. The familiar words of Proverbs 3:5-6 say “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” In these verses, I am reminded that putting my trust in the Lord involves submitting myself to Him. I must seek Him, acknowledge Him, and follow His leading in order to partner with Him in His process. The changes I have experienced during my time at Northwestern would not have been possible without me learning to submit to the Lord and follow His leading to try new activities, participate in His global mission, take on leadership positions, and seek out life-giving relationships.
Despite all the times I have felt stuck, frustrated, and wanted to be anywhere else but at college, I am now beginning to see the fruit of the good works God has promised to fulfill in me. Whether I am worried about making the grades, finding the right career path, gaining solid friendships, or whatever it may be, I must simply hang in there and trust the process. I have learned that if I submit my entire being to seeking Him, He will transform me into something that is absolutely worth waiting for.