Fear-less

Fearless. The absence of fear. It’s one of those words that always seems to get tossed around.  “Follow your dreams! Take risks! Be fearless!” 

Those quotes may look nice on paper, but putting them into action is easier said than done. This post is for everyone, but especially for those of you, like me, who’ve got big dreams, but aren’t afraid to admit that sometimes you just don’t know what to do next and it scares you. What if I’m not good enough? What if they don’t like me? What if this is all a big waste of time?These are all the wrong questions we should be asking ourselves.

Trade the thought of not being good enough with a gentle reminder of where you currently are. Would you be there in the first place if you weren’t “good enough”? There will always be someone better, but we weren’t called to compare ourselves to the next. We were called to be faithful.

One day I want to be a professional track and field athlete. I’ve asked myself plenty of times if I can make it that far. If I have the guts, the drive, and the mental toughness. It’s scary to think that I might not have “enough” speed or “enough” strength, but why let that mindset hinder me? I’m a collegiate runner now because of working hard and staying disciplined, and if I really put my mind to it, I can be a professional athlete later because of those same two concepts. 

What if they don’t like me?

They who? The birds? The people you’ve never even talked to, but whose opinions somehow manage to mean the world? Caring what people think about me is something I still haven’t managed to let go of. It’s very middle schoolish if I must say so myself. Not being our true selves because we fear we’ll be left out, misunderstood, or looked down upon is a chain that must be broken. 

What if this is all a big waste of time? 

And what if it isn’t? What if from whatever season you’re in, you come out with the most amazing experiences and friendships. We will never know what’s on the other side of tomorrow. 

The truth.

God didn’t give us a spirit of fear. If reaching a point of fearlessness in your life seems like it’s so far away, I challenge you instead to fear-less. Find a quote, scripture, or song that will counter your fears when they arise. Day by day, I hope that whatever you find to bring you comfort will push you into a place of fearing less and less until you can fully believe that you are one confident, fearless, and wonderful child of God. 

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Love, Kerrington

Thank you for visiting The Johnson Journey! If you’re new to the blog, catch up on the previous posts here!

Friday Encouragement!

Remember the days of projects in school where the teacher would assign people to groups to work together? And we might feel some type of way if we weren’t in the same group as our best friend? 

Happy

Today was one of those days, except there were no hard feelings at all. I was assigned a partner to work with during move-in day and talking to her was one of the highlights of my day. Our job was passing out keys to residents, but we probably had less than twenty people come to our table. The downtime offered us the chance to talk about the school year and get to know each other more. As a senior, she’s someone I can look up to and learn from. 

Hesitant

We had similar hesitations about returning to campus during this COVID-19 pandemic, but she gave me hope by sharing how she’s been constant in praying Psalm 91. This chapter reminds me that God is always looking after me. In Him, I can find rest and be freed from my fears. 

Hopeful

I have found peace in acknowledging that some things in life are simply out of my control. As much as I wish this virus wasn’t causing so much suffering and pain in our world, at the end of the day I don’t have the power to go back in time and stop any of this from happening, nor do I have the power to jump into the future and see what lies ahead. I’m only human. Ecclesiastes 3:11 reads “God has made everything beautiful in its time.” He has a plan for His people, and He will see it through. Practice patience, acknowledge your feelings and don’t be afraid to open up to the people you trust. We will get through this together.

Kerrington

This post is part of my very first series called College During COVID. If you’re new to the blog, catch up on the previous posts here!

We Are Now Departing the Comfort Zone

Flashback

Last year I was the nervous little freshman on campus. I had such a big circle of friends in high school, so I figured meeting new people wouldn’t be a problem. The problem was: I didn’t know where to start. I came in not knowing anyone on campus. Parties were (and still are) not my thing. And as I mentioned in my previous post, I was too caught up with schoolwork and track to diversify my friend groups outside of teammates and classmates. 

Flash-forward

This year, however, is already feeling different; and I think there are many things contributing to that. I know how it feels to be a fresh face on campus, so I want to make the first-year students feel as comfortable and at home as possible. Secondly, it’s as if my position as an RA has given me the confidence to strike up conversations with random people. 

Dining Hall Discussions

This morning I walked to breakfast by myself and ended up arriving when the line was pretty long. Here we have two options. Stand there to myself in silence like a statue OR turn around and introduce myself to whoever was behind me. With great pleasure, I will inform you that I went with the latter. The two guys I said hello to were freshmen, and ended up being athletes just like myself! I got to know how they are feeling about their first semester and wish them luck on their journeys. 

On my way out, I saw a black girl in the dining hall that I saw moving in yesterday, but didn’t have the chance to speak to. I headed over to meet her and welcome her to campus. I remembered how much I appreciated it last year when a group of black girls introduced themselves to me. As of the spring of 2018, only 8% of students on my campus are African-American, so it’s been easy for us to form a close-knit community among ourselves. 

Food for Thought (get it … because this all went down during breakfast time)

If you were to compare your life one year ago to the season you’re in now, what differences would you notice? Are you keeping the same habits and practices, or are you evaluating and elevating? 

Today I’m reflecting on the saying “great things never came from comfort zones.” After reading my experiences, I challenge you to think about an area of your life where you could push yourself out of what’s comfortable and into what’s challenging. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant … unless you want it to be. Mine is as simple as having the courage to meet new people. It’s the little things. 

Love, Kerrington

campus

Word of the Day: Phenomenal

Current status: feeling like I’ve been on campus for a month but realizing it’s only been six days. I don’t know what it is about college, but time absolutely does not move the same here. I hope that you’re having a phenomenal day. Phenomenal people deserve phenomenal days. 

Honest Moment

Most of my posts have been pretty lengthy in my opinion. Today won’t be one of those days. My headspace is feeling a little overwhelmed at the moment, and I don’t want to force any of these writings. This blog was born out of my desire to be transparent, so I’m gonna keep it real with y’all, ya heard? Heard. 

Moving On

Today’s chain of events: first-year student move-in, a shopping trip, and a phenomenal workout (my legs are still crying). Pretty standard, I’m aware, but let me share what I loved most about today.

On the way back to my room from dinner, I saw two people I recognized and stopped to say hello. This gesture turned into about a twenty-minute conversation and it was by far the best talk I’d had all day. I stopped to talk because I had no other commitments scheduled into my day. Last year, I was so caught up in my personal agenda that I didn’t allow time for simply stopping and appreciating my surroundings. My phenomenal surroundings. A campus full of people who all have a story to share. This isn’t the Kerrington show, and it’s not all about running fast and making the Dean’s List. Were athletics and academics my main priorities last year? Honestly, yes. 

While those two areas are still important to me, today’s unplanned time spent with such sweet souls made me realize how much community means to me. I won’t be able to run forever. And I doubt that in 50 years anyone will remember, or care, that I made the Dean’s List. But what will last? Friendships, moments of laughter and fun, and a college experience that I can be proud of. 

Take some time to acknowledge the pace of your days. Slow down if you need to. No deadline, agenda, or self-imposed pressure to succeed should be worth you enjoying all of life’s little moments. You can do this, you’re phenomenal.

Phenomenal, The Johnson Journey

Kerrington

This post is part of my new College During COVID series. If you’re new to the blog, catch up on the previous posts here!

College During COVID & Leaning on the Lord

As my days on campus start running together, I’ve really looked forward to my writing time every night. I can reflect on the events of the day, gather some takeaways, and bring them all to you on this blog! I hope you’re having an amazing day, let’s get right into “College During COVID & Leaning on the Lord”.

Raining Cats and Dogs

College life hack: check the weather before you blindly walk out of your room 🙂 

I skipped down the steps at 8 am this morning and was greeted by a downpour. Did I have my umbrella? No. A rain jacket? No. Why couldn’t I hear this pouring rain from outside of my window? I don’t know actually. Must’ve still been half asleep. 

So I’m kidding, it was barely even drizzling this morning guys. One thing you’ll learn about me is I am quite a dramatic storyteller, you’ve been warned. The rain didn’t stop my parade though. I got breakfast with a few friends and we went about our days.

Quick RA Update

Today’s activities: picture day, wellness center session, anti-racism session, CPR training, and our nightly meeting. 

Group consensus about our faces behind the masks during pictures: same big smiles as usual. It’s all in the eyes. Lots of important information from our campus Director of Employee Wellness and Medical Services during the wellness center session. The chance to hear straight from her about quarantine and isolation procedures as well as the expectations of us as students helped relieve some stress of mine. 

The residence life team here really is a family. Today I got to have conversations with a couple of people besides the usual “Hey, how are you?”. Genuine connections with people are one of my core values. 

College During COVID & Leaning on the Lord
My Residence Life Staff Group

Sunset Run

Ranking high up on the list of my favorite things: sunsets and a good ole workout. Tonight I got both. When my speaker died on me I thought to myself “Wow, how am I supposed to get hyped up to run now.” No more Drake songs blasting meant listening to my inner voices instead.

I used my workout time to practice positive self-talk. Not allowing any negative thoughts to take over and instead, telling myself I’m strong both physically and mentally. Not comparing myself to any other athlete, but being grateful for my own personal strengths. Before some sprints, I’d ask myself why I was out there working hard and pushing myself just to keep the end goal in mind (being a professional one day). More importantly, I thought to myself how great it felt to be back on my home turf. Knees driving, arms swinging, sweat pouring. Track and field is what I truly love to do. 

Bible Study

My nighttime routine has typically consisted of playing music while journaling, reading some scripture, and writing my blog posts. Tonight’s Bible study was SO good. I’ve been using a plan on the Bible App called Praying God’s Truth Over My Fears. Today was day 7 out of 10, and the title of the devotional was “Need for Salvation”. If you want to reference the scriptures they were Psalm 18:2, John 1:12, John 3:16, John 8:31-32, John 14:6, Acts 4:12, Romans 8:17, and 1 Peter 3:3-6.

I’ve been trying to use my Bible time for more than just a surface-level skim of the Word. Annotating, highlighting, and defining words has really helped me slow down and read intentionally. Psalm 18 says: “The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”. I noticed that “rock” was used twice and decided to look it up for a definition.

Rock as a noun is “someone or something that is extremely strong, reliable, or hard.” My God is all of those things and this verse was such a great reminder. Not just strong, “extremely strong”. Strong enough to fight our battles right by us, so that we don’t have to alone. Reliable enough to be a God of the dark and low valleys, not just the high and happy hills. When we don’t feel like enough, God will always be more than enough. Lean on that truth today, and let it take over your fears.

Until next time, Kerrington

“College During COVID & Leaning on the Lord ” is part of my new College During COVID series. If you’re new to the blog, catch up on the previous posts here!

College During COVID: Friends, Masks, & Memories

Welcome back, everyone! I hope you’ve enjoyed tracking along with my adventures and lessons so far in my College During COVID series. I’ve loved sharing them! 

First things first, my alarm was set for 11 am this morning and I THINK I rolled out from underneath my blankets at noon. Talk about some serious rest and relaxation. I’m giving my mind and body all the rest it needs before classes start up next Monday. I’ve really enjoyed being on campus without academic commitments yet. I have plenty of time to get acclimated and establish a routine of sorts.

Resident Assistant Training

Today’s training started out with some heavy hitters. Newbie resident assistants were split into groups to experience rounds of a session called “Behind Closed Doors”. This is where all the returning RA’s acted out scenarios we might experience on campus during the semester. Some examples: gender and racism bias, underage drinking, a party (cannot have these during the pandemic!), and overly intoxicated students. When it was my turn to respond to a scene I. Was. So. Nervous. It definitely showed because we ended up having to replay it all over again so I could respond with some better techniques. I’m grateful for today’s training though because I would rather have an idea of how I would react to a situation beforehand and not just be thrown in the fire cluelessly. 

Friendships

A friend that I met freshman year moved in today, and it was so great catching up with him! We took a walk around our beautiful campus and enjoyed hearing what we’d each been up to over the summer. It’s been five months since we’ve been on campus together but felt like so much longer. I’m looking forward to having the rest of the student body back and enjoying lots more *outside, socially distanced* activities with friends.

Masks, Masks, Masks

Confession: I’ve found myself walking on the sidewalk and not having a clue who someone coming from the other direction is until we’re just about to pass each other. Wearing masks covers one of my favorite things about other people, their smiles, but in a way, I’ve become more of an intentional listener. Lots more eye contact and really focusing on what they’re telling me because people’s voices also sound a tad softer. As more groups begin to move-in, I’m reminded of why I love being on a small campus: mostly everyone knows each other! This semester we’ll have to be more creative with how we socialize since large group gatherings are discouraged and most events will be virtual. Here is a list of safe outdoor activities if you’re also looking for new ways to have fun.

In Closing

Sleeping until 12 definitely made today feel super short, staying busy with training has also helped the days go by fast. The fear and anxiety I felt leading up to move-in day has almost 100% been replaced with good vibes and excitement. Whatever stage of life you find yourself in now, I truly hope that you are doing what makes you happy. Spend your time wisely, but have fun. Don’t be ashamed of your differences and surround yourself with people who will love you and support you. Take risks. You never know what might be behind that closed door. You’ve got this!

Kerrington

“College During COVID: Friends, Masks, & Memories” is part of my new College During COVID series. If you’re new to the blog, catch up on the previous posts here!

My First Full Day on Campus: A Day in the Life of a College Student During COVID-19

Morning Routine

My first full day on campus is complete! I started the morning with a phone call to my dad to wish him a happy birthday then got ready for the day ahead. One thing you’ll learn about me pretty quickly is that I stay eating. Snacking, munching, crunching, whatever you’d like to call it: that’s all me. So of course I had to grab breakfast. I really appreciate that my campus has grab and go style dining set up this year. No more self serve equals no more dirty hands touching all of the serving spoons. And even though we are on our very best hand-hygiene game, leaving it to the staff is definitely a wise choice. This setup also allows students to easily take their meals outside of the dining hall and be socially distanced if they choose to eat outside. 

Resident Assistant Training During COVID-19

Today’s RA training agenda covered a lot of material. We reviewed COVID-19 protocols and who to call in different situations and planned programs for our residents. I am looking forward to the activities we put together and how creative we can be with virtual or distanced gatherings. 

my first full day on campus, residence life training
2020-21 Residence Life Staff

Workout of the Day

Moment of silence for the workout I completed today.

Thank you.

Today was my first time working out in a week and a half, and that’s very unlike me. Typically, I’m active at least five days out of the week. But, quarantine happened and my “typical” was no longer … typical. I lost the motivation to run. When I did run, nine times out of ten I easily found something to complain about: my hair getting sweaty, my face getting heat bumps, the BLAZING sun. Hello. I let negative energy takeover and reached points where I would have weeks of just not working out altogether. I was hard on myself about it, as usual.

Out of this, I learned to give myself grace. When the self-defeating voice inside my head creeps in I acknowledge it and treat myself like a friend. If I was on the phone with a friend and they were telling me about this situation, clearly upset by it, I’d probably respond to them with patience, kindness, and some encouragement! I wouldn’t tell them they’re lazy or continue to beat them down. I’d remind them that their bodies have to rest and deserve to relax sometimes. This is exactly what I took time to do for my body this summer. Back to today though. I did a sprint workout on the treadmill in our fitness center with one of my teammates, and it felt great! 

College Fitness Center Precautions
  • Always wear a mask
  • Wipe down equipment before a workout, let sit 4 minutes to allow for complete disinfection
  • Wipe down equipment after a workout 

Friendships

So important to me. Today I talked on the phone with two of my friends from high school, and something about hearing their voices versus reading a text just hit differently. I was so happy to catch up with them, and now more than ever it’s important to make sure our friends know we care about them. I’m keeping my friendships from back home nurtured, but also being open to meet new people on campus now! A difference between college and high school, in my experience, has been the diversity of backgrounds and beliefs. It’s so interesting to learn about people and accept them despite differences.

My First Full Day on Campus: Finale 

I’m sure you didn’t do exactly what I did today during my first full day on campus: attend training sessions, power through a workout, and catch up with friends. But did you, like me, do something that made you smile? If not, it’s never too late. Call that friend you’ve been meaning to check on. Maybe you don’t feel like doing a run right now… or ever. Who says you can’t have a little dance party and still burn some calories? Check out my YouTube channel for that 🙂 Enjoy these little moments, take nothing for granted, stay safe.

Kerrington

I hope you enjoyed reading about my first full day on campus. If you’re new to the blog, take a look around! My About page gives the who/what/why rundown of “The Johnson Journey”!

Facing Fears & Returning to a College Campus During COVID-19

Chapter 2 of this journey called college began today and I felt so many emotions. From waking up and not wanting to get out of bed because I was still so afraid and anxious about returning to a college campus during COVID-19, to ending the night with a smile on my face in my super cute dorm (thanks to some help from the best parents). God has a way of working. This summer I leaned on the idea that He’s never lost a battle. I battled through feelings of depression, struggles with body image, and overwhelming amounts of fear. This whole week I’ve considered dropping my residential on-campus status to study from home just because I would feel more comfortable. I was only coming back because of my job as an RA (Resident Assistant) and plans to room with one of my friends. I didn’t want to leave my supervisors looking for a replacement, or my roommate with a random person on such short notice. Not too solid of a reason to return is it? 

Optimism Over Fear

But after just one in-person meeting with the RA staff, I was reminded of why I truly love being on this college campus, even if it is during a global pandemic. Eyes lighting up from smiles hidden behind masks. Genuine conversations and laughs and a place where there’s a scary virus going around, but I still feel safe. My reason for returning initially felt like I wasn’t doing it for me. But I believe that God has great plans in store with my role as an RA this semester. Tonight I prayed that I would form friendships and make great memories with my fellow staffers. 

Reflect

Maybe you are entering a season of something you aren’t too excited about, or just simply nervous and doubtful about. If it feels like a constant fight between your emotions and thoughts and the pressure to still wake up and put a smile on your face, know that you aren’t on that battlefield alone. God’s never lost a battle and He never will. I invite you to lean on Him, submit your prayers to Him and know that He listens, and never ever give up.

With love, Kerrington

Take Four: (Daily Takeaways)

  • If you wake up with negative emotions, it can be easy to let them rule your day. Before you go to bed, reflect on at least one good thing that happened and how it made you feel. 
  • It’s easy to let commitments to other people weigh heavily in important decisions. Being dependable is important, but not at the sake of our own well-being.
  • Feelings are fleeting, they don’t have to be permanent. 
  • “You’ve never lost a battle. You never will.” – Elevation Worship. Listen to “Never Lost” feat. Tauren Wells here.

*Since this is my first blog post, head over to my Meet The Writer tab and get to know me!*

“Facing Fears & Returning to College During COVID-19” is the first of many posts in my new College During COVID series.