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My Cup Has Been Filled: A Reflection of My Time At HSU By: Jia Spangler

My freshman year seminar class was focused on spiritual formation and how we come to know ourselves, others and God.

Looking back now, this has definitely been a theme in how I have grown throughout my college experience.When I first got to Hardin-Simmons University, I was in a place of extreme lack. There was a lack of confidence, a lack of fruitful friendships and a lack of complete trust in the Lord. My cup was nearly empty. Throughout my time at HSU, I have finally learned how to fill my cup, and I could not be more grateful.

Fresh out of high school, I was extremely eager to make friends. I did not feel like I had a lot of fruitful friendships, so this made me even more desperate to make friends, which in turn made me strive for validation from other people. I was constantly focused on how I thought other people viewed me and if people liked me. Without realizing it, I lacked so much confidence and trust in myself because I was placing my worth in the hands of others.

During my first semester of freshman year, I joined a social club. Being a part of a club was a blessing in a lot of ways, but it also made me seek validation even more. I was so focused on the approval of others that I let it control how I felt about myself. I struggled quite a bit with feeling unworthy, lonely, anxious, insecure and unloved. I was desperate to fill my cup, but I was searching in all of the wrong places.

During my second year of college, I became more involved on campus (started working for The Brand ), was working at another job off-campus that I really loved, and was taking classes that were purely focused on my major and minor. There were a lot of things to be excited about, but I was still struggling in a lot of ways.

Because I had been at HSU for a year, I had an even higher expectation for people to like and approve of me. This hurt my mental health and self-image quite a bit. My relationship with the Lord has been important to me throughout my life, so I was confused on why I still felt like I was lacking. I was so focused on other people and myself that I lost focus of what was truly important. Instead of filling my cup, I felt like I was emptying it without realizing.

I realized how empty my cup was during the latter half of my second year at HSU. I let the sting of rejections control how I viewed myself, and I realized how unhealthy it was to strive for something so unfulfilling. I was blind to the God-given virtues in myself, the entirety of blessings found in others and the absolute fullness of God.

When this finally clicked, I realized I didn’t have to strive so hard to fill my cup from a place that was not even fulfilling. The most satisfying source is the living water of grace that God freely gives. The second my soul fully rested in this truth was when my cup finally started being filled. I found myself surrounded by friends who pushed me closer to Christ and loved me unconditionally. I have grown (and am still growing) to let myself be filled with God’s grace, freely and wholeheartedly love others and fully find rest in truth. My cup was finally being filled, and it felt so refreshing.

College is a very formative and unique time in everyone’s life, and it amazes me how fast it has gone by. I have learned so much about myself, others, and God, and I can attribute a lot of that to Hardin-Simmons. I’m extremely grateful for the things I have learned, both personally and academically, during my time at HSU. My cup has been filled, and it is very evident to me that God has blessed my time in college. I could not be more thankful for my past three years at HSU.


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