Outkicking Your Coverage

I waved to get his attention from across the room, and then over-exaggerated mouthing the word “outkicked” to him, as he broke out laughing.

This is a regular occurrence between my friend’s boyfriend and me. Due to the fact that girls talk and share an array of their personal lives (insider’s secret, people), the first time I met him — before ever speaking a word to him — I waltzed right up to graciously explain where he stood in his newly-found relationship with my best friend.

“I know we don’t know each other yet, and I’m sure you’re really wonderful, like seriously, I’m excited to get to know you . . . but you also need to know that I think she’s the greatest person in the whole entire world and regardless of how awesome you are, you have totally outkicked your coverage with her.”

Yes, all one sentence. Yes, my first time ever speaking to him. (I’m charming, really. I promise.)

He later told me that he was intimidated (ah, every girl’s dream to hear), but I don’t blame him as I might have come on, uh, a little strong? A couple years later and an engagement ring on the way, we laugh about my stellar first impression (and he agrees, he way outkicked his coverage).

I don’t know how, but today is the last day of November and I find myself realizing I have completely outkicked my coverage. No, I’m not dating anyone, and no, I didn’t just accept a glamorous job at the White House; rather I’m a pretty normal (for whatever normal is) college senior at the University of Alabama.

And here I sit, having completely, whole-heartedly and unbelievably outkicked my coverage the past few years, in ways that could only point to a really loving and giving Father.

I came for an education, and I will be leaving in a semester with much more.

I came for a degree, and while I will be leaving with that tangible piece of paper and some tangible scars and bruises and a couple tear-stained shirts, I’ll also be leaving with piles of victories and laughs and you-had-to-be-there nights and people with hearts and minds I couldn’t have dreamed up. I’m leaving with hours spent at the libraries, but also Sonic and the River Walk. I’m leaving with parts of my soul left at Bidgood and Nott, but also parts of my heart sitting on the Taco Mama patio on a Friday afternoon or in my friends’ passenger seats.

Before I continue, yes, there’s been a cost. Outkicking your coverage has never been a flawless and blissful experience. Alabama has more systemic issues than I knew possible and I’ve seen things I would have never fathomed still happening in 2016. It’s completely shattered my sweet suburban Ohio mindset in the most painful and beautiful ways, but that cost has also had a benefit. I’ve found people to rant and rejoice with. I’ve experienced more public losses than I planned on, but I’ve also had W’s that cause tears to stream down my face.

I got more than I asked for, clearly. I asked for a college experience, and sure, I got to be involved on campus and study hard, but I’ve also gotten to celebrate Engagements and travel to Cuba and eat free Chick-fil-A and see the best football team in the country play every Saturday for four years straight and run like hell, so hard and so fast after dreams, or boys (or both?) and have people to fall on when I fail. Orientation didn’t tell me that was coming.

So as I prepare for finals, and as I look at the daunting stacks of math problems I don’t understand and essay-prompts that need a response, I’m reminded of this: Jesus let me completely outkick my coverage. Life isn’t perfect. I’ve been to more funerals than I’d like and had dreams stomped on in my face, but life is full.

And full is good.

And in the midst of me wanting to whine and dread the upcoming sleepless week, I am reminded that I didn’t deserve any of it to begin with. We love God because He is good. At least we are supposed to. I’ve found myself sometimes wanting God’s goodness more than God-Himself, wanting the gifts more than the Giver.

He really loves us. Seriously and completely head-over-heels in love with us, to give us the gifts He does. He’s given us His son, God Himself, but we will pine and whine for a Godly man to date. He’s given us everlasting life, but we are consumed and distraught when this life isn’t playing out like we planned. He has let us completely and thoroughly outkick our coverage, and I will still spend time looking back at the parts of my story I want to redo or rewrite.

Finals week is a gift. Please don’t lose sight of that. In all of its mess and the break-downs that’ll come and the stress it’ll bring, it’s part of one of the greatest gifts the Lord gave me.