As I’m sure every college student is familiar with on some level, the casual existential crisis is a frequent visitor in my own thoughts. Sometimes the juggling act of double majors, multiple bible courses, a looming fitness competition, piano practice, platform development, volunteering, self growth, community work, family life, and relationships can take a lot more than just a lot of caffeine to handle. Admittedly, it takes a lot more than I even know how to handle.
So, in true Harding fashion, I’ve learned to slide on my chacos, grab a hammock and go escape into a beautiful world of rest and recuperation.
Or I would.
If I had gotten around to ordering that eno I’ve been wanting.. or if I had even gotten around to investing in the chacos I’ve been meaning to buy for months now.
Or I would.. should I not be drowning in the copious amounts of assigned reading I’ve been putting off… Should I have actually planned ahead and carved out time in my schedule for some contemplation and reflection.
Or I WOULD.. should I actually have my life together and not be slave to my crippling faults of procrastination and over-extension. (ENFPs say hey..)
The underlined point here is that this semester’s work load has brought so many personal shortcomings into clarity for me. I’ve learned once you’re put in the fire, you suddenly become aware of how staggeringly human you are, and it’s impossible not to feel the heat. The heat of pressure, expectation, paired with obligation and responsibility…it’s been a bit much for me to handle alone.
But, I’m doing the best that I can.
And I actually told myself this, as my stress continued to build and my mind continued to worry. Don’t we all sell this idea to ourselves in some ways?
Is this perpetual drowning really the mental state my savior intended me to be living in? To be loving in? Am I really in a place to be shining Christ’s countenance and spreading the good news from?
In a heart to heart with a dear friend, I was apologizing for being so petty as to vocalize my recent struggles to keep my head above water, trying hard to “do all things without complaining,” but I was met with no chastisement. I was lovingly received with warmth and affirmation, and told the words, “Amber, not every day has to be a good day.. but you can have a victory in every day.”
I want to exercise the victory I have in Christ, every day, regardless what circumstances arise and what struggles ensue. I want to have the victory to experience His love and peace in not just the good things, but the bad as well. Not just the big things, but the little things.. all things. I want to experience Him in every second, every thought, word and action. And to reap the invariable peace that stems from communion with the Lord most high.
I believe we would do well to step back, examine our souls, and learn how to care for them. Our creator designed the sabbath for our use. Our savior calls us to stillness in His presence. Our Lord has declared himself the Prince of Peace, with a gentle and pervasive desire to share that peace with us, His children.
And I want to start experiencing it.
I am taking some time now to learn to lean on the promise of God’s divine comfort. I’m pursuing Christ’s face, pursuing Him as my Prince of Peace, regardless of my shortcomings and pitfalls.
Matthew 11:28-30 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
But it’s hard.
Yesterday, I was so caught up in my own worries and thoughts, I realized that I had mindlessly left my wallet somewhere on campus.
As I miserably lapped campus alone in the dark, in pouring rain, searching for my wallet (AKA debit card / student ID / cash / life), I was thinking through the events of the day, the impending deadlines, strained relationships, mental/physical fatigue I was experiencing, and I was finding it hard to console myself with this blatant lack of closure.
I’ve gotta say, it wasn’t the best day I’ve ever had.
But I found myself praying to God to show me some kind of victory in this. I asked to receive some kind of comfort. All while still returning to my dorm from my search empty handed, waiting for an RA to let me in.
He was faithful to that prayer, and His spirit touched mine, rendering my thoughts subject to a monumental paradigm shift in those moments spent with Him out in the rain.
It’s possible to praise him in the storms. The storms of personal shortcomings, the storms of anxiety and the storms of uncertainty. It’s possible to praise him in the storms that sweep across campus. It’s actually possible to feel the “contentedness in every situation” that Paul’s spoken of, because that is the kind of God we serve. One who longs to connect with us and who is deserving of perpetual praise.
I’m comforted by a love that provides peace and rest.
I’m comforted by a love that transcends even my understanding.
I pray we learn to fix our eyes to the Prince of Peace, and allow His love to satiate the restlessness in our souls. I pray we tangibly experience the Spirit’s work in us, through every circumstance that comes our way.
Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”