Hang in there. The break is right around the corner. You can make it.
These are words that are heard a lot right before a break. This week, the week right before a long weekend, can seem so long. And words like these seem to offer encouragement to our stressed out peers.
However, I’d like to raise up a question: is this the best way to live? You say “What do you mean? If we have to survive college, we have to encourage one another.” And I would say to that: very true. Don’t get me wrong; I want you to continue to encourage one another.
“So what are you trying to say, Hannah?” Allow me to explain.
It’s really easy to get caught up in our work. Specifically in this audience, I think that is true. Raise your hand if you are an over-achiever (Just raise your hand – Don’t try to hide it. You’re a part of the Honors program for Pete’s sake.) This is a good quality to have – it means you’re motivated, dedicated, committed, and just plain hard working. Which is awesome.
Most of the time.
The downside to having a I-could-probably-be-classified-as-an-overachiever work ethic is that sometimes, while we are continually checking things off our never ending to-do lists, we are always waiting for a time for the work to be done. And, I hate to break it to you, the work isn’t ever done. Academically, you can always study more, read more, edit more, write and re-write more. If you are in athletics or drama or involved in committees, you can always practice more, rehearse more, think more, speak more, see more people, love more people. Is the work ever done? Speaking from my experience, I’d have to say no. With that in mind, there’s no sense in just “hanging in there” until the next break comes. In case you haven’t noticed, this year is drawing to a close real fast. In a blink of an eye, exams will be over and summer will be here – with its own joys and challenges. But summer will come and go as well. A new school year will arrive with a new kind of busyness, new joys, and new challenges. And the cycle continues. Here’s the hard truth, friends: Life doesn’t get any easier. It never slows down.
So now you are like, “well, this is the most depressing Honors blog post ever…” Well, hopefully it won’t be. Stay with me for one more minute.
If you are waiting for a time of easy life, you end up doing just that: waiting. When we were in high school, many of us spent plenty of time waiting until we could “get out of there” and be in college. Now that we’re in college, we long to be in the “real world”, with real jobs – and the promise of less homework. But graduating doesn’t give you rest. And marriage to another individual, no matter how much you love them, won’t be a cake walk either. Our hearts long for children and a family of our own (so maybe girls’ hearts more than boys… but you get the idea). A young family brings its own challenges, so we wait for a time when kids are potty trained, done teething, and dressing themselves. But those days slip away too. And soon the next thing on the horizon is retirement. After years of being tired, we hope to seek rest in the absence of work. But for many, this isn’t restful either. So what do you wait for after that? After death? Life with the Lord. And I can promise you that will be restful. And beautiful. That life is the way life is supposed to be.
So what do we do in the meantime?
My advice to you is this: Stop waiting. Stop waiting for the next break, the next season of life. Stop just “hanging in there” and seek joy in each moment, each conversation, and seek it every single day. Seek joy in the quiet moments when you are sick, and in the crazy moments when you are sick of life. Choose to see your studies not as work, but as what they really are: worship. Worship the Lord in all that you do. And even though your heart longs for heaven, where the tears and pain will be no more, stop waiting for that time. Eternity starts here. You are already eternal. The Lord’s rest is available to you now. He will be the only thing that brings real rest, so take time for your Sabbath. Make Sabbath more than just an hour out of your week; make it a life style.
The reality is that you don’t have much time. So be sure you don’t wish it away.
Stop waiting for what’s ahead; stop worrying about the things to come; start living into what’s here and now. Don’t miss opportunities to love the Lord and love those around you because those chances slip away so quickly. Choose joy today.
[a word from Hannah Huisman]