The Tension of Narrowing

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“I’m just so busy.”

I find myself repeating this phrase over and over again lately. Between tests and papers, spending time with friends, trying (key word trying) to exercise, staying involved in my church community and everything else in between I just find myself spread thin and exhausted as my head hits the pillow every night. And somehow in all my busyness, I never get everything done on my list. So where is my time going? What am I doing to make myself so worn out and stressed?

Striving, that’s what I’m doing.

Yesterday, as I was walking to the Starbucks library for my second cup of coffee (yes my second cup at 10:30 am because only one cup barely keeps my eyes open), I looked around and noted how tired everyone looked. Like really tired. We looked like a bunch of walking zombies. Some were sprawled out on the uncomfortable couches lining the hallways, others were propped up on their hand in a chair, still others were staring blankly at a computer screen or their text book. And I was alarmed.

What the heck is going on?

Trust me, I get the college thing. I’m living it. Staying up past midnight to cram in the homework that’s due or the test that is a few hours away, rising early to finish said homework, doing everything possible to stay awake during lecture, downing cup after cup of coffee (I’m on a role of three or four a day. Don’t worry Mom and Dad, I’m not addicted…), you know the drill.

All thing said, I just feel like I’m striving, and it’s not working.

I’m still not good enough.

Hmm… who told me that I wasn’t good enough? When did I start buying the lie that says what I’m doing isn’t enough; that I should always be doing more?

This is what I’m learning: that it’s alright to not do everything. I really don’t have to do everything.

But what about my resume? How am I going to get a job if I’m not involved?

As much as I hate it, this is the question that plays over and over in my mind. Here’s the crazy thing, I am involved. I’m a leader in both my sorority and my college ministry and am heavily invested in both. And still there is tension. It doesn’t feel like enough.

Every time I get asked about what I’m involved in at school, I cringe. Why? Because I’m always waiting for the person I’m chatting with to say “That’s it? That’s all you do?”

I’m afraid that it’s never going to be enough. I’m scared of the rejection from employers, friends, parents of friends, my future spouse, teachers, advisers, anyone. Because who could ever love me if I’m not doing everything I can, filling every day with activity, being the super woman my society has told me I have to be?

Perfect body, perfect resume, perfect time management, perfect attitude.

Striving, striving, striving.

And it’s getting to be too much.

If you’re in college, I know you feel it too. If you’re not, I know you probably still feel the same way as a mother, as an employee, as a human being.

But here’s the good news: I am enough. You are enough.

Whew. Say that a couple times: I. Am. Enough.

Since the world will not tell you, let me take a minute to encourage both you and myself.

Here’s the deal, doing everything comes with a price: there’s no way I can truly invest in something if I’m running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to leave one meeting early to get to the next and trying to fill every second of every day. That’s not what we were created for. We were created for community and we were created for rest. So we can all just cut ourselves some slack and stop striving now.

Oh how I wish it was that easy.

As much as I wish I could tell you I have it all figured out in my wise, nineteen years of age, I don’t (shocker right?!). But what I do know is I can keep reminding myself that Jesus isn’t looking at how much I’m doing, he’s looking at my heart. Cheesy, whatever. But it’s true. He’s not looking at my resume. He’s really not going to care if I made an A in astronomy or was involved in fifteen different clubs and organizations, no matter how great they actually are.

Here’s what He’s going to want to know:

Did you love me? Did you love my people?

And I really don’t want to get to Heaven and say, “Well I tried Jesus, but I was just so busy...”

That thought literally stops me in my tracks.

I’m not telling you to stop doing what you’re doing. I don’t know your obligations as a student, a parent, a worker, but what I do know is that we can deeply invest in a few things so that we’re not so busy that we miss Jesus.

I don’t know about you but I really don’t want to miss Him.

So here’s what I’m doing in this season of life: I’m saying no. I’m learning to get things done ahead of time and making sure I rest. I’m choosing to invest in people who I really love and believe in. And I’m setting aside time to do things I really love, like write. Because if you didn’t know, writing is one thing that gets my blood pumping. It makes me feel alive.
It’s uncomfortable because it goes against everything I’ve been conditioned to believe. But it’s worth it. Narrowing my life will be worth it. Because as I slow down, I’ll have more opportunities to catch a glimpse of Jesus.It’s going to be good.

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things,but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42

This passage keeps popping up in my mind every time I find myself striving to do more. Oh Jesus, that being with you would just be enough. I love you, I love you, I love you.

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2 thoughts on “The Tension of Narrowing

  1. It’s not what you do. It’s who you are! You will lead this generation by peace and authority. I believe in your life, friend.

    Also, I love this quote:

    “We’re called human beings, not human doings.” – adapted from Kris Vallotton.

  2. YES! RIGHT ON! Fantastic wisdom my friend. Much needed. Because I sure do get it… I sure sure do. How cool that we can learn it together. Oh, friend. I am so thankful for you… Loved this post. Love you.
    -agk

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