Just like any other summer, I envisioned a time for rest, a time for connecting with more people and a time to go out there and capture the beauty of this season but #summer2017 has been very different and nothing I had envisioned. Entering into a transition of being a new graduate, which almost seemed like many many months ago was actually only a month ago. And it certainly has brought constant thoughts that I’m officially breathing the adult life now. And with just a little over a month left before I head back to school, I almost feel like I’m in first year again with U of C sending me emails about tutorials on class registration, signing up for res and the frightening Orientation Week to meet your potential classmates and lifelong friends… or as they jokingly like to say, the person you marry. It’s a weird transition to be in, but I think I can safely say I’m on the right track.
A few months before the summer, the question of “what are your plans for the summer?” was rather difficult to respond to, bringing anxious thoughts of what this summer break would actually look like. As a planner, not knowing even a glimpse of what is going to happen next is like wandering in a corn maze and not knowing how to get out. However, there was some sort of peace that wrapped around my heart – a small amount of trust and believing it was going to be okay. And from this very moment, everything seems to be just okay or at least I would hope so.
I was reading my devotional today and it was titled “Noise Pollution” and speaking on the topic of peace. Reality is, the real world cannot provide us with the peace our heart longs for and the peace we seek might not be what we are satisfied with. The noise that is polluting our life is our business and productivity we continue to strive for each day. It’s honestly so funny that even those times when you’re unconsciously aware of your unhealthy thoughts that somewhere, outta nowhere, the little things brings your attention to those thoughts.
I have been showered with so many opportunities these past few months and I never thought this would be how my summer would look like – to make a difference in the ethnic community and to push myself daily out of my comfort zone. Despite my constant thoughts of “out of everyone on this earth, why me? I don’t even have the skills to do any of this” or those doubts and discouragements that I speak within me saying that “I could’ve done this or that better” or “I need to constantly meet up to these expectations”, I knew I had to push through. As much as I think many external factors play into this; reality is, it was just me. The me inside that was making up these expectations for myself and setting these non-existent expectations that I just could not meet. I took my productivity and turned it into something that was eating me up inside, day after day.
With trying to be productive and living the daily on-the-go routines comes the word “busy”. So often, we speak the phrase “I’m busy, maybe I’ll do so and so tomorrow” or “I’m busy this week, let’s try for maybe next week”.
Is it because we are settling for the “busy” life?
We were all given exactly 365 days in a year to do whatever we want to do with it, but so often we choose to fill it up day after day, week after week until our plates get more fuller than it needs to be. Checking our calendar on our phone to see when we are free and slotting in hangouts, meetings and any other activity we think we can fit in an entire day to only find out that at the end of the day, we are exhausted but we think it’s okay because there is tomorrow to rest. But guess what, the routine starts all over again and the next week hits and we slot more hangouts, more meetings and every other activity in between. Exhausted but productive, I’m not sure which is the better choice.
And I speak from experience because I am rather guilty of this until I start to get burnt out. As an extrovert, I love to be out and about and connecting with others as my energy comes from socializing with others. But there comes a time when we need to draw the line, create some sort of boundary and give ourselves some time alone, to rejuvenate and to re-energize.
As much as I would love to be productive and meet the expectations this world created, there is only so much we can do. Even if the world presents us with discouragements when we are “unproductive”, we have a choice.
So what if we stopped settling for the busy and chose to find peace in Him – the one that gives us good things and knows us better than we know ourselves?
And remember that devotional I mentioned above, what spoke out the most was this: “It’s going to get rough down here, but don’t worry. I am with you. I will never leave you. And I am your peace.”
So here we are, a month away from my next chapter on this journey and still cannot see what that will look like but at least the foundation is set not in the opportunities that have arise over the summer to bring me here, but because of Him and His goodness, I am on the right track to continue to be the light in His eyes, ears to hear those in need and a blessing to all I’m going to encounter.
I pray that you too will not settle for the busy life and take time to grow in those opportunities He has set for you and trust that He is your peace and nothing else can give you that same amount of peace.