I’m completely overwhelmed and utterly exhausted.
I’m on reading week from college right now, and I spent Friday night speaking at a youth event, Saturday watching two precious friends get married, Sunday speaking about my trip to India and then leading Sunday School and Monday in bed. With a cold. Feeling incredibly sorry for myself.
Rewind back to the end of September, and I was just starting the final year of my degree. When I first started Bible College, I remember everyone telling me how fast it would go, and I didn’t believe them. Three years is a long time when you’re only 19 and itching to graduate so you can just get out into the world and do something. Three years was an age away, and I was ready for the long, hard slog.
However, now that I’m well into my final year of Bible college, I’m beginning to see what they meant when they said it flies by.
Third year in particular is busier than I would like. Between September and Christmas, I have to write my extended essay (2 3,000 word essays. No biggie…). When I go back in January, I have four weeks where I have four essays due in. Beginning of February I fly to India for five weeks, come back for Easter holidays and then I’m down to my last six weeks of being a student. How on earth did that happen?! Looking back, I’m definitely not ready to go out and do something, and there are some days where I’d give anything to start my time at college all over again and make sure I don’ waste a single second.
But I can’t. I’m here in third year and I’m pushing through. Or Jesus is dragging me through. Whatever. The point is, I’ve got to get up and deal with the fact that graduation isn’t actually that far away. And I find it so easy to get bogged down with the detail and lose sight of the reason I’m doing all of this.
I want to live the life that Jesus has called me to. I don’t know what that looks like yet, but I know the ‘now’ part of it is to finish my degree. And that makes me cry, because there’s so much to do, and not a whole lot of time to do it in. I want to finish well, but at the same time, I don’t want to be so wrapped up in getting good grades and not failing anything to miss the other things that God has planned for me: building relationships with those around me, serving at church, going to India. It’s so easy to get so caught up in the academics of Bible college (and I’m not suggesting they’re not important), but I have a life after Bible college too.
So. Back to today, and it’s the start of reading week. I was supposed to work on my extended essay today and I didn’t. I was supposed to go to the post office today to post my documents off for my DBS check and I didn’t. I was supposed to do so many different things today and I didn’t. And now it’s nearly 7pm and I feel I’ve wasted my time. I already have a to-do list for the rest of the week that’s completely unrealistic, and I’m sitting here with a heavy heart, wondering when life got so busy that I’m actually beginning to question where I’m going. I feel so overwhelmed and the world is moving so fast and I just want to scream for it to stop so I can get off but that’s not how life works. You’ve got to get up and keep going, because the world isn’t going to wait for anyone.
When I woke up on Sunday morning, I prepared for Sunday School, thought about what I was going to say to the church about my trip to India, went into my bedroom and cried. And cried. And cried some more. I’ve been completely overworking myself since starting back at college in September, and it was in that moment that I realised that I’d been relying on my own strength again, and I just couldn’t do it anymore.
Everywhere I’ve gone over the last few months, the same verse has been coming up over and over and over again: Exodus 14:14 says “The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still.” Isn’t that just a beautiful reminder? We just need to stop and allow God to take over the fight on our behalf. Because we can’t win, anyway. We get tired and our human minds and bodies fail us, but God is our ever-present help in times of trouble (Psalm 46). Ironically, when God first started speaking to me about being still, my immediate response was “Yes God, I will. But not right now. I’ve got too much to do. I’m too busy!” I’ve learned this lesson the hard way over the last couple of weeks, and I’m ready to allow God to completely take over and fight for me, because I can’t do it anymore. And the beautiful thing is, this isn’t a sign of a negative attitude. It’s a sign of surrender to the One who holds our tomorrows, to allow Him to minister to us when we can’t do anymore.
So this is my plan for my evening. To sit with my Jesus and allow Him to take over where I just can’t do anymore. And I have this crazy feeling that the rest of this week could now be more productive than I ever could have imagined, because of His grace taking over my weaknesses. Because that’s what my Jesus does.