Throughout college I have secretly prided myself in being the student who gets up early, goes to bed early, works out, goes to class (most of the time), co-leads a student org, works a steady job, and in general, stays busy. I’ve prided myself in being disciplined and checking things off of my to-do list almost religiously. Until recently, I had been in a place where I wasn’t sure what it meant at all to relax. I could slow my body down for a period of time, but when I did I was still anxious because I felt like I could be doing something better with my time than reading a book or watching a TV show. I could be getting in some extra cardio at the gym or working weeks ahead for my online class. I felt like my existence was being wasted if I didn’t have anything to prove. Both winter and spring breaks have been like this for me for the past couple of years. For the first couple of days, it’s nice to not have things required of you. After a few days, the realization kicks in that there’s nothing to check off of a to-do list. This realization spins me out of control. My routine which I cling so tightly to has been butchered. After living at full speed, slaving away in my classes and at my job for the weeks leading up to a break, it’s like slamming on the brakes during the first day off. My body flies forward and my heart races. For days my neck hurts from the whiplash. It doesn't take long before I am ready to welcome busyness with open arms once again.
If you ask the people closest to me, you’ll learn that for some time now I’ve had a pretty horrible relationship with weekends. I’m not sure what it is about them that drags me down. I’m not sure if it’s my lack of busyness, or if it’s all psychosomatic. On Friday afternoon a dark cloud seems to come and hover for a little while.
However, over the last few weekends, I’ve had a peace about me as the weekend came. Better than my weekends have been in the past. Sundays specifically has been restful. Sundays have never felt this great in my life.
Whether this is a result of prayers or anxiety meds which have finally decided to kick in, I don’t know. Could be both. Either way, I’m satisfied and I really hope this season sticks around.
As Barbara Brown Taylor said in her memoir, Leaving Church:
“Now, when I know the Sabbath is near, I can feel the anticipation bubbling up inside of me. Sabbath is no longer a good idea or even a spiritual discipline for me. It is my regular date with the Divine Presence that enlivens both body and soul.”
I’ve found myself throughout the week thinking about this date with the Divine. I get excited. I yearn for it throughout the week. I get excited about the prospect of going to church. Or maybe not. If I get the sense that I’m making my way to church out of obligation, rather than out of desire, I may spend my morning in a coffee shop reading while allowing the sounds of espresso machines and acoustic guitars to baptize me. Sabbath has become for me a time where I can simply be. Nothing is required of me. No timeclock to punch. No workout to be performed. No papers to be written. No emails to respond to. No dishes to be washed. No paleo diet to stick to. I eat what I want. Nothing is required of me. Anything that didn’t get done on Saturday will be put off until Monday.
I’m learning on Sundays that I don’t have to earn my salvation. Who God has called me, He calls me regardless of how many weeks out of the month I show my face in a church building. My worth is not dependent on how quickly I respond to emails or how far ahead I can get on my homework on a given weekend.
I’m slowly becoming more comfortable with being quiet. I’m becoming more comfortable with peace. I’m learning to watch a TV show every now and then and to take more hot baths.
I'm learning to simply be human. I'm learning to, even if just for one day a week, quit striving, and allow Jesus to satisfy my desires and needs.