It seems that every week has been hectic—constantly rushing around; going to classes; printing assignments (usually one printer is being used by someone else so I have to find another printer on another floor); sitting hunched over, staring at a screen, trying to make something beautiful in a limited amount of time (or something satisfactory, if I am running out of time); trying to do so much in one day. I’m so busy that I hardly have time to make friends, which is sad. (I am making friends, slowly but surely… I just haven’t had the time to be intentional about getting to know them better these days.) And I’ve found it necessary to prioritize my health. My heart has been causing me trouble. It’s felt weak, and sometimes, when I’m really stressed and have a lot on my plate, it feels almost tingly. All I know is that I NEED to take care of it. I need to take care of myself. What is the point of getting a degree in order to get a well-paying job, if I am slowly working myself to death in the process before I can even get the job? I’m speaking hypothetically here, don’t worry. I’m noticing my health is poor, and doing what I can to care for it. I’ve only got one life here on earth, and I want to steward it well—it is a gift from God, after all. That means every day (if possible) forcing myself to stop all homework for an hour (or two, if I really need it) and get out in nature, be silent, quiet my mind and heart from all the stress and tension in life, and just trust the LORD. He’s got me. He will provide. Even if I spend this hour doing nothing but taking in the peacefulness of the trees, the grass, the lake, and the breeze, while I could be doing homework instead… I’m going to give myself a break because my body needs it. Even though I have so much to do, I’m going trust the LORD, take a break to care for myself, and have faith that He will give me the strength to get everything done. And every week, I take a sabbath—24 hours of no school-related work—to just rest, sleep a lot, and do fun, life-giving things I can’t do during the week. This all helps me to survive.
I have this Wellbeing class. I’ve been enjoying it, it’s a really chill class—since stress is “not good for our wellbeing”, my professor tries to keep it as relaxed and calm as possible, sometimes by keeping relaxing piano music in the background, always opening and closing the session with a call-and-response sort of prayer, and doing fun activities like sitting on blankets outside, or watching videos on how food affects the brain, etc. Currently we are doing a 21-day sleep challenge, where we have to try to get 7 hours (at least… more is ideal) of sleep a night, track our hours of sleep, and write down how we feel the next day (physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually). It’s been really good. I wish I could get more sleep. In my perfect world, I would go to be at 9:30 or 10, but homework keeps me up till 11 or 12, and on some days, 1 or 2. (Awful, I know.) So you can safely conclude that I am very tired all the time. But I’m trying every day to be as efficient during the day as I can, and go to bed as soon as I can.
Well, the weekend is here. Friday night—Saturday night is my designated sabbath every week. No, I am not Jewish or Seventh-Day Adventist, if you’re wondering why I do not choose Sunday as my day of rest. The answer is, I’m still trying to figure out what it means for someone under the New Covenant to keep the sabbath holy (one of the ten commandments), and if we’re still required to keep it at all. I know, from my understanding that specific things like only eating clean animals and not getting tattoos no longer apply to those of us living under the New Covenant, but what about the basic ten commandments? Stealing, to this day, is still wrong. So is lying. And coveting. And adultery. So what about the one about keeping the sabbath holy? Does it still apply to us, as it seems that the others might? And what does “sabbath” mean for us? Does it still mean Friday at sundown until Saturday sundown like it did for the Israelites in the Old Testament, or does it mean Sunday, since Jesus rose from the dead on a Sunday? I’m still trying to figure all of this out. For now, I’ve chosen Friday evening—Saturday evening as my sabbath, though that may seem strange to some of you. This is only until I discover the answers to these questions on what “sabbath” means for a follower of Christ living under the New Covenant. All this to say, I am currently enjoying my weekly sabbath, not letting myself think or stress about school; reading my Bible, blogging, scrolling through social media, listening to calm worship music, and… (yesterday)… going to a party!!!
Every year my former school has a fall party. You probably remember blog posts in the past about it. I’ve gone every year when I was a student, and was really disappointed that I would miss it this year… or so I thought. Well, a dear friend of mine invited me (THANK YOU!!!), and so we together to the party last night. It was so. much. fun. I had been hesitant about going yesterday—my health felt fragile—but I realized… I needed fellowship. And a cheerful heart is good medicine. I needed some joy in my life. So I went, hoping I was making the right decision. And I think it was. It was so great. The drive to the farm (where the party was held) was about 45 minutes long, so I got to talk to my friend all the way there about our lives. It was so good to catch up. When we got there, it was raining, and so we spent the first 30 minutes or so in the half-basement of the barn (it was built into a hill), talking with people, saying hi (“It’s been too long!”), catching up, and then soon went to the main floor of the barn to watch a few rounds of tug-of war (boys vs. girls, sophomores vs. freshmen, etc.). The barn-dance instructor was late, so we talked/played games until then (I didn’t participate in any games, because I wanted to conserve my limited energy for dancing). Finally she came, and the dancing started. A couple of my guy friends asked me to dance, so I danced with them. I danced with my friend Bailey. We did a couple line dances such as “Popcorn” and the “Cha-Cha Slide”, then continued regular barn-dances. I was going to dance with my friend Claire but my gut feeling was “sit this one out, you’re overworking yourself”, so I did. I was surprised there wasn’t any actual square dancing, but that’s okay. The last song played (while the instructor was packing up to leave) was “Footloose”, and several people knew the dance, so that was really fun to watch. After dancing, there was—now get this—Reformation Trivia. (That’s this school for ya… haha… also, Reformation Day is coming up, plus it’s the 500th anniversary, so why not, right?) We played as teams, according to grade. I got to play as an honorary junior with my former class, and we only got 2nd place, but oh well. (In my defense, our team was the only one who got the spelling of “Huldrych”, as in Huldrych Zwingli, right (and I was the one who knew how to spell it, not to brag or anything, haha). After that, we closed the evening out with some worship and prayer. That was awesome. It made me miss wednesday chapels at my former school, with these same people, and the joy that was so present during those times. (I never go to chapel at my new school—my current school hasn’t proved to be very theologically sound, so I haven’t really bothered to take time out of my already hectic schedule to go to chapel. Also, I heard something that made me sad and frustrated… about them apologizing for a guest speaker who had, from my understanding, spoken the truth… because some people got offended by it. This makes me sad, and kind of increases my disinterest in going. Is that too cynical? I’m not sure. There are probably good chapel sessions sometimes, I suppose. I don’t know, because I’ve never gone. Truth is sometimes offensive to our sinful human natures, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t speak the truth out of fear of offending people. I’m thankful for the times I’ve been confronted by truth and felt offended—though I’m ashamed to admit my offendedness… what a sinner I am! Praise God for his mercy and grace—that offense turned out to be a wake-up call for me to believe what is true, and to be free. That said, I believe I’ll just stick with church every sunday. Anyway, that was a long tangent. Back to the party.) Soon we went home. It was 9:45ish, and completely dark. I rode home feeling very content and happy. What a time. That was just what I needed—to see my old friends again… both the ones I never get to see anymore, and the ones I still see every sunday at church; to be able to talk and laugh with them as if we had never been apart; to enjoy myself with this family as if I had never left the school. It was so wonderful. This season at this school was a blessing. These friends are a blessing. I’m so glad I got to spend yesterday evening with them.