It’s Saturday morning.
Rainy and chilly, I tiptoe across the living room carpet, coffee in hand, hair thrown haphazardly into a messy bun. I breathe.
After a week of running fast and hard, it’s finally quiet. No more hustle. Just me. It’s a refreshing change of pace, but I find my mind spinning with thoughts to make up for the lack of stimulation in tasks, math problems, and meals to cook.
I think about how much I absolutely adore New York City. I love the noise, the lights, the crowds, the pace. I’m enamored with the culture, the resilience, the opportunities.
But maybe, sometimes, I identify with it a little too much? I fill my life with faster, louder, more, more, more. I say YES and tack more onto my to-do list, put more friends and meetings on my calendar, apply to serve in my church more and more and more and more – and then I collapse. Hard.
Because I tell myself I can’t rest, I shouldn’t take the time to be refreshed. And it’s not as though I don’t rest – just that often, those times are laden with feelings of guilt.
Because don’t I need to do more? Be more? Write more? Work more? Study more? Sing more? Don’t I need to prove that I can be independent, capable, and strong? That I can meet people’s expectations?
Don’t I need to prove that I’m enough?
The weekend rolls around and I’m so, so tired.
I’m drawn to the things that drain me, and I avoid what I so desperately crave. I run to the distractions – and I run from peace. I run to the busy, the crazy, the loud – and I run from rest.
It’s only now that I’m realizing the toxicity of all of it. Of how the busy will never be enough so satisfy me.
It’s Sunday morning now.
It’s been a long night – first the symphony, then the late-night ice cream because I needed a pick-me-up. Then the work, always more work for the following morning’s church service – and finally my head hit the pillow at 1:00 am.
I assured myself I’d compensate for the lack of sleep with cups of coffee, and I’m definitely on my way to doing that.
But now I’m sitting in church, after rapidly curling my hair and applying my makeup this morning, guzzling down a smoothie, leading two worship songs, and it’s quiet again.
I hear my pastor-dad preach, and his words stand out to me in this moment – “Let us be found faithful, not just busy.”
And it hits me hard right where I am.
But isn’t busy good? Isn’t faster better? Isn’t it important to work hard, do whatever it takes to get where I need to be?
The pull for me is always MORE! MORE! MORE! Like a flashing highway billboard in my mind, and not just an invitation, but a command, to COME IN! CHECK THIS OUT! the promise, THIS WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE!
And I believe it. I come in. I do it. And after all that my life’s just…eh. Busier. But better? Not really.
I ask myself if I truly know the meaning of the word ‘no.’
Maybe I do – but perhaps in the context of saying no to sleep, no to good health, no to reading good books, no to going to events in favor if the desk life, the studying life, the working, the cooking, the cleaning life.
And I never really think about it this way, but am I saying no to the wrong things? Should I be saying yes, instead, to the things that are actually right for me, and my life?
It’s funny, lately, I’ve been trying to be mindful of my priorities, of what I say yes to, of my commitments.
All throughout the lists, I see the pattern of my thoughts:
More is better. I mean, it has to be.
Hard work is hard for a reason, but it’s always worth it.
Stress is good for people. It stretches them.
What’s one more project? I can handle it.
Prove how valuable you are by how much you can do.
That last one hurt.
I don’t have all the answers. A lot of times, I discover what not to do, but don’t get anywhere as far as what I should do.
What I do know is that it’s not enough to just barely survive life because I’m so caught up in doing that I forget the importance of being – of living wholly – of loving fully – of encouraging people to rest in the grace of God.
It’s more important to love people than to check something off a list.
It’s more important to be content in the lives we live than to work so hard chasing another life – and when we arrive, we’re lonely, confused, and unhappy.
It’s more important to live serving God than just ourselves.
And it’s imperative that we place our value, the sum of our worth, into what Christ has done for us – His goodness, His perfection, His righteousness before God, and not in our own little accomplishments, those things we’ll never see as enough.
What does it all look like? Oh, I don’t completely know.
But I do know it starts with a willing heart – one that says, “God, on my own, I’m not enough. I’m exhausted. I’m tired of all this running. I can never prove my worth to You in anything I do – but You are worthy. And I place my whole being, everything I am, in You.”
Hard to let go of the very things we work so tirelessly to hold onto.
But in letting our own desires, our own agendas, our own plans go from our hands, we pass them into the hands of God, the One who can hold them much better than we can.
In the hurry, the hustle, the struggle, the stress, let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, as we’re told in Hebrews 12:2. See that He is the One that matters, in the end.
In a hundred years, it won’t matter whether we aced our classes or not, whether we had a clean house or not, whether we were rich or not, whether we lived up to our self-expectations of success, or we didn’t.
But the ways we lived, the ways we loved, those things matter. The way we trusted in Jesus for our value, not ourselves. The way we listened to the Holy Spirit before we listened to TED talks, that matters. The way we placed our relationship with God at the foundation of all our other relationships, that matters.
Because when we enter into eternity, the soul is ultimately what’s important.
Where do we even go from here? With the to-do lists still a mile long, stress still there, and the feeling of being stuck?
We foster contentment in our lives, exactly where we are. We stop running wherever it is we think our busyness will take us.
We find our worth where it truly lies. We don’t try to earn it.
We live our lives to the fullest. We glorify God in the way we love others and lead them to Him.
We teach ourselves to rest in grace. No more proving.
And we focus on what matters.
It’s late Monday night now.
I’m exhausted again, stressed and drained, and I finally relent – I need rest.
But more than just a good night’s sleep – I need a deep rest, a soul rest, a mind rest – to rest in the identity of ‘already enough.’
Because that is who Jesus has made me.
And I accept it.