I, like many of my fellow students, am busy. I have been sucked into the chaos that I like to call the “MC Success Vortex.” I and those who have been sucked in with me feel like our lives are a constant spinning blur of classes, assignments, papers, tests, meetings, and events.
We have to schedule time with friends and even pencil in meals. Going to bed early is something we only dream of. Those in the Vortex always seem to be overwhelmed and are constantly trying to catch up.
I see the freshmen and hear them discuss all the things that they want to get involved in during the coming year. I feel as if I need to warn them and shout, “Don’t do it! Please, don’t think you have to do it all!” But they will do what we all do, pile their college plates so high they can barely balance it all.
We do it to ourselves, really. However, the truth is that there exists an idea at Mississippi College that we have to exert ourselves to be successful. There is an expectation that we put upon ourselves and others to be involved in everything possible in order to have a real college experience.
We need to be president of this group, secretary of that, treasurer of another. We make up reasons as to why we should—it will look good on our resume, it will be a great learning experience, the Lord told us to. But really, we are just burning ourselves out.
Do not get me wrong, I value the importance of students being involved and helping make MC a great place, but it is almost as if we are all in competition with each other. I feel like we are always trying to trump one another by proving how much busier we are than everyone else.
If we are super involved, we hope that maybe people will think more of us or we will be seen as more productive.
And despite being on the verge of a mental breakdown, we try to act like we have it all together. We always respond with the satisfying “good” when someone asks how we are doing. The other day I ventured from the my usual response to confess that I felt “stressed out,” and people did not know how to respond apart from a look of surprise that I had admitted how many of us feel every day. We do not have it all together; no one does.
I think we are all trying to find our identity in the wrong places. We want to be defined by our titles, our positions, our achievements, but the truth is that these things fade away. We should not be seeking satisfaction in the temporary things of this world, but ultimately in the Lord. As cheesy as that sounds, we really do need to take a hard look at our lives and all that we are involved in and deeply evaluate our priorities.
Most importantly, we need to learn to say “no.” College is the place where we figure out how to balance our agendas, and if we cannot learn how to turn some opportunities down, then we will spend the rest of our lives in a never-ending struggle, with the constant phrase “If I can just get through this week” on our lips.
It is possible to be involved in too many “good” things. All seem to serve a purpose, but we need to cut out areas of our lives that are weighing us down and making us feel like we are carrying sandbags on our shoulders.
Committing ourselves to less allows us to live healthier lives and devote more energy into fewer tasks than doing many jobs half-heartedly. We should not be merely surviving; we should be living.
God does not want us to be constantly overwhelmed and stressed. While the times we do feel this way make us rely more on Him, the Lord wants us to enjoy life and rest in His peace. Also, if we have no open room in our lives, how do we expect God to be able to use us for His purpose?
Proverbs 23:4 says, “Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist.”
Are we discerning what things we need to take out of our lives? Are we truly asking God what we should be involved in? Or are we saying “yes” to things because we think it will enhance our image?
I am just as guilty as anyone of overwhelming myself with things that I think are beneficial or will make me appear more successful. I understand that de-cluttering your life is something that takes time.
It requires jumping out of that “MC Success Vortex” and believing that you can be just as useful, important, and accomplished without a crammed schedule. It is about understanding that our value does not come from what we do, but how Christ sees us. Only then can we truly find rest.
– Abbie Walker, News Editor