August 31, 2016: Building an Uncrowded Life
At church last Sunday, the speaker gave a powerful, moving message about seeing God and hearing His voice through His Word. Even though it wasn’t the main takeaway of the talk, I walked away declaring this mantra from the rooftops: I am going to build an uncrowded life here.
I have never known an uncrowded life. I have been overcommitted since coming out of the womb. I have signed up for every club and then taken leadership positions in half of them. I have looked at my planner at times and not seen a free moment for a month. I have said yes when it wasn’t the best, wisest choice. I have been foolish with my time. I have been too busy. I have been anxious about my full schedule. I have let fear of missing out control my decision-making for so long that I have missed out on something that is far better than every concert, coffee date, or club I’ve ever donated my time to: an uncrowded life.
My new goal for life at Auburn is not to participate in the most renowned involvement opportunities or leadership programs. It’s not to go to every Bible study on campus. It’s not to make as many friends as possible. My new goal for life at Auburn is this: to be stingy with my time. To prioritize rest. To say no to good things because they aren’t the best things for me. To get a lot of sleep. To not be ashamed when I can’t brag about busyness, but boast in a lazy Saturday afternoon. To be bored every once in a while. How would it feel to just be bored every once in a while? To find a sweetness in life that I have missed out on for years because I’ve been too concentrated on checking all the boxes and cramming my schedule full to feel worthy.
The lie that we are most valuable when we’re most busy is just that: a lie. It’s a lie that shames me for going to bed at 9:30 because I’ve finished every task on my to-do list. It’s a lie that makes me embarrassed of taking fourteen credit hours this semester instead of the maximum of eighteen. It’s a lie that results in nights of hyperventilating, mornings waking up to anxiety, afternoons of immobilizing stress. It’s a lie that I am now going to fight with every fiber of my being.
Busyness has become like a familiar sweatshirt to me. I wear it so often, let it become so comfortable, that I don’t realize it’s actually chains holding me back from my full potential. By the grace and power of God, I am going to walk in the freedom He has given me from those shackles. I am going to root my worth in who He says I am, rather than how many colors I can fit in my planner’s color-coding system. I am going to find what He has for me in the quiet and stillness and rest. I am going to refuse the busy to seek out the beautiful. By the grace and power of God, I am going to build an uncrowded life here. And I’m really, really excited about.
(“The Freshman Fifteen” is a year-long blogging project posting every fifteen days of my freshman year of college. Follow along for life updates, deep thoughts, and everything in between.)