When I pulled into the parking lot this school year, a lot of things were on my mind. What weighed the most was that I was about to start a season of “lasts,” and a large part of me was saddened by this. There is a lot about my Harding experience that I have enjoyed and wouldn’t trade for anything. There is also a part of me that is ready for the next chapter when my time here is up.
As I was getting ready to come back to school this August, I spent some time thinking about everything that would happen this year and what I needed to do. From the start, my plan was to take in every day as it came, keep a good balance of school and fun and enjoy this season of lasts instead of being upset that my time here is almost up.
The other night I was at a devo and we discussed a Francis Chan video where he talks about how people think so much about instant gratification and how others get the boot when we think of ourselves. The conversation turned into how thinking that way leads us to attempt to plan this perfect life for ourselves and we end up missing opportunities to serve others. It hit me that I’ve been so busy trying to live out this last year at Harding so “perfectly” that I’ve missed opportunities to be with others, and a feeling of guilt came over me. Who am I that I deserve some great life where the shots are all called my way? Where I have to know everything about everything? And in what world did God ever promise that everything was going to go as I planned for them to go? As I stopped to take a look back at the semester so far, I realized that I have tried to live this semester so perfectly that I haven’t actually given everything I have.
Back in July, Anberlin released their last album “lowborn.” In the opener of the album, “We Are Destroyer,” Stephen Christian sings, “Give us what we want! What we don’t want to earn … If all we are is just what we’ve earned, we are the destroyer.” These lyrics have played in my mind a lot since that night. I have caught myself thinking about the things that are going to make me happy now and try to repress any thoughts that would make me unhappy but might actually be better for me. Unintentionally, I have tried perfecting this year to my liking. So far, this has been a great year — arguably my favorite — but I find myself wondering what would happen if, instead of planning and perfecting the year, I just fully enjoyed every day as it came.
The problem for me is I want everything to work out perfectly. I think that is human nature. Who doesn’t want things to happen the best way possible? I think of Moses, who argued with God because he wasn’t an eloquent speaker, yet God still used him.
I have seven months until graduation. There are a lot of tests to take, projects to complete, and other things that I need to wrap up before my time is finished on this campus. My first thought is to make sure everything is perfect. My first thought is to make everything about me. What I need to do though, is step aside and stop making this all about me. Where do we get this notion that we have earned everything and that we deserve it all?
Life begins when the planning ends, and I don’t need perfection anymore.