Distracted

Distraction has become a habit.

The world is a busy place. “Busy” is the new “fine.” How are you doing? How are things? How’s life? It’s fine. It’s busy. Busy but fine.

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the most distracted one of all?

Huh, that’s funny. The reflection’s not changing.

I am a full-time high school student, scrambling to not just get college applications in but also to do interviews, apply for scholarships, fill out information for honors programs, and schedule visits. In addition, I work about 20 hours a week, volunteer twice a week, head the school newspaper, and try my best to have a social life.

Distracted.

It’s funny how even the busiest of us still find times for our phones, though, isn’t it? For the internet? Goodness, I love the internet. I think it’s a wonderful place. But it’s another

distraction

meant to ease our minds. But does it?

Listen, the reality of it is, I can’t really simplify my life all that much. I have to go to school, I have to navigate this college chaos, I have to work in order to save for said college. But I can change my outlook on it.

I’m a fairly anxious person. I don’t show it that much. I’ve gotten better in the last few years at dealing with it. There were some cool but not super fun ways God has made me more resilient. But I have this color-coded schedule glaring up at me as I type and it’s just so

distracting.

Most of my anxiety is future-oriented. I’m a pretty future-oriented person. I have a hard time relaxing now knowing I have work to do later. Even when I’m in the moment of something part of my brain is worrying about the other three things I have to get done that day and mentally calculating the time I’ll have to do them and when on earth will I have the chance to refuel and it’s completely crowded, drowning,

distracted.

Learning to live in the moment is less about not planning for the future and more about, as my dad says, “controlling the controllables.” When I’m in school, I can’t also be working or planning. When I’m with friends, I can’t also be writing an essay or doing an interview. So controlling the controllables means looking at where I am and saying, “What am I doing right now?” and doing that to the best of my ability, with my whole mind, rather than letting it splinter.

“For I have learned in whatever situation the secret of being content.” I was talking about this verse with my Pre-K Sunday school class this morning and I asked them why they thought Paul could be content, why he could be joyful and satisfied, even when crazy things were happening. The answer? “When I am afraid I will trust in God, I will trust in God, I will trust in God. When I am afraid I will trust in God, in God whose Word I pray.” I will trust in God, whose Word I pray.

(This is a quick side note, but the Word of God is the most incredible thing. The words wash over you in this way that is both refreshing and restorative and cleansing and yet also cuts straight to the heart.)

Lord, teach me the secret of being content! Let me trust you not just with my words or even actions but with my heart. I will go out on the limb, I will scale the mighty summit, I will step into the waves, just keep my eyes above. Thank you, Jesus!

“Lift up your eyes on high, and see! Who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power: not one is missing.

“Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, ‘My way is hidden from the Lord, and my right is disregarded by my God’? Have you not known? Have you not heard? He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.”  (Isaiah 40)

It’s funny how when we remember who exactly our God is, everything else goes strangely dim.

May you not strive to control the uncontrollables, but remember who can.

Blessings,
Bre

Overwhelm: noun

All of the worries and cares and
decisions
and deadlines
and plans pressing in compressing
under pressure about to implode
The unknown
Anxious for the abstract of tomorrow
and with a schedule so full I’m forced
to take it one day at a time
but always striving to stay
one step ahead
I can’t help but feel that my mind is behind and
I’m caught catching
up.

I can’t say how much I hate
when people say they’re busy
because all I can think to say
is you want to hear about my week
and they say wow
I thought I was busy
and I say yeah
I know
Today was the first day since
August
I haven’t had either school or work.
And here I am stuck to the screen, caught
catching up.

It’s like I’m being drained
slowly but steadily
restrained by dates and
complaints
They say it’s called decision fatigue:
Noun.
The tiredness induced
by a thousand little choices
can be greater than a single life-changing
one.
Except what if the little ones
also change
your life.

Overwhelm.
Noun.
The feeling of drowning.
A tightness in your muscles
and your mind.

 

UPDATE: I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately. I am currently a full-time high school student. In addition to classes, I spend Tuesdays and Wednesdays after school volunteering in a couple different capacities, and work seven-hour shifts Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. So basically the only time not already blocked out is Monday after school and Saturday morning, which I fill with homework and meetings and figuring out all of the other fun things seniors need to figure out. I thought I was doing fine, until I realized I wasn’t.

1. I have no flexibility or opportunity for spontaneity. If my friends say hey do you want to go see a movie tonight, the answer will always be no. I had to consign my sister twenty minutes on her birthday, and that required going to work late, but that was the only day it could work, so that’s what we did.

2. I make it work, but I’m tired all the time. This is not good for me, and it is not good for the people who have to deal with me. ‘Nuff said.

3. Most importantly, though, it means saying no to basically everything but those few things. I’m so locked in on those few things that I’m neglecting basically everything else, especially the people in my life who are actually the most important part of it. And I mean seriously, I’m working at a frozen yogurt shop. Like it’s a job, and I’m doing it to save for college. Oh, yeah, I gotta save for college. But when even my dad, who’s really anti-debt, goes listen, it’s okay, it’s not that much money anyway–and believe me, he’s right–he has a point. Even one of my friends was like hey, you know friends are more important than work, right and I was like OUCH because she is so right and I really, really miss them. I really, really do.

Basically, the upshot is that by trying not to miss out, sometimes you miss out on what really matters.

A few weeks ago before I started realizing any of this, I put in a new availability so I’ll work more during the week (i.e. Monday) and not Saturdays, most of the time, so in a few weeks that will kick in. Maybe that will be enough, but I’m thinking about taking an extra day off because not only do I not see friends or family but I’m also missing out on my senior year. This is the last one. And I want to be able to say I at least made something of it. So something’s got to change, I think.

So that’s where I’m at. Thanks for listening, guys.

–Bre

WHEREVER you go

j19

I was praying last night about the horribleness of the college search and future decisions and this verse just popped into my head. It’s a familiar old passage, but this time I really heard it anew.

I had just read a devotional about strength in and even gratitude for the hard times, but I didn’t really apply it to my life. After all, things are going great for now — it’s the future I’m worried about.

Ah, the future. The cold black abyss of uncertainty. However many times my dad tells me that oh, you still have plenty of time and we’ll just keep praying about it and maybe a lightning bolt will magically fall from the sky — however many times my wise mom offers me her advice and makes me feel better about it — however many times my teachers express certainty that things will come together or my friends sympathize over the decisions they too are facing or I just try to avoid thinking about it altogether — while all of these people mean well, and often their words do help, it doesn’t change the fact that time is winding down in the next few months and that there are actions that do need to be taken and decisions that do need to be made and I have no clue where to even start.

Another word for “dismayed” is discouraged. That’s really how it feels. Discouraging and overwhelming. There are so many options and how the heck am I supposed to know what’s best? Have I been praying about it? Heck yeah. But I haven’t seen any lightning bolts yet.

But you know what? This verse says that’s okay. And it doesn’t say it’s okay in the way that one person assured me that at least one college in the world received applications from seniors just the other week, in May (because seriously, how do you think those seniors whose applications didn’t come in until the last possible day have been feeling all year, huh?), or okay in the way that people toss over their shoulders that it’ll work out eventually, or okay in the way of well, it’s okay to not know so I should just sit back on it and not care about my future. This verse is God’s voice saying “Do not be discouraged, for the I, the Lord your God, am with you wherever you go.” And suddenly he means wherever not in a metaphorical sense like wherever is a state of mind or emotion or stage of life, but in a very real and practical and physical way. And that’s why it stood out to me. Because I do not walk alone; I have a travelling companion. And that’s regardless of how I act or feel — God’s faithfulness is not a conditional promise.

And for that reason, I do not have to be discouraged. I do not have to fold my arms or tighten my grip; I do not have to block off my heart or fear the uncertainty of what is to become of me. While it is true that the decisions still have to be made and I am still in the waiting, I am reminded that not all who wander are lost, and those sneaky voices in my head are drowned out by a different one. So maybe if I search less for my future and more for his faithfulness, I will be able to find contentment in the shadow of his wings and step forward, undiscouraged.