You’ll find a lot

grateful2

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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

Thanksgiving and Grace

a

Okay, so maybe it’s just me, but I had a bit of a harder time than usual with the “thankful” part of Thanksgiving this year.

Granted, I had all the prerequisites in place: family gathering at grandma’s, more food than we could eat, football and an Eagles victory…but still, something seemed lacking. Maybe it was the stress involved in the rush out the door in the morning; maybe it was the long car ride; maybe it was simply that my focus was wrong.

Today, I realized what it really was.

Every year, I get asked if I’m going Black Friday shopping. And every year, Thanksgiving becomes more and more consumer-focused. It’s really just Black Friday Eve. Two years ago, stores opened at midnight. Then they bumped it up to 9 pm. This year stores opened at 6 pm or earlier, and some were open all day.

It’s not just Black Friday shopping, though. On Thanksgiving Day, I received an alarming number of notifications and texts from friends–and I replied to them! I’m not saying we shouldn’t be announcing our thankfulness to those we love, but isn’t it better to enjoy it with family rather than being distracted by other conversations at the same time? Wouldn’t it be worth it to unplug, just for a little while, and enjoy the moment?

Even as I ramble on, though, I realize that it’s not just Thanksgiving. We–meaning society as a whole, myself most definitely included–have a general attitude of self-serving entitlement. We look out for number one, rather than living for an audience of One. We think about ‘what’s in it for me’ rather than looking to serve. We think we deserve a good life rather than recognizing that everything we have is all because of grace.

c

It’s a powerful word. A provocative word. A beautiful word. A scandalous word. A marvelous word. A taken-for-granted word.

I deserve nothing.

“God,” wrote Max Lucado in his book Wild Grace (which I highly recommend), “answers the junk of life with one word: grace.

“We talk like we understand the term. The library gives us a grace period to pay a late fine. The no-good politician falls from grace. Musicians speak of a grace note. We describe an actress as gracious, a dancer as graceful. We use the word for hospitals, baby girls, kings, and pre-meal prayers. We talk like we know what grace means.

“Especially at church. Grace graces the songs we sing and the Bible verses we read. Grace shares the church office with its cousins: forgiveness, faith, and fellowship. Preachers explain it. Hymns proclaim it Bible schools teach it.

“Here’s my hunch: we’ve settled for wimpy grace. It politely occupies a phrase in a hymn, fits nicely on a church sign. Never causes trouble or demands a response. When asked, ‘Do you believe in grace?’ who could say no?

“This book asks a deeper question: Have you been changed by grace? Shaped by grace? Strengthened by grace? Emboldened by grace? Softened by grace? Snatched by the nape of your neck and shaken to your senses by grace? God’s grace has a drenching about it. A wildness about it. A whitewater, riptide, turn-you-upside-downness about it. Grace comes after you. It rewires you. From insecure to God-secure. From regret-riddled to better-because-of-it. From afraid to die to ready to fly. Grace is the voice that calls us to change and then gives us the power to pull it off. Once you encounter it, you’ll never be the same.”

Grace–real, wildwater grace–is the kind of grace that demands a response.

So respond.

My mentor, Emily House, has told me multiple times that “Thankfulness is the opposite of entitlement. It is impossible to complain when you’re being thankful.”

So if you’re struggling with selfishness, remember grace. Remember how far you were, how worthless, how sinful, how shameful, how lost, and remember the God who saved you from yourself, who loved you when you rejected him, ignored him, cursed him, denied him, and who never let you go, never gave up on you, and never will.

Grace is a God who stoops.” –Max Lucado

Just a little reminder. I know Thanksgiving is over, meaning its time to deck the halls and all that to get ready for Christmas, but everything I’ve said still applies. So happy holidays, and don’t forget what really counts.

–Bre