slow down.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I should really get into the habit of blogging more than once a month.

Time is flying by, so insanely fast. Weekends come and I think "I should really update my blog," but then I get distracted, I get busy, I get swamped with some sudden work, and suddenly - it's Sunday night and I'm getting myself prepared for another big week.

That didn't happen this week.

Four day has granted me some room to breathe, a chance to catch up and an afternoon of leisure reading with a latte at my favorite Starbucks where I actually have some time to write.

A lot has happened since I've last updated. I was in a very weird spot the last time I sat down at my desk, opened my blog and sat looking at the template, scared of what I could write, frightened of what I could publish onto the world wide web, but motivated by a burning sensation in my soul that could only be extinguished by allowing it to burn free. I was hurting, I felt like someone had punched me in the stomach and was standing there, waiting for a response, waiting for a reaction, waiting for something. And I sat there, doubled-over, unsure of what to do next.

In the course of a month a lot can change.

Slowly, but surely, I began to feel better again. I began to wake up and feel excited about the days, I wore a smile that genuinely reflected how I was doing, I laughed - not to cover up that burning sensation, but a response to joy. A response to feeling okay again. I am feeling okay again.

Life has settled into it's normal routine, classes go by, exams are taken, hall events are executed. I wake up each morning, have my cup of coffee, write in my journal, and set off to take down the day. I come back, I do my homework, I chat with friends, I clean up and I go to bed.

It seems like the only chance I really get to sit and reflect on the events of a day are when I am laying in bed, staring at my ceiling, in darkness, slowly going through the moments of the day before I drift off to sleep. I replay moments, I think words over, I wonder if I made the most out of the day. I think about when I woke up that morning, when the first words that came to mind were "When is the next time I can take a nap?" as I sleepily stumbled out of bed and shut off my alarm. I think about the busyness of the day, not being able to take a seat on one of the many wooden benches on campus and simply sit, and be. I think about eating meals while doing homework, literally flooding every moment of free time with the next load of work to be done. And before I finally drift off for 6-8 hours of sleep, I think, "what if things could be different?" I think...why can't I slow down?

Slow down.

No one ever tells college students to slow down, unless they're telling us to stop driving so fast down Cold Springs road. No one tell us this because I think they just expect that we are too busy to slow down. That we are so flooded with homework, and social work, and life work, that every aspect of our lives become work. "Doing work" and "slowing down" are polar opposities. They don't work together. As long as we are "doing work" we aren't intentionally slowing down. And even if we do finish the work - there simply isn't enough time to slow down. We want to move forward, we want to finish what is next, we don't have time to slow down. It's a self-destructing habit, it's a cycle we're stuck in and we don't have one damn idea about how to break out of it.

We have to be intentional about slowing down.
We have to look at ourselves in the mirror, declare that busyness is not okay, and make the small steps that allow us to slow down.

Four day has allowed me to slow down.

I took this weekend slowly. I let myself stop and breathe. I didn't overload myself with work, I didn't spend every little moment getting work done and getting ahead. I let myself stop - if only for a day, I let myself slow down. It came in little aspects. Sleep in one day. Spend a night writing instead of writing a paper. Go to Starbucks and read a book not related to your classes. Walk down state street with no place in particular to go. Sit and stare out the window. Let yourself think. Let yourself slow down.

I'm a point in my life where busyness is becoming the norm. It's a good thing to have work to do, I'm the most comfortable when I am slightly overwhelmed, I drown myself in work to find purpose. I seek achievement from crossing off everything from my to-do list. I am locating my identity in what I have done rather than who I really am. 

And that's not okay.

Sure, I've accomplished a lot. People tell me I have a gift in staying on top of things, I excel in organization and getting work finished. That's a great skill to have, but that's not what I want my life to look like. I don't want to feel good about myself based on how much work I have done. I want to feel good about myself everyday, despite if it's been productive or not. Why not slow down a little bit each day? The work will still get done, the homework finished, and I'll be able to start placing my identity in something else. Something more meaningful. Something that will last far longer than a grade in a class or a finished to-do list. Something divine.

I think I need to work on finding my identity in God.

It's more than writing "strength and dignity" on my mirror, or scribbling "agape" on my hand during long lectures where I can't stay focused on the subject manner. In this season of my life, I really want to intentionally see myself the way God does. To the beauty that he used when he created me, the love that he continously exhibits as he fashions my futures and walks with me through my days. God looks upon me and sees something radical, sees someone whom He loves entirely, sees someone who He created in his image, who he cares about and wants the best for. He sees something I'm not sure I've discovered yet.

Maybe it's time to slow down and discover that someone.

And maybe you want the same as well.

Don't make busyness the norm. Don't refuse to slow down because you don't have time. Don't look at yourself and define yourself based on the work you have done, are doing, or didn't do. You are the only one who can change that way of life. You are the only one who can reconstruct your daily life, who can start to discover the person who God sees when He looks at you.

Find that person.
And slow down.

Respectfully submitted,


  1. Woah. My housemates and I just talked about this yesterday. Crazy sauce, mayn.