In my three and a half years as an MC student, I've noticed a lot of things about our campus' culture. We have our fashion trends and popular bands and strange (but understandable) obsession with Whataburger. We have our coffee-date habits and road trip plans. And I know that these are only a few of the things that make MC what it is. Yet, in the midst of all of these things that leave us refreshed and laughing, we have a habit of busyness that seems to dictate how we make our schedules.
During my sophomore year, I spread myself as thin as possible. When I was setting up my schedule, both academically and socially for that semester, I said yes to every opportunity that came my way. For some reason, I believed that I had to overcommit in order to have a good year. I thought that to make the most of my time at MC, I had to give away every free moment I had. From involvement in a tribe, my job, an internship, school, and more things that I can't even remember now, I was over my head in all the things I had signed up to do. But, that didn't stop me from saying yes to anything else that I had the chance to participate in. Seriously, I was unstoppable (or so I thought).
Whenever people would ask me about my life, I would proudly talk about how busy I was. I would list off my involvements as though they were badges of honor. I would talk about how tired I was, because (in the mind of sophomore Ashton (who was wrong)) sleep was the most logical thing for me to sacrifice in the midst of my self-inflicted chaos.
What I didn't realize is that I wasn't leaving any room for people to need me. I gave away every free minute of my day, while also exhausting myself so much that I had nothing to offer anyone. I couldn't be there for my friends, I couldn't give 100% to all of my commitments, and I couldn't take care of myself. While I believed that being so busy was making me worthy of some sort of invisible badge, in reality, it was hurting my friendships and my mental health.
Sooner than later, sophomore Ashton crashed and burned. I had to learn the hard way that busy isn't, in fact, a badge of honor. I was living under that title, adding it to my identity and allowing all of its commands to rule my life. It didn't go well.
We aren't made to work like machines seven days a week (hello thank you God for the sabbath). We weren't made to be all the things. We weren't made to be slaves to our schedules. We were made to glorify our Creator in all we do, loving Him with everything we have. My sophomore year, I was working for my own glory. It's not fun to be so busy that you don't have time to ask yourself how you are or to give thanks for the little things.
I want to encourage you, friend, to ask yourself how you are. If you're too busy to think, reexamine all that you've committed to and pray about walking away from something. Being busy will not gain you any favor with anyone. Being overcommitted will not enrich your life at MC. Saying "no" to something will not make anyone hate you. We have to learn to love ourselves well. Life is too short for us to not give 100% everywhere we are.
Here's to learning.
Barista, Writer, Friend
PS-- If you ask yourself how you are and you feel overwhelmed, know that MC has free counseling services. There's no shame in asking for help. Seriously, counseling is one of the best things to ever happen to me. Click here to learn more.
PPS-- We've written a lot this year about rest and boundaries and valuing the things you choose to be involved in. If you want to read those things, click here to read about boundaries and here to read about being invested, not involved.