We didn’t sleep in on Saturday mornings. My dad sang through the house “Rise and Shine and give God the glory, glory…” and said that we needed to get out of bed before the sun warped our teeth…at 7, sometimes 8am-if we were lucky. (I have since learned that other people got to sleep in on Saturday mornings.)
Both my parents were do-ers. Relaxing wasn’t in our vocabulary – at least not until after all the work was done.
So it’s no surprise that in college, I jumped in to DO all that I could, serving as a freshman Senator on SGA, learning about all the different clubs and getting involved with many of them. I filled up my time with serving as an officer on different clubs, starting other ones, accompanying as many voice students as would let me, and playing praise music before chapel (which led to starting the Pfeiffer Praise Team). This, on top of double majoring-and double minoring AND serving as an Americorps Bonner Leader, completing 1200+ hours of community service. Needless to say, my Pfeiffer Gold (planner that the school gave us) was my life. I was a slave to my schedule, as they say, rushing from one club/appointment/class to the next , not able to even stop and have a conversation with people because I was on my way to the next thing. I even helped start a club called K.E.E.P. (Keeping Everyone Engaged at Pfeiffer), because well, if I was going to be so busy doing stuff, so should everyone else.
It was my junior year in college when I lost my Pfeiffer Gold. Around the same time, I got sick; I couldn’t sing, it hurt to even talk; I had severe headaches…it was awful. Yet, as I got my new Pfeiffer Gold, I realized that I didn’t need to fill it back up.
I was at some conference and someone asked me, “what do you like to do for fun?” and I honestly couldn’t answer the question.
So, thanks to some wise advice from Dr. Dean, I learned to say no. I dropped out of several clubs; I told a music faculty person that I was not going to practice every day (he didn’t like that very much). I even took a semester off of playing the piano. I tried some different things to see what I actually enjoyed doing rather than filling my time with obligatory DO-ing. And around the same time, I met Jonathan.
Jesus is my Savior, but I’m pretty sure that Jonathan is Jesus’ sidekick. I started making a list of all the things that Jonathan taught me, even in those first few years…but it got too long for this post. So I’ll just say, when we had “the talk” about our relationship, I said to him, “I want to have fun, but I want to be serious…” and he said, “…but not too serious to where we don’t have fun.” And that’s pretty much what he has taught me. To not be too serious. To not be too busy for the sake of being busy. To not live on the adrenaline rush that stress provides. And to sleep in on (occasional) Saturday mornings.
John Wesley said, “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.” We like to focus on the DOing part of this quote. It’s encouraging, challenging us to go beyond where we normally go, to expand the ways that we do good, etc. But as I’ve been reflecting on this quote for our summer youth mission trip, it’s that last part that I have grown to love and find the most challenging – “for as long as ever you can.” We can only DO so much good as our bodies can handle before we need to rest, to play, to stop and have fun, (before getting back to the doing). And in the resting, we are refreshed and renewed for the continued work we are called to do.
So thanks to Jonathan for teaching me to have fun and to not take things too seriously. Thanks to all the people who put up with my way-too-much-seriousness. Thanks to those of you who help me unwind and laugh (there are too many of you to name, you know who you are). And thank you to my youth who are a constant reminder to be silly and enjoy every moment.
*if you haven’t noticed, my post titles are song lyrics/titles. today’s are worth mentioning:
F is for friends who do stuff together
U is for you and me
N is for anywhere and anytime at all
Down here in the deep blue sea