I have not written a Sunday Pause since January, and this is only my second post for the year. Yikes.
Sunday Pause was adapted from a daily reflection guide I followed last year. The point was to take time off at the end of every week to count my blessings, to surrender or seek help for my troubles, and to figure out what God might have been trying to tell me for that week.
My life has gotten fuller and busier since I started this series so I haven’t had the time (or will) for it. But I think that makes now a better time than ever for me to just pause.
What I’m Thankful For
Everywhere on self-help books and websites, you’ll see people talking against stressing yourself out by doing too much. My problems and my anxieties have nearly always been the opposite: I don’t do quite enough.
Two months into my senior year, however, and that has changed significantly. I spend a lot of time outside of the condo, surrounded by people, and caring about the work that I do. I still have plenty of off days, and I still revert back to being antisocial and depressed sometimes.
But the improvement is so important to me because I have been praying for this for so long. I knew that movement, progress, and purpose would keep my emotional state healthier. I think it’s working. I have a long way to go, sure, but right now I am so happy with how far I’ve come.
I’m thankful for chances to do better, when I don’t do quite so well on the first try. I’m thankful for people who are ever so patient with me and help me as soon as I ask for it. I’m thankful for brilliant teachers and impossibly kind ones. I’m thankful for turmoil that challenges me to think about whether I’m happy with my direction or not.
There is just so much conflict, of good and bad things, that propels me forward. I am strangely thankful for both.
What I’m Praying For
Still, I have so much to overcome. I was telling someone about how I often kneel down to pray about small things, like an exam or an approaching challenge, but what I always end up saying are much bigger things. I pray about faith and suffering, about the complexities of living and why people are the way they are.
I think these are the things I really want to ask. I think God knows if I’m having a hard time in this class or that, and even then He wouldn’t magically give me the answers just because I prayed for them. If I pray about a challenge, I’m only praying for strength and comfort. So still I pray: for midterms, for thesis, for this class I’m falling in love with and this class I’m falling out of love with. And I pray for my friends and orgmates who are going through the same, or perhaps very different, struggles.
But I also pray for the questions inside me, the ones that leak whenever I am kneeling in sacred places. I pray to discover what kind of faith I have, or to build the kind of faith I want, depending on how faith really works. I pray that inner conflict leads me somewhere great; that I will one day realize why people always seek divine mysteries; that I will eventually find what I am looking for, or just find out why I can’t have it.
God’s Words to Me
The encounter I had with stillness last Wednesday, although wordless, was a pretty important message for me. I’m not sure if I can do it justice, but here’s me trying: What I heard in that quiet was the message of seeking something one doesn’t understand, and of never understanding what one seeks or why.
In second year of university, I started challenging the saying that “God has a plan” because the God I believed in loved me too much to rob me of free will, which is the implication of being tied to a Master Plan. But this week I began to think that maybe there is a plan, but one that is not bound by the limitations that I believe there to be; there is a not a pre-written story over which I have no control, but there is a purpose for life and there is a reason why things are the way there. These things are simply not subject to the finite human logic. Maybe.
And the last message I got came in the form of a Facebook note written by my University president, where he related physics to faith, about how Jesus came to set the world on fire, not to calm it. “The one who can soothe us is here to disturb us,” he wrote. But calm and courage are both things I have been needing more and more of lately. And maybe both are things He can promise me soon.
I leave you with my favorite part:
Have a happy week ahead, friends :)