college & career, lifestyle, relationships

Quell the Storm.

Yesterday I was driving to work and my freshly made Blue Bottle coffee was sitting in my cup holder when I went a little too fast over a speed bump. The coffee flew up into the air into some amorphous shape, and as if in Matrix slow-motion, spilt on my brand new light wash jeans. Just, great.

And someone actually told me the other day, “Wow, you look like you have it all together.” I actually laughed in response, because my life is more confusing, unorganized, and overlapping than ever before. Friends are coming and going, classes are flying past me, and my relationship with Jesus has been at an all time low priority. I’ve been living in a gray, inclement, thundery storm. In the midst of this mess, I’ve lost my focus for just about anything other than what’s immediately in sight.

I’ve always felt the need to do more than expected, to load up on courses, to work two or even three jobs, and have a part time internship during the semester. This all stems from some deep insecurity within that tells me I am not good enough. I could be doing more. I could be making more money. I could be taking more classes. I could be networking with more people. I could be starting my own magazine, band, or novel. 

But just the other night, I was praying about this very thing. I asked God what I needed to do so that things could work out. And then I opened my bible to Philippians 4. The Apostle Paul tells us not to be anxious about anything and to seek what is true and noble. Then the God of peace will be with us.

Stumbling on this passage hit me so hard. I’ve become someone who is so used to the high-stress level of my life that I’ve merely tucked it away as something that comes naturally. But it’s not natural. None of the nail-biting nights, dangling deadlines, and nerve-wrecking applications should be normal. The rational thing would be to have someone literally slap me awake. But, instead of choosing to ignore this very real thing, I’ve gone on living like I’m in a haze. Time is no longer a measuring stick—instead hours melt into hours as I go through the motions.

It’s a type of rebellion that is hard to overcome, because it is a productivity that can be marked normal for a college student for me. “Where’s Anashe?” “Oh, she’s busy…” I’ve forsaken so much of what I hold dear. In doing so I’ve forgotten to value the friends and family who have done so much for me, and I’ve also forgotten to get rid of the hematophytes.

More and more I’ve seen how I’ve used this story to excuse my absence from important things. I’ve become so far removed from everything (which is a terrible combination because I also have a severe fear of missing out). Trust me, I’ve tried everything humanly possible to remedy this problem. But the solution isn’t found in humans. Living a fully alive life in Christ is the answer. It’s a tough, often impossible answer. If I come home after a full day, there will always be an emptiness if I haven’t talked to God or opened up my bible.

Habit becomes character.

I don’t want my character to be known as flaky. I don’t want my character to be known as passive. I’ve been in this lull for too long. I am not quandary. I am a child of God—and that means I am vivacious, life-giving, and full of love. I think one thing is clear: I need to constantly come to God and pray about my life, to give me peace and guidance in my relationships with others around me. So here goes trying to be more present, to be more alive, to be the real me. Here I go pleading for God to quell the storm.

words and photo by Anashe Barton

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A learner by heart, I take the lessons that pass me in life and turn them into little gifts. After I study in the great halls of Oxford, you'll find me mountaineering on the Isle of Skye or the Outer Hebrides until I die.

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