This morning, I woke up at 9:15 AM.
At this point, I had already missed two meetings and was well on my way to having a horrible day. This would not have been so bad except for the fact that yesterday, I woke up at 8:35 AM, missing most of one of my most important classes. Obviously, my first natural reaction was to become frustrated with myself. I simply couldn’t understand how TWO days in a row I could consistently fail myself by not doing something as simple as waking up in the morning. I felt like I had let people down, and with midterms coming up, I started to project that failure to other areas of my life. In a matter of minutes I was all but storming out the door full of negative thoughts.
It happens every time there’s a failed test, a terrible date, a fight with a friend. If you’re anything like me, you tend to take one negative situation and allow it to settle somewhere in the back of your mind. We’re human, and we are consistently messing up, making mistakes, and failing to meet expectations.
Sometimes, it all becomes very tiring. Negativity has a way of weighing us down like no other. As I walked to my third meeting of the day, I literally could feel a tightening in my chest, as if the pressure of my failures, the weight of my shortcomings, the burden of my mistakes had all decided to attack me at once.
And then, a word: Breathe.
So simple. So foundational. And yet so hard for me to understand.
In our everyday lives, we are so tempted to “live life to the fullest” by filling every waking moment with activities. We strive to impress our peers by being elected to this club or organization, or getting this grade on a test, or having this many friends on Facebook.
We strive and strive and strive…
And often times, we’re successful. We get that affirmation that we so desperately seek. We have trophies on our dressers, pictures on our Instagrams, items to add to our resumes. But these accomplishments have their own drawbacks. With our newfound identities as President of such and such, or girlfriend of so and so, we find ourselves constantly having to keep up with others’ expectations of us. We find ourselves completely overwhelmed in a game that we’ve created—the game of always trying to be “more.”
More pretty. More popular. More smart. More connected. More…
When do we reach “enough?”
In that moment that God spoke to me that simple word, “breathe”, I realized that I had once again fallen into the trap of “more.” I had once again come to believe the world’s demands of me were all that mattered.
I took a moment to breathe. And in that moment, I was no longer the Vice President of some club, the Honors student, the oldest daughter, the socialite. In that moment, it didn’t matter how many meetings I had missed or what my next midterm’s grade was going to be or if I was going to make it to fall break.
In that moment, the only identity that I carried was the one that had been given to me: child of God.
It’s not anything that I had to work for. It comes with no expectations, no demands, no requirements.
With this single identity, I am enough.
So if you find yourself stressed at the end of a hard week, anxious for the weeks to come, wondering if you will ever be able to have more, do more, or become more, can I just suggest taking a moment? Maybe stopping to admire this lovely fall weather.
Breathe. Remind yourself that you are a loved son or daughter of God. And that’s all you’ll ever need to be.