And study. Trade restrictions and comparative advantages and the “economic pie.” Structural biases and the Hutchins Commission, “les expressions avec faire” and “le futur proche,” symbolism in “Cinderella” and the impact of Christianity in Korea. It never ends.
I really thought things would have slowed down a bit by now, school-wise. I mean, I didn’t stop working for a day over Thanksgiving break. I thought I caught up, mais non, as we say in le francais. Hashtag overwhelmed.
This is why this week’s list of essentials features items a bit deeper in meaning than, say, Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter, or cute boots, or other things I would typically fawn over in this space. Because I needed a lot more than that this week. I needed real stuff. And by that I mean truth. God’s word. Check out what really caught my eye this week.
1. Ecclesiastes 7:14. “When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, no one can discover anything about their future.” To me this means: I don’t need to freak out just because I’m not happy with something, or just because something doesn’t work out. God loves me, and He is good, and He is in control, and He doesn’t let me suffer for no reason- even with a miserable research paper! He cares about that stuff, as small as it is.
2. 1 Corinthians 15:58. “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” How’s that for motivation? If you do what you do for God, then it matters, no matter what it is: working a tiresome job, attending a less-than-thrilling class, treating with kindness that person whom you just can’t stand. I think that’s pretty cool.
3. 2 Corinthians 1:8b-9. “We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.” Wow wow wow. Read that a few times and just let it sink in.
4. 1 Thessalonians 5:18. “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I love how clear this is. Wondering what God’s will for you is? Well hey, part of it’s right here: give thanks in all circumstances. Couldn’t be much clearer. One thing that happens when I really make an effort to do this is my struggles start looking really little compared to all my blessings. And on the really really bad days, I start being thankful wherever I can. Sometimes I just start with: “Lord, thank you that I’m even alive; that I exist. That I have two legs that work, and all my senses.” et cetera. And all I have to be thankful for puts everything in perspective really really quickly.
5. Psalm 118:6. “The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” Pretty powerful, especially when I’m feeling worried or scared.
If finals got ya feelin’ down, I hope this helps. I know I feel encouraged just by reading all these verses again.
Just remember: these aren’t just pretty motivational phrases. If you take them that way, you’re missing the point. It’s not the amount of faith you possess, but who it’s placed in that matters. Place it in God.