Still

In a society that is full of targeted content, noise and over-stimulation, it’s easy to become exhausted from sensory overload. You can respond to an email, schedule an appointment and accept an invitation all while walking to class. We’ve gotten into this habit of always doing something. College students, of all people, are always on the go. A lot of us push ourselves to the point of breaking just to make sure we’re successful and land that perfect job right after college. This mode of thinking started way before college, even before high school for some of us.

In middle school, I played two sports, participated in five different clubs and had to make straight A’s. When it was time to apply for college, it wasn’t that much different. It was ingrained in our heads to do everything we could to make ourselves look like the best applicant. We had to stay busy to compete with others, so we played sports, were members of three different honor societies, volunteered, worked jobs, took up hobbies. We literally did everything.

Naturally, this habit of going, going, going followed us to college. During the first week of school, I signed up for tons of email lists to stay up-to-date on meetings, deadlines and important announcements. Before classes started, my orientation leader encouraged us to sign up for clubs, but told us that we probably weren’t going to end up being involved with all of them. Of course, I thought I was capable of handling a billion things, so I ignored her advice and believed I could take on all of that and more.

It’s safe to say I was proven wrong not even a week after I had started school. I realized I couldn’t be in seven different clubs and I would have to choose things that were important to me. There were some things I stayed with, while some I let go. Even now, after four years of trying to manage my hectic schedule, I’m still so busy, running from this class to this job to this next thing. There’s always a next thing. It can be overwhelming, especially on days when I feel like I barely have any time to breathe.

As a college student, I have a hard time saying no to things. Maybe that’s just my personality, but I jump on every opportunity presented to me, even though I KNOW I don’t need another thing on my plate. I’m always saying yes. We’re presented with so many opportunities when we first enter college that we often find ourselves trying to take on everything and then some.

In the midst of going, we forget to stop. We forget to take a second, pause and appreciate where we are in life. We forget to be still.

For some, still isn’t even a word in your vocabulary. But it should be. Learning to be still is a super hard process for somebody like me who is always on the go, but it’s so rewarding. Being still is not sitting on your phone, watching TV, praying or planning. It’s quieting your mind and just being. Some people choose to be still by meditating, some disappear for a day and cut themselves off from technology and some take a couple deep breaths to calm themselves down.

In my Branding of Me class, we meditate for a couple of minutes at the start of every class. During one of these classes, my professor showed a TED talk on Headspace founder, Andy Puddicombe, and the importance of clearing your mind.

“All it takes is ten mindful minutes per day to step back and familiarize yourself with the present moment so that you get to experience a greater sense of focus, calm and clarity in your life.”

I don’t want to live my life exhausted or out of focus — I want to be present, energetic, connected. Connected to people, connected to myself, connected to God.

God says, “Be still and know that I am God.” {Psalm 46:10}

Be still. This is a call to stop, to drop everything we’re doing, to quit being frantic. It’s a call to be. Know. Without being still, it’s hard to be aware and acknowledge others and yourself. When I’m not still, it’s easy to let distractions, responsibilities and problems take over, making it harder for me to be aware of God working in my life.

There are 720 minutes in a day. Take 10 of those to slow down. Constantly being on the go will cause you to miss out on what’s happening right now, in this moment. The next time you find yourself going into overdrive, stop. Take a step back, clear your head and be still. That email can wait.

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