I was excited to take a trip back to South-South of Nigeria for the semester break. I knew it was going to be invigorating. I anxiously waited at baggage claim while spotting my mom a short distance away. My tummy twirled, in a good way. I was home, I could feel it. The ride back home was uneventful except when we got pulled over by the police for routine checks. But for once, I was not bothered.
As expected, mom commented on my collar bones and repeated a number of times, ‘you’ve not been eating well’. This was music to my ears because the intense weeks of exams had left me drained and dry. In a short moment, she arrayed different meals before me and my only problem was making a choice on what to eat. It was amazing! It felt like being on a Hawaiian beach (well, that’s without the water, and the beach- LOL). But I mean, I had fresh fruits and ate less of processed foods (except that one time I fell back to good ol’ noodles) 😀 I enjoyed being pampered and my parents did not hold back.
After the first couple of days, however, my mind could not fathom relaxation. I began to feel guilty. I needed to do stuff –lots of stuff. So I put in all my efforts around the house and made sure it was always sparkling. I sent copious emails to my supervisor while concurrently freaking out about my dissertation. And when there was nothing to worry about, my brain would generate some more.
Every day, my parents would remind me to rest and every day I would try to work myself to the bone. I fell ill but that did not deter me from working. On one of those days, I finally came to the realization that; ‘This holiday may feel too good to be true, but if you do not savour it to the fullest –without guilt, you’d end up craving for it again when you go back to continue the tedious school year’. And with that, I relaxed my body and mind. Worrying wasn’t gonna help me know my grades; worrying wasn’t gonna help me finish my dissertation. As a matter of fact, doing all the work at home wasn’t gonna make the work finish!
Live in the moment
A lot of you are like me. You struggle to rest or relax no matter how short a time you get to do so. But hey, try to live in the moment. When work comes, face it to the finish; when it’s time to study, study your hardest; and when you get that window of opportunity to rest, seize it!
Grace vs work
I’m a firm believer in grace. But I’ve also had to struggle with placing more emphasis on works. There’s always something about work that makes us feel we’ve earned the benefits accrued. While I was home enjoying the comfort and solace, my mind insisted that I keep working in order to earn that love. It was ridiculous. They loved me whether or not I cleaned the house. And it’s funny because that’s the same mindset some of us carry with God. He gives us his manifold blessings but we prefer to work ourselves to the bone so we know we earned it. It makes no sense. Grace is His unmerited favour towards us and we can only accept it with gratitude. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still good to work –my mom couldn’t stop praying blessings on me 😀 But get my point, you don’t work to earn grace; it’s freely given.
I had the most refreshing time at home –although the quiet moments were really quiet –but it helped me put my thoughts together. I saw the wonders of creation and worshipped God in the beauty of it all. I felt an overwhelming love both from my family and from God. I was able to live in the moment and count my blessings. My soul was renewed and my heart was detoxified. And now, I invite you to His rest.
Why is everyone hungry for more? “More, more,” they say.
I have God’s more-than-enough,
More joy in one ordinary day than they get in all their shopping sprees. At day’s end I’m ready for sound sleep, for you, God, have put my life back together. -Psalm 4:6-8