People, senioritis is real.
As the year goes on, it gets harder and harder to justify putting a lot of effort into schoolwork. My grad school applications are already out (meaning no one is going to see these grades, right?), there are people to spend time with whom I might not ever see again after May and, if nothing else, three and a half years of college tell me that sometimes it’s just more important to sleep.
Feeling a lack of enthusiasm for school this semester was no big surprise. But it’s a little more complicated than that. Mostly I think it’s the gap in time between submitting grad school applications and hearing back. The initial work is done. I’m just waiting.
And waiting is a complicated place.
I’m a planner. Having a schedule makes my life more comfortable, and when a long term schedule just doesn’t exist, I subconsciously retreat into wishes. Maybe it’s a coping mechanism. I have no idea where I’ll be living next fall, but it probably won’t be here. I can spend the time that I would naturally spend in planning what comes next by imagining how life would look if I moved to such a place or if I had such a job or if I got into this Masters program. It’s something I can put mental and emotional energy into, almost as if it was a real plan. And really there’s no harm, right? I’m just waiting anyway.
Except that’s wrong. There is harm. There is deep spiritual and emotional harm in putting my mental energy into pretend plans just because I’m uncomfortable not having real ones. There are a few things that happen.
- If I invest emotional energy into my imaginary future, my prayers become less about surrendering to God and more about what sounds lovely in my head. But God, Chicago would be fun. Isn’t Chicago a good idea, God?
- I’m not practicing gratitude. If I’m slipping into daydreams about how fun it will be when I’m somewhere else, that’s kind of like coveting a life that isn’t this one.
- I’m loving nobody well. Not my professors, if I’m not demonstrating the investment they deserve in return for teaching. Not my friends, if I’m only viewing them as people I’m going to leave soon, as a commodity on which to glut my heart now. Not my family, if I let my worry about the unknown overshadow everyday joy for the last few months I live in the same house with them. (It turns out, a fairly accurate litmus test for the spiritual wholesomeness of a situation is how it causes me to treat the people closest to me. And worry and weariness don’t make me a very good daughter.)
- My eyes are not open to ministry right here and right now. If I’m emotionally checking out, thinking that it doesn’t matter much what I do because after all I won’t be around much longer, then I’m subconsciously telling God that I don’t trust him very much. That these next few months just aren’t long enough for Him to accomplish anything through me, so I can pretty much stop caring.
These are individual problems, but they point to the general need to practice presence. The need to work diligently, trust God joyously, and love the people around me in practical, un-jealous ways. To trust that God has given me these day and these minutes with as much intentionality as he’s given all the rest of them. And to be thankful.
So that’s what I’m working on this semester. In the fourteen weeks until graduation, as well as in whatever comes after, I’m praying for the grace to be present. In all the unknown, I’m seeking the rest that comes from confidence that my God is faithful. And He’s given me this day.
How do you practice presence in times of uncertainty?
Krystiana Kosobucki, Student in Impact at IUPUI