Last week I sat down to wade through the drafted posts here, the words that never turned into sentences and the sentences that never saw the light of day. I came across this draft from summer of 2013. Somehow my post-grad self needed to read these words and I wonder if maybe you do, too. There are times we’re called to do, to speak, to make, to write, to act. But sometimes? We just need to open our hands, let the non-eternal stuff go, and trust Him.
The newly-graduated high school class stared back at me. After asking how to handle roommates and what to get involved in, they bluntly asked: In just a few words, what’s the biggest piece of advice you can give us?
The words that left my lips shocked me.
“Remember that not everything is a big deal.”
This, from the girl who got all As and one B+ in high school. This, from the girl who basically never said the word “no” and therefore did way too much. This, from the girl who cried when she got a bad grade and then spent eleven hours studying for the next test, determined to do better.
“Not everything is a big deal.”
(I learned the truth of those five words through time and tears.)
It’s important to do your best. It’s great to be involved and make new friends, to reach out and walk through life with community. Listen, it is good to study hard, to pay attention in class and in conversations, and to love much and love well. Do those things.
But there will still come a time when you get a bad grade. After hours of studying and preparing, you’ll fail a test. You’ll watch other people skip class and still manage to receive a perfect grade. The concepts that come naturally to the people sitting around you won’t make sense inside, at least not at first.
There will be a day when community fails you. You’ll need them and they won’t be there. Whether intentional or not, you will be hurt by cutting words or a rude glance. And although you’ll want to give a defense or put up walls, you’ll know that the right choice is to speak truth and continue to love to the best of your ability.
And if you’re anything like me, there will be a Monday when you trip up the same set of stairs. Twice.
Listen close: It’s not the end of the world.
Listen closer: These moments matter. They aren’t the end of the world, but they still hurt. They are real, leaving you frustrated, confused and embarrassed. Right in the middle of doing your best and loving your people, life happens.
Let it go. Breathe. Look up.
When you find that you’re no longer fixing your eyes on what is eternal but instead looking solely at the brokenness of this world, look up. Fix your eyes and remind your soul of what is true.
That test you bombed? Ask for help from the ones who understand the concepts. Humble yourself and allow them to teach what you don’t understand. Do your best and then leave the rest.
When someone hurts you, remember that hurt people hurt people. We are all broken. The one(s) you love may have no earthly idea what they’ve done, so don’t forget to carry grace. God sees and He knows. He is no stranger to a heart hurt by a dear friend.
And if you happen to trip up the stairs — twice — then email me so we can laugh together. Because the ability to laugh at yourself is one of the biggest grace-gifts you can give yourself.
Pick your battles and decide ahead of time what hill you’re willing to die on. What’s worth the conflict? What can you let go of?
This world is broken and humans are messy. There will be hard conversations and situations that should be dealt with, absolutely. But that eternal perspective? It is key. It changes everything.
I don’t know who said it first, but somewhere I saw it: let go and let God.
This doesn’t mean we shirk our responsibilities or ignore what we’re called to. It doesn’t mean we live apathetically. Instead, we live with intentionally. We walk around with eyes fixed on Him, ready to join Him in His work, trusting that He is with us and He’s got it – whatever “it” is.