“One hand full of rest is better than two fists full of labor and striving after wind.”

[Ecclesiastes 4:6]

How many of you feel like college is a giant pressure cooker? Like there are countless expectations that you’ll never be able to meet yet you find yourself constantly trying to meet them? I know that’s how I felt for much of college. And finals only intensified those feelings. When I look back on those moments, I’m reminded of a song I used to listen to. The following are some of the lyrics from the song “Stressed Out” by The Twenty-One Pilots. I encourage you to go listen while reading along.

I wish I found some better sounds no one’s ever heard

I wish I had a better voice that sang some better words

I wish I found some chords in an order that is new

I wish I didn't have to rhyme every time I sang

I was told when I get older all my fears would shrink

But now I’m insecure and I care what people think

My name's Blurryface and I care what you think

My name's Blurryface and I care what you think

Wish we could turn back time, to the good old days

When our momma sang us to sleep but now we’re stressed out

Wish we could turn back time, to the good old days

When our momma sang us to sleep but now we’re stressed out

We're stressed out

….

We used to play pretend, give each other different names

We would build a rocket ship and then we’d fly it far away

Used to dream of outer space but now they’re laughing at our face

Saying, "Wake up, you need to make money"

Yeah

When I hear this song I’m often reminded of how quickly I lose childlike freedom and dependence only to replace it with fear, striving and self-reliance. The song writer describes in the beginning how he wishes he was different and admits that he cares too much about what “Blurryface” thinks. Blurryface. All those people who we think care about every little thing we do when in reality they don’t. Instead, we give them control of our lives by living for their expectations of us. That’s crazy. We willingly walk into a prison cell of insecurity and then give the key to people who aren’t even asking for it. Will make ourselves captive to people who aren’t even interested in being our captors!

Then all the writer of the song wants to do is go back to the good ole’ days as a kid. He wants to escape. He talks about people pressuring him to give up his childhood dreams for the sake of making money. Sound familiar? Do you feel like you’ve given up on doing the things that give you the life because you have to make good grades because you have to graduate at the top of your class because you have to get a job because you have to get dental insurance??

Did you know that wind is something that no human can catch? It’s no different when it comes to your future. The future that you think you must have isn’t something you can catch with your own two hands. You can’t catch it with no amount of hard work alone. That’s why the writer of Ecclesiastes 4:6 says, “One hand full of rest is better than two fists full of labor and striving after wind.” The writer says he’d rather have an hour of rest than two hours of frantically cramming to study the night before a test. He’d rather have peace in his soul than information in his brain. I’m not saying don’t study. And I’m definitely not saying don’t work hard, but maybe we need to prioritize rest rather than prioritizing working to catch perfection that we’ll never be able to catch.

So go and do those childlike things that give you rest during this finals week. Watch Christmas movie, jam out to some music, go out to eat. Grab your friends and go be outside. Literally do anything that will take you away from your studies. One of my favorite things to do to rest, and I know this might sound crazy, is to sit and be still for a little bit. Set your phone aside, take your earbuds out and just sit with Jesus. Ask Him to bring rest to your soul. Ask Him to remind you what He says about you and what He promises about your life. In case you need a reminder, He doesn’t promise an easy life, but He promises to take care of you and give you what you need (Matthew 6). So I challenge you to substitute 2 hours of frustrated frantic studying for 1 hour of rest because those 2 hours of striving aren’t going to help you catch the wind.

-Adam



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