Most of us came to Bob Jones University with different expectations, different goals and different mindsets. For some, these four years are to make as many friends as possible; for others, they are to get the A’s that they did not get in high school; yet for another group, these are the years to be busy.
Regardless of our goals, a subconscious, unbreakable prejudice tells us college is not a time to rest. Whenever someone asks us how we are doing, it is now a custom to answer, “Tired,” without even thinking about it because we believe that that is always an accurate answer. Our expectation of no sleep is also reflected in our surprised faces when friends tell us they have slept more than six hours.
However, lately I have been asking myself if God truly designed this season to be without rest. Although that has been my perspective for the past year, I figured this could not be true since God Himself is rest (Matthew 11:28-30, Psalm 62:1), and His heart is not to deprive His people of who He is. In a way, to think that the college years are years of busyness and not of rest is to think that this season limits us from experiencing some of God’s attributes and prevents us from enjoying all that He is and offers.
Christ affirms that those who come to Him will find rest — rest how he defined it, not as we imagine it. Perhaps we have a distorted view of what rest looks like, and we cannot find it because we have been searching in all the wrong places.
Maybe rest is not found in the free time we desperately crave but in setting aside time to learn from the One that carries our burdens (Psalm 55:22).
Maybe rest is not found in lesser assignments but in trusting the grace that works best in our weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Maybe rest is not found in countless naps per day but in waking up earlier to surrender our tired selves to God, who “will never sleep nor slumber” (Psalm 121:1).
Indeed, God uses a good sleeping cycle and activities that relax us to refuel our energy, but we so often pursue these means of rest that we forget the Source itself, and therefore we are never satisfied. In these last few days, I realized that busyness does not eliminate the possibility of rest; it triggers it. Tiredness motivates us to look beyond temporary physical relief and search for a Source that is strong enough to sustain us through the most challenging days.
College is a season that carves a hole of weariness so deep that it leads us to find Rest Himself, not simulations of rest.