Mindset of Sabbath can provide direction, confidence for end of year

Tori Hoffman

How many times have you cried this week? So far, I’ve cried twice. As we sit in the second to last week of the academic year, the question of crying seems more telling than “How are you?”

As seniors preparing to graduate, many of us find ourselves asking, “Where did the time go?” No matter how ready we feel to move on, there still doesn’t seem to be enough time to finish what we have to and establish a sense of closure.

As much as we wish we could focus on the summer albums being dropped, plan for a vacation and spend time with those we love most, we cannot deny the chain of important decisions currently demanding our time and attention. Oh yeah, in addition to final papers, projects and exams.

This is the time when we need a meaningful break most.

At this point, we are familiar with procrastinating, that is not what I am encouraging. I am advocating for everyone, but especially struggling senior students to reimagine their motivation and realign themselves according to it.

When I was at my lowest point this quarter, I knew that de-stress tips weren’t going to cut it.  I had lost all motivation for the courses, jobs and responsibilities that I was committed to. I felt even worse that the ambition that brought me to SPU was not strong enough to get me “through” what I needed to.

From that experience, I learned that we can pray for a sense of direction, love and protection, but we can also take time to remember the meaning behind everything we are currently doing and focus on it.

I see power in small, mindful changes, don’t get me wrong. I believe in the value of a good stretch in the morning and/or before bed, a 30-minute jog even when you don’t think you have time for it or making time for lunch in the sun or with people if you usually eat inside on your own.

However, I know that intentional shifts to one’s attitude and approach to their work can provide energy, guidance and uplift spirits when it is need most, to provide the energy necessary to make material changes.

With countless expectations and suggestions for how to get the best job, how to graduate with purpose and even how to take it all with a grain of sand, it’s not that hard to feel overwhelmed. We are told to plan, but to be flexible, to ask for help, but to be confident, to cherish the relationships we have now, but to be excited for the future.

It can be exhausting to try to do the “right” thing or strike the “perfect” balance. That is why practicing Sabbath can replenish our drive and give meaning to our efforts. After all, the formal practice of “Shabbat” is done in hope of living deeper in Jesus together and not allowing our lives to be ruled by work.

As the Roman Stoic philosopher Seneca once said, every new beginning comes from another beginning’s end. No matter how many windows or doors may be opening for us, we will be closing a door at Seattle Pacific University and a lot that comes with it.

For most of us, this is the first time we have lived on our own, paid rent and utility bills, on top of you know, earning a bachelor’s degree. There is a lot to be celebrated, a lot to cherish while we still can and a lot of unknown ahead of us.

Being brave is about acknowledging the fears you have and facing them anyway, not simply having no fear. I’ve gone into situations where I didn’t have every detail figured out, but I had faith that it would work out for the best.

This time, there is more to say goodbye to, more that I have established on my own, and the temptation to hold onto regrets presents itself every now and then.

I will likely come to wish I had done some things differently, but right now is the time to decide that whatever happened during these years, happened. I can’t change it. I can’t go back. All I can do is learn the lessons we need to learn and move forward.

With creating our own path will come joy and excitement that’s not possible if we travel the path with least resistance.

Overwhelmed or not, we are here. With all the pressure on us, we are looking forward.