This semester has been a bit nuttier than others in the past.

Not because I’m barely staying afloat in my classes. They’re going fine. Not because I’m antsy about moving out of this square room. It smells of my Autumn Harvest candle and gives me access to a second closet full of cute clothes. Thanks, rooms ;)

I’m juggling, here. A full class load, my jobs as youth director and journalism intern, my identities as daughter, sister, fiancée, friend. I’m completely aware that I’m not the only one experiencing this, and it’s likely to happen many times in my future. But I’m also aware that sometimes my obligations interfere with what I believe to be true about myself.

I become a victim of the productivity monster. I see my to-do list with so many uncrossed items, and I simultaneously want to complete everything without stopping and throw it out the window. But I wouldn’t dare. I fall into the trap of thinking that my identity is built on this productivity, on writing the perfect story every week, on doing things in a way that pleases others, which pleases myself. With writing, in particular, I fight continual, unwelcome daily thoughts about how I’m not doing well, or enough.

And then I’m faced with the reality that this is not who I am.

This is not what defines me. And the day I forget that is the day I forget who I belong to, the God who reassures me that my very existence brings Him glory.

So I also encourage you to not feel bogged down by unrealistic expectations – not somebody else’s and certainly not your own. God made you and thinks you’re good. Shouldn’t we be trusting of that?

This beautiful fall day.


  1. Love it! I too feel like I am struggling with this. Every time I visit with my advisor she makes me feel like I am not doing good enough, but then I think who cares? As long as I have God on my side and my family and friends then everything is going to be alright. Of course, this could be the reason for my lack of motivation when it comes to studying ;) On another note, don’t you love having a fall scented room? It’s the best. I just made some pumpkin spice muffins too that are delicious! I will have to make some for you when/if you visit soon. Anywho, keep up the good writing and best of luck to you and your studies!

  2. I love you, you are doing great! I know you don’t think so sometimes, but I know you too well. We both have been getting bogged down with work and school. Keepin’ my eyes on the horizon :)

  3. Amen!

    By the way, life is a balancing act and we think you’re doing just fine:) Like Thomas says, keep looking at the big picture!

  4. Mal, I fall into that same trap regularly myself…judging my worth based on how much I think I’ve accomplished, like how clean my house is or how many items I can cross off my list. It can be hard to keep it all in perspective. It helps to remember that I am a daughter of God and He loves me no matter what. I’m glad I found your blog! Great post to start off my day. You’re awesome!

  5. About writing: I had a professor during undergrad who was also a poet, and he always described writing as an “ever-receding horizon”, meaning no matter how much you achieve and how much you improve, there is no such thing as the “perfect” piece. The writer simply reaches a place where xe is content with the execution; it is never perfection. So why set the bar that high for yourself?

    Keep trudging on and keep reaching for that horizon, but remember that you will never truly “arrive”.

    I also want to remind you to make sure that you are truly enjoying all these activities. If you’re doing them and your heart isn’t in it, it really won’t feel worth it to look at your resume later and go “oh, yay, I padded this really well!”. Don’t feel bad if you need to scale back your involvement, and don’t let anyone make you feel obligated. You’ll be best when you can truly devote yourself to your work, and the people around you will notice, too.

    College is a really special time of growth and identity making; take the reins as much as possible and don’t think twice. :)

  6. Sandy, we still have that craft to do! M&D, Thom and Beth, thanks for the encouragement. It’s weird how crazy schedules and stress levels ebb and flow so much. I’m glad you read what I write. And Amanda! Such good writing advice. I guess you really have to learn that your best effort really is enough. Hopefully see you around Thanksgiving or Christmas!

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