The Lented Life

Emma Speers

Okay, so for one thing, I didn't think life was going to get so complex so quickly. Another thing no one warned me about (or maybe I just didn't listen) was that this adult responsibility thing was going to happen so abruptly. But, the moving sidewalk that seemingly was set to "fast-forward" started as soon as my senior year started, and it hasn't let up since.

That first semester was a mess of rushing, stress, lack of sleep, big decision making, deadlines, and more stress, and I began to feel as if I had lost a part of me. The moving sidewalk seemed to slow a bit during Christmas break, and it gave me time to reflect on the craziness of that first semester, and I wanted to find a way to control it. When the spring semester started up, I began to realize that the same thing was going to happen. I was going to get so tired and run down that I was just going to be this grumpy, stressed-out person who was too weary and worn out to worry about things that used to matter a lot to her. I noticed that I seemed to lose my sense of compassion for others, followed by creativity, and then what seemed to be the things that made me, me.

After I realized that this is what happened, and that I needed to prevent it somehow, someway, I set to work to devise a system. I thought about ways to change the way I worked, how many hours I slept, how many things I committed to at a time. You name it, I thought of a reason, and a way to change it. But even after all of this reflecting and planning, the sidewalk seemed to take off again, and my whole system fell apart. It went kaput before the first week was done. Again, stress took over, and I began to worry about choosing the right college, what to major in, who I was as a person, and everything in between. The time was coming to commit, and I didn't feel ready for any of it. I became even more of a wound-up mess than I had been the first semester. You see, I had forgotten one very important thing, the thing I had been taught about since before I knew how to listen: the comfort of the Gospel.

It wasn't the adult responsibilities or the big decisions that were the problem. What it was is that I felt it was my place to stress it all! God has had it all planned out since before I was born. He has it all taken care of, and it isn't my job to control all of it. He has given me wonderful, beautiful words that tell me just this, and each week He continues to feed me, and give me what I need to make it through life-one day at a time. There is nothing that has happened or will happen to me that God doesn't know about, or can't handle. He gives us times during which we may struggle and fail, so that we see our need for His present Word. For the times when we don't trust Him, or we fall into sin, His words of Gospel are there to wash over us, and comfort us, and the sacraments - God's means of grace - are there to apply forgiveness. He is present in His Word and the people He has given us as gifts. He also gives us times of the year to dig deeper into His Word, and immerse ourselves in it. Lent is one of these times. We are given this time to reflect on the great sacrifice made by God, for us poor sinners. We hear of the unconditional love of Christ and the path He was willing to take to free us from our bonds of sin. We are told to repent of our sins, and leave them at the cross, because we need a savior who will pay our debt, and that Savior is Christ.

So, can I do this senior "thing" on my own? Am I old enough, or responsible enough? Nope! I never, ever will be. I'm going to always need Someone by my side to help me, guide me, forgive me, and save me. It's a comforting thing to realize that you need Christ, and when you understand that He is the only one who could have gone to that cross on Good Friday, and die for your sins, the looming stresses are buried with Him. He also takes care of the little things in your life like college, and money, and finding time to sleep. So, as we continue in the season of Lent, we should be reminded that God's Word is always there to call us back to Him to His love and care. Lent isn't just there for 40 days; it is a way of life.

Emma Speers is a lifelong member at St. Paul (Blue Point) Lutheran Church in Altamont, Illinois. She is a homeschooled senior in high school. She loves ballet, art, music (especially piano and ukulele), large cups of Earl Gray tea, and her Australian shepherd, Chili.

Created: March 19th, 2016