For those of us who live by the semester schedule of a college campus, it is officially mid-term. The middle of the semester means students are juggling all their regular responsibilities with mid-term exams, and—more often than not—struggling to get it all done. But, they aren’t the only ones struggling.
For those of us who lead college students, mid-term can be a rough patch in the middle of the semester. I don’t know about anyone else, but I feel a little bit like I’m just surviving at the moment. As I evaluated my life in this mid-term season—and what is keeping me sane right now—a list emerged. I thought I would share it in case anyone else is in the middle of a crazy season.
The things currently keeping me sane:
- The Book of Hebrews. Hebrews is probably my favorite book of the Bible because it is so encouraging. This morning, I was in chapter six. Here is verse 10 for anyone who is feeling exhausted and defeated: “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them” (NIV). Sometimes, I need a reminder to keep on keeping on, and Hebrews always delivers the pep talk I need.
- Hymns. When I need a reminder of the closeness and tenderness of God, I choose to listen to hymns. Shane & Shane have a brand-new hymns album that I have played on repeat lately, and there is Selah’s Greatest Hymns album that is probably ten or eleven years old that the Lord uses to bless and encourage me every time I listen.
- My Inner Circle. There are 3 women who know my current struggles, what I’m praying for, and how I am actually doing. Praise the Lord for people I can trust and who refuse to judge me—and insist on loving me—even when I’m immature or flat-out wrong.
- Streams in the Desert. This is my all-time favorite devotional book. Someone gave it to me in college, and I go through it every single year. It is rich with encouragement for the soul going through a time of trouble or waiting.
- Isaiah 26:3. “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” Also, Romans 15:13: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Any Scripture with the words “joy,” “hope,” and “peace” are on my radar right now, and these two especially are worth memorizing if you’re struggling.
- Harry Potter. Or any fun reading, for that matter. Sometimes, it helps to curl up with a book I’ve read a thousand times before and not be distracted by a screen, especially in a season that is so mentally, emotionally, and spiritually demanding.
This is what is keeping me sane these days. What about you? If you’re in a season of struggle, make your own list of sanity-savers, and feel free to steal from mine! On days like today, what I most need to hear is that Jesus—and this life He’s called me to—is worth it. I’m choosing to believe it today. May you also find it to be true, and may God give us special mercy as we wait for our faith to become sight.
Corley Shumaker serves as Assistant Campus Minister at the Baptist Collegiate Ministry at Arkansas State University. She loves Red Wolves football, nail polish, and flowers. You can find her on Twitter at @corleycline.