At my last Ski Safari, I was talking to a friend about personality traits. One of us asked the other to use three words to describe ourselves. Three words. The classic question. If I could find three words in the English language that accurately put across who I am, how I am and why I am, I would kill at ice breakers. But then again, who wants to be described with only three words? That seems a bit underwhelming.
Anyway, I unfortunately don’t remember what his three words were but I do remember two of mine (I don’t feel especially bad because a) I forget one of my own words – maybe it was loyal, I always say loyal – and b) he probably forgot all of mine too). I said I was emossive, a portmanteau of emotional and obsessive. That may sound like a horrible combination of traits, because it kind of is. Usually, those two traits don’t interact with each other but when they do… actually, I don’t know what happens when they interact because I’ve never had to be the recipient of that. I imagine it would be scary though. In any case, I don’t consider myself especially emotional but I can be and I probably had been recently so that led me to think of the first word. The second word has been an accurate descriptor of me for as long as I can remember.
Last night, that obsessive part of my personality led me to almost pull my first post-college all-nighter. I really want to use the phrase, burning the midnight oil. I only pulled 2 or three all-nighters in college and they all sucked. What I mean is, each time (except for the Dean’s Date all-nighter) it didn’t matter that I had stayed up all night. I was usually just worrying for no reason.
In a way, pulling an all-nighter is one of the best ways to ignore God. Because pulling an all-nighter is a process. The first step is improperly using the time God has given you to do an assignment. The second is worrying about how or when that assignment will get done. The final step is taking matters into your own hands and finishing your work. The final step is the most important. It requires that you harm yourself in some way (lack of sleep, ridiculous amounts of caffeine, blasting loud music and waking up hallmates) to achieve the goal of…completed Latin HW. Or a hastily written paper. Or studying for a final exam worth 50% of your grade that you just can’t afford to fail. Or some other ephemeral thing.
Now I’m the last person to espouse the “our time on earth doesn’t matter because of heaven” mentality. I just don’t believe that. But in view of heaven, in the scope of eternity, it is hard to think that one paper or HW assignment or grade matters so immensely. And it’s odd to think that God can’t still use you for his purposes even if you didn’t graduate from college with a 3.8. Or get an A in that Latin class. Or on that paper. Or ever.
Last night, I wrestled with God because I sometimes just don’t understand. I can’t say it was like a Jacob wrestling match, more like how a kid wrestles with her dad when he isn’t giving her the answer she wants to hear. It was one of those. Because the question that I asked was – the one I often ask – what next? I have the problem of thinking of my walk with God as a tightrope where others would call it a road or something. Honestly, I don’t know how other people think about it.
But as I sat in bed last night, I asked, does it matter what I do next? If I go left or right but still end up at the same destination, does it matter what path I took? I don’t know. I think the answer to some of those questions is no, it doesn’t matter. But I think the answer to some others is yes, it really does matter. So it’s worth asking.
So when I felt that answer come through, I got out of bed and worked obsessively until 4 AM. It was the best almost all-nighter I’ve ever had.