Try Hard. But Also Relax.

A letter to the editor in response to CNU Blues Issue 20

Thank you to Megan Moulton for her delightfully funny comic in the March 20 edition of The Captain’s Log. 

As a campus minister, I have this conversation with students every week. 

Though beside the comedy is something very serious—you are miserable. You believe that living a life of significance (however you define it) will make you happy so you burn yourself out in pursuit. 

One of two things will happen when you do this. Either you will fail to achieve all that you’ve striven for and will live under the shadow of your failure, or you will achieve all the marks you aspire towards and will find that it doesn’t satisfy the way it was advertised it would. 

As a Christian, I believe pursuing excellence is a virtue. I believe we are called to a life of philanthropy, literally “love of mankind”—love your neighbor as yourself. We are told to “do all your work as unto the Lord.” 

But alongside of these values the Proverbs remind us that our life is a vapor, and that the things, even noble things, that promise us satisfaction are always lying. “All is vanity” goes the refrain. 

Think about this: How many people who are living the life that you envy are still unsatisfied and maybe even miserable? In your search for contentment why model your life after discontent people? 

I’m not just talking about those that want Bugattis and 6-figure salaries, I’m also talking to you who want the “person-of-the-year” award for your selflessness. 

Sometimes humility means volunteering. But sometimes it means admitting that you are finite, that your body needs sleep and calories. Sometimes it means looking the biological and chronological reality of things in the face and saying “I can’t.” 

Schedule yourself at 80% capacity and know stuff will happen, rather than at 120% hoping the brick wall will flex when you hit it. 

Psalm 127:2 says “It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.” Try hard. Also relax. Get involved. Also quit something. 

Love, Gamby. CNU ’05.

~Eric Gambardella, Staff Writer~


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