Attending school and being employed at the same time, I face a lot of confrontation head-on. Initially, it wasn’t bad—just a cycle of sleep, work, and school. The problem with having such a routine was that I would tailor my character to suit it. Switching from persona to persona made me anxious, and I felt the need to find a balance.
Whenever I get into a rut like that, I’ll turn to my laptop and watch a sermon or read the Bible. So, that’s what I did, and eventually I became a lot less interested in this routine and began to distance myself from it. I lost focus and my to-do list grew substantially, but it was my attitude that changed the most. I never meant to distance myself from learning, but it happened. I never meant to become antisocial outside of work, but it happened, too.
My church had taught me that I should always be able to look up into the face of God with a smile. No matter how incredibly busy with the tests, the essays, the readings, the friends, the work, the tutorials, and the very, very exciting commute to and from school.
The major issue was that my attitude was still bitter and I failed to look up. And so, I picked up the Bible and did some research. Instinctively, I reread all the verses that were underlined, circled, boxed, and starred. I came across Matthew 22:37–39, which essentially says, “Love God deeply, plus your neighbour.”
The difference is that looking up to Him during my earlier struggles made me think of the root of the happiness my smile conveyed. My smile said, “I love you, thank you for your awesomeness, thanks for being here, and thanks for choosing to love me.” If that was genuine happiness, then clearly the way to change my bitter attitude was to show love.
I had a moment and thought, “It all makes sense now.” God provides for us all the time, with love and forgiveness, relationships, shelter, and the education we receive, the books we read, the entertainment we have, and loads more that makes us smile every day. If that is God’s way of showing His love for us, imagine the impact it would have on others and yourself if you did the same. I decided to take on this feat and it did wonders for my overall happiness.
These times call me to treasure my faith, because everything has changed. Of course, I don’t mean to say that I live in a fairytale now that I love more. Life is challenging, people are mean for reasons that don’t connect to you, and sometimes the snow just keeps falling, but hey, just remember that you are loved.
This reflection is part of a Medium series on faith-based practices at UTM, timed as the university and the student union are collecting opinions on expanding multi-faith space. If you have comments or would like to contribute, please write to us at [email protected]