I'm McKenna Best and I need to rest.
And nope, this is not an ad for a mattress company. Although with a slogan like that, I’m wondering why Serta hasn’t sponsored me yet.
I don’t need better sleep. Between my lavender pillow spray, melatonin, and Ralph Lauren cooling pillows, I sleep like a baby every night. So when I talk about rest in this blog post, I don’t mean I need more sleep, relaxing or slowing down. I know some people struggle to pause, be still and allow themselves to be unproductive, but let me just tell you I do not have that struggle. I’m pretty sure I came out the womb relaxing. But I do need to rest. Now, I know that sounds like a contradiction but bear with me.
When it comes to physical rest, I pass with flying colors. But spiritual rest? Well, that’s a whole ‘nother story.
Over the past few months, I found myself avoiding quiet time with the Lord, zoning out during sermons, and just singing another song in worship. I couldn’t figure out why I felt so disconnected. I noticed when stress and anxiety began to creep in, I didn’t even have the energy to go to the Lord about it. So I did what I do best and shoved it down, hoping I could just go about my life and not have to deal with it.
Well, update: that doesn't work. The things you bottle up eventually come bursting out like a shaken up bottle of Mountain Dew. And it’s messy. In retrospect, I can see that I wasn’t resting in the Lord. I tried suppressing my fears and anxiety rather than immediately giving it to Him and dwelling on His truth. But it took something like that to make me realize that I was trusting God half-heartedly and I wasn’t meditating on His goodness. I simply was running from rest.
But to think that the creator of the universe wants to carry our heaviest burdens for us is an incredibly liberating thought. He doesn’t command us to “figure it out” or “deal with it yourself,” but he invites us to simply rest in who He is. We don’t have to try and run this race with the weight of worry and anxiety on our back. We can give it to Him and experience freedom. We can surrender it and find peace. We can choose to breathe in the truth of scripture and find comfort in the words of Jesus. We can rest knowing that He is the provider and source of real love on this earth. And He’s inviting us to simply cling to that.
We’re all choosing to rest in something. Maybe it’s in our own abilities. Maybe it’s in the approval of others. Maybe it’s a job or a relationship. But the only place that will actually give our souls rest is in the presence of the Lord. Where is your mind dwelling? In whom or what are you finding comfort in today?
I go to a small Christian college: a place where coffee is considered an aesthetic and the majority of the student population dresses strangely similar to Justin Bieber. The people are friendly, the “Christian chicken” is consumed on the daily, and the Enneagram is worshipped and adored by all. (@ me) But perhaps one of the most distinctive qualities of a Christian University is the extreme emphasis on receiving a ring. No, not a class ring. Who really cares about that? I’m talking about an ENGAGEMENT ring.
You’ve heard it time and time again. “Gotta get that RING by SPRING!” “So when are you getting that MRS. Degree?” Of course, these catchphrases are always said in good fun, but they put a lot of pressure on people to find love during a time when God might be calling them to be single. Wait, what? You mean you may not find the man of your dreams in college? Bingo!
I remember when I used to think I’d meet my soulmate in college. I imagined it would go like this. I’d sit by a nice boy in History class. We’d be partners for a project. We’d slowly fall in love over the course of a semester, date for two years, and BAM, we’re married a week after graduation. That's the dream, isn't it? I was in for a rude awakening come midterms when there was no Prince Charming sweeping me off my feet like a knock-off Taylor Swift song. But literally, I thought that’s how it would happen. And it does for some people, but not everyone and that is completely and totally OK.
But for a long time, I thought that’s how it was supposed to go. If I wasn’t engaged by my senior year, I’d be a failure. If I didn’t have a boy roommate AKA a husband by the time I was 22, I’d be bunking in my parent’s basement, miserable and alone with 27 bridesmaid dresses and no white dress of my own. I thought marriage was the end goal for my college years and it’s taken me about four years to realize that it’s not.
Here’s what I realized over the years: God calls some people to marriage at age 22. He calls some to marriage at 37. And sometimes, he doesn’t call people to marriage at all. Ultimately, marriage is not the end goal for our Christian lives. Do I hope to get married one day? Absolutely. And I believe that He will give us the desires of our heart in His perfect timing. Not by spring. Not by college graduation. Not by any timing but His own. Yes, college is a fantastic time to date. Naturally, you’re going to be surrounded by people with similar interests. You’re going to spend a lot of time with the same people and it’s an ideal place to meet and fall in love. BUT it’s not the only place to fall in love. Believe it or not, there’s life beyond college. And we are still so YOUNG. Yes, 22 is YOUNG. Your back might hurt and you go to bed at 9 pm like a grandmother but you’re still young. Your life has truly only begun, honey. Don’t for a second feel like you’re behind.
I’ve been learning to make the most of my season of singleness. I’ve been striving to embrace it for what it truly is: a time to pursue the Lord, explore, and chase after my God-inspired dreams. Recognizing that singleness is not a punishment, but a season for growth, joy, and independence. Realize that the pressure to find your soulmate in college is irrational and that the only timeframe we should be concerned with is the agenda of the Lord. So in the meantime, study abroad, move across the country, go on a cruise with your friends because the world is your oyster! More than that though, seek His heart and rest in the sweet, sweet season that singleness can be if we can move past the idea that it's a bad thing.
So, girl who has been asked a million times if she’s getting a ring by spring and is nowhere close to it, take heart. If you get a college ring before you get an engagement ring, welcome to the club. You’re not alone, your life is not off track, and you’re not doing anything wrong. You are right where you’re supposed to be and everything is happening just as it should.
McKenna Best is a Carolina girl currently residing in the bachelorette and hipster capital of the world. She believes in Jesus, dancing in the kitchen, and slow mornings. McKenna is an assistant youth director and spends her afternoons working with middle schoolers in West Nashville. In her free time, you can find her eating Chipotle, making an excessive amount of Spotify playlists, writing in a coffee shop, watching The Office, or spontaneously buying a plane ticket somewhere. She is passionate about equipping youth to unlock their potential and be all that God has called them to be, whether that be through teaching Bible lessons, or writing articles for a variety of online platforms