Monday, August 13, 2012

Stressing vs. Seeking

Life has been quite busy and stressful these past few days... the final exam for our Korean classes is this Wednesday, so I've been studying for that in earnest. But I've also been finding ways to procrastinate for it, including Facebook Scrabble and jamming on the guitar as a study break. On the plus side, I was able to turn playing the guitar randomly with friends into a performance for the 2012 ETA Talent Show, which is this Thursday. But I'm also doing a swing dance routine with another friend, so rehearsals for that have been taking up time, as well. All in all, I think I can look at each day of this week consisting of 4 hours of class, 3 hours of studying, 2 hours of cultural workshops, 1 hour of gym, 1 hour of swing rehearsal, half an hour of music rehearsal, and half an hour of Facebook Scrabble.

This Friday, the end of Orientation will be marked by a weekend trip to Seoul! I'm really excited for this, but it's hard to think about the weekend when I'm so busy at the moment. On Saturday and Sunday, I'll be hanging out with friends (including some Swatties! Yay!). However, next Monday, we are going to have our "graduation ceremony" from KLCC; that is, we'll officially be promoted from the Korean classes we've been taking and obtain the right to become Fulbright English teachers. For this graduation ceremony, each class has to prepare a special skit or movie demonstrating what we've learned. My class, the Intermediate level, is going to perform a skit based on The Bachelor (but I'm not the Bachelor, haha...). So let's add on extra skit rehearsals to my already hectic schedule!

The thing is, although I have a lot on my plate, I need to keep reminding myself not to complain or to be an ass about it. People in general have a way of finding ways to gripe about anything, and as someone who is easily annoyed by it, I should check myself for hypocrisy. I must constantly remember that I've been blessed beyond comparison just by having the opportunity to be in Korea (and take Korean classes and get teaching training and do all the great things I've already done for free!).

So: yes, I'm busy. But am I, at the same time, grateful for having a job and for having friends? Do I have good health and food to eat (even if it's not delicious food), goals to work toward, and daily physical, mental, and spiritual satisfaction? Yes. 예! Swarthmore has taught me a lot about handling stress in healthful ways, and one of those methods is to remember to frame everything in context.

Tonight's Bible study was focused on Matthew 6, the passage where Jesus commands us not to worry. As Tracey pointed out, it's not just a "Oh, don't worry about it, things are going to be okay"-type message but an actual command not to worry. Anxiety (and stress, by extension, I'd suggest) is useless because, unlike concern, it is self-centered and doesn't manifest itself outwardly in love. Worry is almost idolatrous in nature, whereas true faith means seeking God in all situations ("Seek first the kingdom of God..." Matthew 6:33). Instead of worrying, stressing out, or complaining, in all things I can trust in God to pull me through. Including the big, scary four-hour test on Wednesday.
Mickey Mouse and me. Even though I'm in Korea, I know I'm in good company! :)

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