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“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up.” 1 Corinthians 10:23 (ESV)

Awards. Accolades. Winning. Being the best.

At what price?

Participation in extracurriculars creates the potential for these things. But that participation can also waste your time. With so many clubs, organizations, and sports offered, it’s easy to join one. Or a few.

Many voices tell us what to do and where to spend our time. Fear of missing out (FOMO) leaves us feeling as though we could be less desirable for jobs or internships, so we run the risk of overextending ourselves for the sake of resume building.

We end up wasting our time in very good ways. You can waste your time doing good things.

Just because we would like to do things does not mean that they are the best option for us or the best use of our time. In Corinthians, Paul talks about how everything is lawful, but not everything is beneficial. Not everything will build you up. It is not beneficial to be in activities you don’t love. 

The root of this overextension of ourselves is ultimately us trying to prove our worth. We believe that we will be perceived as better, stronger, more put together if we do everything. But we can’t do everything, and we definitely can’t do everything well.

Here’s the truth: your campus involvement doesn’t define you. 

You are defined by Christ and being His child. That’s it.

We need to join activities from this full place of already being loved, accepted, adopted. Then we will be joining things that build us up instead of run us ragged.

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Ask why – Do some self-searching; check if you are doing this to build yourself up, or because of outside pressure. Taking the time to ask yourself why you’re doing something is a very beneficial way to decide if that activity is a good idea for you.
  • Check if you will be benefiting from it – Time is a non-renewable resource. Invest your time in beneficial activities that serve others and use your gifts to bring glory to God.
  • Pray – It’s a simple enough thing to do, yet it can be overlooked. If you don’t know about joining that activity, pray. God will lead you in the right direction.

Vice President of Student Life Nina Barnes suggests to also add the following two questions to your list as well:

  1. “Am I challenged with untangling who I am from what I do?”
  2. If I was no longer involved with this role/position/activity, then how would I communicate who I am with someone?”

Barnes breaks the responses to these questions into two categories:

  • Identity/embodied spirits 
  • Role/position/activity. 

Identity/embodied spirits is a “who we are” description. Examples are: “I am created in the image of God” and “I am a person who is deeply loved by God”. These are contrasted by role/position/activity statements that cover what we do. Examples of these statements are “I am a student” and “I am a _____ major.”

Both of these categories may be true, but they do not hold equal value. 

Barnes breaks it down in a statement:

We will quickly discover what we actually believe about God and ourselves when we ask these types of questions. We must be kind and gentle with ourselves and others as we ask the Lord to help us discover how to live as embodied spirits (identity) while expressing our gifting in a variety of roles/positions/activities over the span of our lives.

You are not defined by your extracurriculars. You are not loved any more for them. You are not loved any less for them. They are things that you enjoy and make you happy. They are to bring honor to God. 

You have nothing to prove. 

Rest in that truth today and forever.

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