BY PACHIA XIONG, STAFF WRITER
Coming to Berkeley has been the toughest part of my young life. I say this, not because the rent is expensive, not because the academics are rigorous, and not because I am away from family, but because my biggest fight in Berkeley has been inward. Everyday is a to-do list. It becomes so easy to get caught up in my academics, extracurricular activities, and the like that I forget to call family, check up on friends, and more importantly, make time for God.
Last semester, I found myself campaigning for a friend who was running for senate. It was a hot day, and I had been sprouling for 4 hours straight. For anyone who has sprouled or campaigned, you know that it’s not an easy feat: chasing after folks who quicken their pace to purposely avoid you; walking folks to their class all the way to Evans Hall; pitching platforms to people in thirty seconds because after twenty seconds, they stop listening to you. It’s tough. By my fourth hour, I was tired, out of breath, sweaty, and hopeless. The last person I had talked to politely turned me down, and suggested that I drink some water. My hoarse voice was obviously giving away my exhaustion. I embarrassingly thanked her and walked back toward Sproul Plaza, where I would be reminded of God’s love. A group of high school students approached me and told me that they were from a Christian high school and were conducting surveys with Cal students. They asked me a few questions, said a prayer for me, and then proceeded to offer me a water bottle. The label read, “but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst” (John 4:14 NIV). With that one gesture, I broke. I had been so caught up in the last week with campaigning, that I hadn’t made time for Him. Yet here He was, delivering sustenance, hope, and reassurance of His love for me. That night, I laid in bed and talked to Him. Openly and truthfully.
“Give God what is right, not what is left.” Too often do I forget this simple quote. I’m guilty of rushing a prayer under my breath before I eat, because I don’t have much time to do either. I’m guilty of not asking for His help when I’m stressed because I think I can handle it on my own. I’m guilty of not giving thanks when I receive a blessing. I’m guilty of not seeing blessings when I feel burdened. And despite all of that, He gives me His best all of the time.
The truth is, I still find myself getting busy and caught up in my obligations, but my first obligation is giving Him all of me: my thanks, my time, my insecurities, my fears, my love, my devotion, all of it. This is not to say that praying to God is some burden that I have to remind myself about daily. He does not only take care of me upon receiving my prayer and worship. His love is unconditional, and giving my time to Him in prayer is a powerful way that I can give Him what is right. Prayer works in many ways. I pray to give Him thanks in times of blessings, because He takes care of me even when I don’t ask. Prayer also enables me to grow closer to God. When I pray to Him openly, I relinquish all fear and apprehension. I don’t have to worry about saying the right thing or feeling ashamed of anything. He knows everything about me before I even approach Him, and He loves me despite my errors. Praying to God also gives me strength in times of hardship. I am imperfect and incapable of handling everything, and when I fall short, He extends His arm to me. Before I even fall, He is there to be my strength.
I no longer want to rush a prayer under my breath in between to-do’s or as I’m falling asleep at 2 AM. He gives me what is right always. Now I want to give Him what is right.
Pachia is a third year English major from Fresno, CA. She loves God, hot tea and fuzzy socks, and pugs. –