Amidst the Cambridge commotion, I know a deep peace. A calm that comes not from an ability to continuously achieve academic success, or constantly appear to be having a good time, or participate in half a dozen extra-curriculars, hold down a relationship, look good, do good, or feel good.

I don't manage any of this.

When I get real with myself, I see that actually I'm pretty weak. I can try all I want and still the thing that made me happy today will seem dull and uninteresting tomorrow unless I work, work, work to keep it polished and exciting. And that's exhausting.

Sure, I try to do well in my essays, I enjoy getting out of the Cambridge Bubble on my bike and playing Ultimate Frisbee and I have a great bunch of friends. But ultimately I know that however great my friends are, they're weak like me and they won't be, can't be, always there for me.

But Jesus says "come to me all of you who are weak and burdened, and I will give you rest."

Jesus tells me plainly you can't manage to find fulfilment on your own, however hard you work at it. And that's outrageously offensive to my pride; but it's also really true. I have spent loads of time trying to be satisfied and be perfect, and I just fail. If my identity is defined by things I have to work at to control, then I feel exhausted and insecure.

But because Jesus is at work in my life, I realise now that I don't need to work my socks off to find elusive fulfilment, or try to forge a remarkable identity for myself that will make others accept me: because he accepts me as I am.

I was never going to be right with God or with others by virtue of my own efforts. But Jesus takes away the need to strive after perfection and fulfilment by giving me a life in relationship with God – who I now call Father – who loves me more than I can comprehend and always will, even though I massively don't deserve that acceptance. He really loves you too.

That is why I have peace – I have security in my identity as a child of God, because of Jesus Christ.


Tom Olyott