Monday, August 10, 2015

When I Was Scared of Flunking Out of College

I made a 76 on my first test in college. It was in health. You know that class everyone has to take and you mostly talk about STD's? Yeah, that one. Maybe you don't think that's a terrible grade but I was valedictorian of my high school class (out of 13 people, it doesn't go to my head) and a 76 was a life sentence to possibly flunking out. Every semester after going to each class and scoping out the teachers and syllabi I spent the next week freaking out that this was going to be the semester that I flunked out of college. 

My husband still teases me about that. 

I didn't flunk out of college. I had learned enough by then to know that I couldn't let the possibility of failure stop me from trying. Just because I worried that I was going to flunk out of college did not mean that I should quit college to avoid the embarrassment. You will do nothing with your life if your sole goal is to avoid all embarrassment and failure. 

The desire to prevent ourselves from being hurt could rob of us of many opportunities and blessings in life. We could not get married because our spouse might leave, cheat, or die. We could not have kids because they might become ill or grow up and break our hearts. We could not go to college just in case we can't cut it once we are there. We could not truly give ourselves to the work God has put before us so that if we fail we can say, "Well, I didn't really try" as if that's a good excuse. 

Sometimes you have to step out in faith. Faith that you can do the work in college or that you can get the remediation that you need. Faith that God will sustain your marriage or sustain you through it. Faith that God will equip you for the work and that failure might be the catalyst for growth that you need. 

That one week every semester that I spent worried about flunking out of college was not wasted- although it was silly. It was excellent motivation for me to do my best work: to go to class, participate, take notes, do the homework, and get the grades. Fear doesn't have to be wasted but it shouldn't control you. Fear used wisely can help you guard your marriage, commit the people in your life to God, and seek His will for every path in front of you. 

Fear, like all emotions, can serve you well but makes a poor master. 

Maybe you feel fear at whatever you are facing. That's not unusual. There are several things in my own life presently that make me think, "Who do I think I am?" The point isn't that I feel "legitimate." The point is that I am following God. 

God is not intimidated by your problem or concerned by what you don't know. He does, after all, know all. God is not worried that you will make a mistake and ruin His plan. Step out into what you know He wants you to do. 

Don't let fear be your master. 

And if you're going back to school, go to class. 

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