“I’m not going to freak out. I’m not going to freak out. I’m not going to freak out,” I thought to myself as I stared at my computer screen.
I felt disheartened.
This week I began my last class for my autism certification program and I had been determined not to become anxious about any new course expectations or concern myself with my performance. I had done that twice already in this program. I wanted to learn from those experiences and overcome my fears.
What I read on the computer screen definitely worked against my aspirations. Already I had completed four assignments and was in the middle of my last assignment for my first week’s coursework. I was making good progress during a week when John was up in Zimbabwe on a ministry trip. It hadn’t been easy.
The boys missed their dad like crazy this go-round. Now, that we are back here and life has resumed to some sense of normalcy since my cancer treatment and our furlough to the States, John is traveling more. The boys became accustomed to having John home and had forgotten what John’s real ministry schedule is like. For Micah in particular, he missed talking football, NASCAR, and various other current events topics with his dad. Jake missed his dad putting him to bed at night and spending time with him in the early morning hours before his brothers got up. Caleb missed his dad’s fun-loving interactions. As a result, the boys needed me to help fill the gap and needed a lot of my attention and care.
Thus, all of my school work was pushed to the evening after the boys were in bed for the night. I could complete my work and then be fully available to the boys during the day. This week had been full and so when I looked at my professor’s email, my heart sunk.
Apparently, the updated requirements for my journal article review had not been downloaded to the course website. When the professor made this discovery, it was in the middle of the week and so she deleted the previous requirements. Her email communication asked us to use the new assignment information. In addition, she listed 30 journals that would be accepted for the coursework.
As I surveyed the new journal list, I felt the familiar rising sense of anxiety that I had felt earlier in the year with my other classes. The journal article that I had been working on for the past three days was not on the list. It wasn’t a complete train smash because one of my other reference articles was there. However, I felt pretty discouraged in that this particular review was on a topic that contained strategies that I could adapt and apply here in South Africa with my educational consultant ministry.
If I did not advocate for myself with my new professor, I would have to start completely over. With the boys needing more of me this week, my heart and mind were heavy with the burden of everything I needed to do for my family and for my class.
In the midst of this, I resolved, “I am not going to freak out.”
I promised my God. I promised my husband. I promised myself. I was not going to let a graduate class set me off again and pull me down into the pit of worry.
So I didn’t.
I composed a reply email to my professor and asked for the allowance of my review from the journal that was not on her assigned list.
Since we are in South Africa and since our time zones don’t match up with the States, I knew I would not receive an immediate answer. So, I decided not to work anymore on the assignment until I heard back from her. I focused on my boys.
Finally, her reply email came. My professor apologized for all of the confusion and said that my journal article review would be most satisfactory from the Special Education Journal. Although it was not on her prescribed list, she was interested in my topic and would allow me to continue. What a relief!
Today my trust verse comes from 2 Corinthians 13:6. Paul may have been writing these words to the Corinthian believers, but this morning, I felt like these words were directed at me, “And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test.”
I definitely was tested this week. I was confronted with the choice of freaking out or remaining calm and trusting in my God. No, this issue wasn’t a huge one. However, what I am encouraged by and I hope you are too, is that my God cares about everything that happens in my life; even a journal article review and summary.
Paul used the verb, elpizo, the Greek transliterated word for trust in this verse. Elpizo is a word of action that means placing hope and having the expectation that the thing hoped for will materialize.
In my situation, elpizo (trust and expectation) occurred because I refused to freak out and counted on my God to help me overcome my worry.
You may not be freaking out about a graduate assignment like I have done or have the potential to do. However, I am certain that you have freaked out, are about to freak out, or will freak out in the future about an area of concern; especially if you do not place your trust in your God for it.
How do I know that?
Because I know that without my God and His hand of assurance upon my life, I can worry. I have the potential to become anxious. I can freak out.
I didn’t do it this time.
I was determined to trust my God despite what happened with this assignment. Even if the professor had not responded with mercy, I was determined to trust and see it through…I still had time to complete the assignment within the deadline. I told myself that it would be an inconvenience, but that I would be okay.
Isn’t that what our God wants us to know and understand most during a time of testing? In Him, we are okay. By trusting in His care and His guidance and acknowledging that everything happens under His watchful eye, things are good. Things are handled. Things will work out.
I was tested this week. I could have gone down into the pit; again.
For once, I didn’t freak out at the start of a new course.
My God helped me and worked things out because of His goodness, a professor’s allowance and my trust in Him. It feels good; far better than being freaked out.
Photo by discosquid of Flickr