How to Climb a Ladder

Hey everyone! I haven’t written in a while, but I felt compelled to write this, so here I am again 🙂 The other day I had my graduate school orientation. I am so blessed to have this opportunity to learn a specialized skill and to be able to keep continuing my education. I know this opportunity is, looking at the global community, not a commonplace occurrence. We take these things for granted here in America, and I try not to lose sight of that. Although, I have to say I do my fair share of complaining when the work gets to be intimidating (something that I need to allow God to better me in). Nonetheless, this is a great opportunity that I feel God has led me to.

With all of this said, it doesn’t stop me from being scared out of my mind. I know the course work is going to be more than I have ever had to deal with, and the class lengths are much longer than my undergrad classes. I have a 45 minute commute, I have a graduate assistantship, and I have to meet 29 other new students in the program. This is a completely new experience for me, one that may prove to be a challenge. As exciting as this new life chapter is, it is equally as intimidating and scary. I am going to be honest- I have been doing some freaking out.

I worry that I won’t be able to keep up with the work, that I won’t be able to get good grades even if I do keep up, or the worst yet, that I won’t have time for an actual life outside of school DUH DUH DUH! That last one sounds immature, but to me, it is really important. It is important for me to spend time with people that I love and are friends with, and recently I have joined the best Bible study/praise and worship group that I have ever been a part of. I am meeting new people and making friends, which has been awesome. Now I fear being pulled away from positive things like that. I also fear meeting and getting to know my new classmates. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy getting to know others, but for a reserved and introverted person such as myself, it can be like starting high school all over again- scary and uncertain, especially in a place where most of my classmates will most likely not have similar values and beliefs as I do.

I have been going off of my rocker trying to memorize index cards for our first test, on the first day of classes- this has already shown me that things will not come easily but that they need to be earned. So, by now you are probably thinking about how I am a whiney, complainer, and you’d be right, but the reason I am ranting here online to you is that these things that have me worried are actually nothing to be worried about. My Dad and my Mom, both now and back in high school, gave me some pretty sound advice- that was to take things one day at a time. My Dad used this analogy, when you are climbing a ladder, you only look at the rung that is directly ahead of you and not the ones at the very top. In other words, I need to stop panicking over all of these things that haven’t even arrived yet and to start accepting today’s challenges and dealing with the ones that I have already been given. Jesus put it this way:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat [or drink], or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they? Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span? Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them. If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith? So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’ All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom (of God) and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.” (Matthew 6: 25-34 NABRE)

I need to start learning that getting caught up in my own personal anxieties only gets in God’s way. I spend time complaining instead of doing, I feel like I will be all alone but forget how God has provided for me in the past (and that He has never left my side), and I try to make others around me feel sorry for me instead of looking at their needs first. I understand that it is normal to be a little nervous about new things, but being frightened is an entirely different beast. Jesus said that worrying is not going to help me out, so why should I do it? Easier said than done, right? I am a work in progress, and even though I am not good at this yet, I still hope that this can help someone to overcome their anxieties.

Fear and anxiety just keep our focus on ourselves, which is not what Jesus taught us to do, and they also can keep us from doing what God has asked  of us. I am afraid, but, with God’s help I will get through it and get through it successfully. If this is where He wants me to be and I give it my all, then there can be no other outcome for the situation other than success. Just because something is hard does not mean that God does not want you to do it. We are called to labor for Christ, not to just coast through our lives. If doing the nerve-wracking and scary things means following God’s Will, then I want to choose the hard stuff every time.

These are the times when you and I need to take the Lord’s hand and just keep looking at His face and into His heart. I posted previously about trust and all of that definitely comes into play here. Unchartered territory may be anxiety-inducing, but it does not have to be the end of a journey before it begins, and it does not have to be an unpleasant experience. I am only going to grad school- there are infinitely more challenging situations out there in the world (there are also some easier ones, too). But that does not matter to God, though. He cares that you follow His lead and ask Him to place His peace into your heart regardless of your circumstances. He wants us to be holy in both the big and small alike. God is God of the impossible, so to sum things up, He’s got this.

Conveniently, this was one of my parish’s Facebook statuses today: “Lay all your cares about the future trustingly in God’s hands, and let yourself be guided by the Lord just like a little child.” – St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Memorial August 9)

God has perfect timing 🙂 God Bless.

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