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Part of my mind was dazzled by the brilliant display of fall colors as I drove along tree-lined streets. The other part my mind was having a silent one-way conversation with God. It went something like this:
“Really, God? Are you sure about this? I don’t think this is working for me. After seeing the course requirements, I realize it could take 10 years for me to get this degree. That’s crazy! And I get so stressed over the assignments. Is this how it’s going to be for the next 10 years…me constantly stressing and having anxiety? Not only that, but this stuff is hard! It’s really stretching my brain! And being back in school is a tough balancing act – managing family, home and school – not to mention other interests and activities. Oh, yeah. There’s no need to mention other activities and interests because since going back to school I haven’t had any. I haven’t even had involvements at church and I miss my involvements. That’s the whole reason I thought you wanted me to go to back to school, so that I could be better equipped to serve in ministry and to serve at church…but now I’m not involved in any ministries!”
A moment of mental silence. Awareness of the street I was on reminded me of the thoughts God put in my head just a few days before while driving along this very street. “Stay focused. Keep your eyes on Me. Don’t look to the left or to the right. Work toward the goal”. I didn’t know why I had those thoughts at the time. Now I knew. God was ahead of me on this. Amazing! “Thank You, God!”
Back to my thoughts…Words from Philippians 3:13-14 started coming to mind, “I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” “Thank You for those words, God.”
It was clear. God didn’t want me to give up. And to be honest, I didn’t really want to give up either. I was just feeling frustrated and discouraged.
New thoughts: “Despite the challenges, stress and anxiety, I LIKE being back in school again. I like what I’m learning, and once assignments are completed, I feel good about what I’ve done, and more importantly, what I’ve learned. When I talk about frustrations, Rex points out how they’ll help me one day. One day…one day what, God? What will this all lead to one day?” No answer. That’s ok. I’d gotten what I needed – confirmation, affirmation, and redirection of thoughts. Maybe this wasn’t such a one-sided conversation after all!
With renewed spirit and a positive attitude, I thought about the writing assignment waiting for me at home, and I had to chuckle – I was writing about Jonah, the guy who wanted to flee from his calling!
But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded. ~ 2 Chronicles 15:7